Aung San Suu Kyi isn’t happy with what she calls “disunity” at the grassroots level of some local branches of the National League for Democracy.
Speaking to party members, she called an NLD governing dispute in Thone Khwa Township as something like an “argument” among family members, and said it was natural for any organization to experience disagreements, according to a report on Thursday on the Radio Free Asia website.
She called on local residents to “correct” the issue through their participation in future elections. She did not comment on the nature of the dispute, but earlier reports have surfaced exposing disagreements over the leadership role, and the sharing of leadership, at the local level of some ND branches.
It was believed to be the first time Suu Kyi had addressed the issue of an “internal problem” within the party in public.
“Let me ask you something—and you must answer my questions bravely. Have you heard about disunity in the NLD in Thone Khwa township?” she asked the crowd in front of the townshp's NLD office, which responded that it had.
“I would like to apologize that the NLD in Thone Khwa Township has been dealing with internal problems. I also want to tell you not to worry about it, because this is a natural occurrence. Even a family has arguments, so within an organization arguments will happen as well,” she said.
Suu Kyi said that within a democratic organization, every member has the right to be heard, but that certain people can “misuse free speech for their own interests.”
“We cannot misuse the privilege of having the right to do what we want. Nor can we say whatever we want, even if we have the right to say it,” she said. “We must think before we speak about whether or not our speech is right.”
“In a democracy, people have the right to make changes within a political party. How do you make such changes? It is through a vote that one can control or make changes within a political party.”
While Aung San Suu Kyi was specifically addressing the situation in the Thone Khwa NLD branch, reports suggest that NLD members from a few other townships have also submitted complaints about local leadership selection, said RFA.
The NLD is in the process of organizing village and township level meetings ahead of a nationwide conference.
The largest opposition party, it swept 43 of the 44 seats in the April by-elections.
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