Suu Kyi's party hit by resignations, blames junta
YANGON, May 1 (Reuters) Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has been hit by a spate of resignations it blames on pressure from Myanmar's military junta, which has threatened to ban the party.
An NLD spokesman confirmed weekend reports in state-controlled newspapers that 17 party officials in Northern Shan State had quit en masse last week.
''We think it is just because of pressure by authorities,'' NLD spokesman Nyan Win told Reuters today.
''We hear NLD members in some other regions are also under the same pressure. So we think there will be more resignations.'' The New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported yesterday that nine NLD executives in Lashio Township and eight in Hsenwi Township in Northern Shan State had quit last week.
''They said the party was plagued with grudges and attacks and disagreement among the party members,'' the newspaper said.
The NLD, which won a landslide election victory in 1990 only to be denied power by the army, was accused last week of having ties to ''expatriate groups, terrorists and destructive groups'' blamed for attacks on the former Burma.
The NLD rejected the charges by Information Minister Brigadier-General Kyaw Hsan, who said the government had ''firm evidence to declare the NLD unlawful'' but it would allow the party to exist for now.
Foreign diplomats say they believe the junta, which moved further into isolation after decamping to a new jungle capital late last year, is preparing a final crackdown against the NLD despite its weakened state.
The party's offices outside Yangon have been shut since May 2003 when Suu Kyi, 60, was detained. The Nobel Peace laureate remains under house arrest at her Yangon home, her telephone cut off and visitors restricted.
REUTERS SHB DS1301