The party of Aung San Suu Kyi has rejected bids by 17 members of Myanmar’s respected “88 generation” to join its ranks and contest November’s election, a controversial omission of a group that was expected to galvanise its bid to dominate the ballot. The National League for Democracy (NLD) party selected only one member of the popular crop of activists, who suffered years of persecution after leading nationwide student protests in 1988 that were brutally crushed by the ruling military. Their rebellion mushroomed into a pro-democracy uprising that thrust Suu Kyi, the daughter of late independence hero Aung San, into Myanmar’s political spotlight.
The most high-profile exclusion was the charismatic protest leader Ko Ko Gyi, who spent more than 17 years in and out of prison before his 2012 release. He declined to comment.
Some experts said the decision risks dividing groups that have a shared vision of a more democratic Myanmar under which the military, which is guaranteed three ministerial positions and a quarter of legislative seats, has no political role.