Winning candidates from the multi-party democracy elections held on May 27, 1990 held their first-ever assembly with a ceremony at the Royal Rose Hall in Yangon on Saturday (March 22).

Ninety-three political parties took part in the 1990 elections. Of those, 27 parties had at least one candidate elected. The NLD won 392 seats, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy 23 seats, the Rakhine League for Democracy 12 seats, the Mon National League for Democracy five seats, the Chin National League for Democracy three seats, the National Unity Party 10 seats and the National Human Rights Democratic Party three seats.

Khun Tun Oo, chairperson of the SNLD, presided over the meeting together with MP Hla Thein of Tamwe Constituency-1 of Yangon Region and MP Sein Myint of Bogalay Township in the Ayeyarwady Region as masters of ceremonies.

Of the 485 candidates elected in 1990, 160 attended Saturday’s ceremony. No details were available about the number of candidates who have died since the election. Total attendance for the ceremony, including family members and other guests, was 350.

Attendees were reminded of the pledge made before the election, at a ceremony marking the 44-th Armed Forces Day, by the then-military government leader.

“After the elections, necessary matters will be carried out. A new government, formed in accordance with the peoples’ desires, will emerge. I hope the new government will lead the country, serving the interest of the people. We, Tatmadaw men, will go back to our barracks and do our primary duty to the best of our ability,” Senior General Saw Maung had said.

Khun Tun Oo, in his opening speech on Saturday, said that the SLORC dictator fooled everyone.
“We have much left to be done. We are the candidates elected by free and fair elections. The winning candidates from the 1990 elections have not been cancelled from the government gazette yet. Therefore, we are still the official candidates,” he said, adding that the military government made a huge historical mistake because the elected candidates were not called to the parliament although free and fair elections had been held.

“Despite giving his promise that the army would go back to the barracks after the 1990 elections, instead, the army forced the candidates to attend a National Convention after laying down 14 principles for enabling the military dictatorship to last longer. The SNLD objects to the 2008 Constitution. We must continue making concerted efforts for the emergence of genuine democracy.”

Khun Tun Oo apologized to the people, on behalf of all the winning candidates, for their inability to serve the duties assigned by the people.

“If we get the opportunity, we can build a better state. There are still those who want to control state power using various means. For that reason, the country has become poorer and poorer day by day. Health and education remain in a backward position. I want to urge all to serve the interests of the country,” he said.

MP Aye Thar Aung also spoke at the ceremony—as did Khin Toe Win, wife of MP Saw Win, who died in prison after being jailed following the election.

“I am thankful to the people who voted for Saw Win. My husband was arrested in 1992 and he died in 1998. My family did not get the opportunity to hold a funeral service. At the same time, my third son was arrested because of his political activity. At that time, my second son was outside the country to resist the government. Di Nyein Lin, my grandson, was also punished with a long imprisonment. Our family members are still active in the democracy movement. Despite seeing various forms of difficulty, we have held together until now. I will always treasure families like ours,” said Khin Toe Win.