Wed 10 Oct 2012
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Union Solidarity and Development Party officials said last week the party would hold its national conference from October 14 to 17, as part of efforts to rebuild following a disastrous showing in the April by-elections.
The party plans to promote active members to more senior positions, introduce a new structure, assess the party’s annual reports and hold discussions on future strategy, said spokesperson U Tint Zaw.
Leadership positions will also be selected through a vote for the first time, he said.
“Before, party leaders were appointed by order. But now the party plans to appoint them through a vote, based on the desire of the party’s members.”
The USDP lost 44 of the 45 seats it contested in the by-elections, after winning almost 80 percent of seats on offer in the 2010 general election.
General secretary U Htay Oo said last week that executive members would retain their positions but “we will boost our party by promoting people who are respected” in their communities. While there will be changes in personnel, he said policy would remain the same.
However, the conference will be held amid a vicious internal conflict in Ayeyarwady Region, where party MPs have threatened to sack the regional government, whose members are also from the USDP.
The dispute has spread from the delta to Nay Pyi Taw, with U Htay Oo in trouble for comments he made to Ayeyarwady Region Hluttaw representatives in August.
The former minister for agriculture and irrigation told MPs in Pathein on August 5 that they needed to solve the disagreement with the government through negotiation, arguing that the region hluttaw was like “a smaller house built inside a bigger one”.
He also told MPs they should not necessarily do everything that the public wants, in comments that were recorded and later released.
U Htay Oo said last week he had only been relaying a message from the party’s Central Executive Committee and it did not necessarily reflect his personal views.
He said the aim was “to end disagreements inside the party, and between those inside and outside the party”.
Ayeyarwady Region Hluttaw Speaker U San Sint late last month accused the party’s leaders of pressuring MPs and encouraging party centralisation. Speaking at a press conference in Pathein, he said they had also tried to stifle questions and motions from representatives in the Ayeyarwady Region Hluttaw.
“I wasn’t even informed that the general secretary had called a meeting. They should have informed the hluttaw before inviting MPs,” U San Sint said.
He described the meeting as potentially “unlawful” and pointed out that under the State and Region Hluttaw Law, the speaker has the power to take action against those who hurt the dignity of the hluttaw or “distort” its activities.
“If this happens in future, we will take legal action,” U San Sint said, adding that Ayeyarwady MPs owed allegiance to the state and the people over the USDP.