YANGON, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar's ruling party, the Union Solidarity and Development Pary (USDP), opened its first party conference in Nay Pyi Taw Sunday, sources from the capital said.
The party will lay down its future policy and elect a new party leadership during the four-day conference which will last until next Wednesday, the party sources said.
President U Thein Sein, who is the party's former chairman, was present briefly at the opening session of the conference to greet the party members.
According to the constitution, since U Thein Sein was elected as the country's President, he can no longer undertake the party chairmanship and the post has been long left vacant and election of a new chairman is to be done.
USDP, once claimed as having a membership of over 16 million, was transformed from the former military-backed biggest social organization established in 1993 with some then government leaders being members of the central panel.
In the 2010 November general election contested by 37 political parties with the absence of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), the USDP won the majority of 883 parliamentary seats (76.5 percent) out of a total of 1,154 at three levels, in which 259 seats with the house of representatives, 129 seats with the house of nationalities and 495 seats with region or state parliament.
In addition, 25 percent of parliamentary seats at each level are held by directly-nominated military representatives without going through election according to the 2008 constitution.
In the 2012 April by-elections, the USDP gained one seat with the House of Nationalities out of 45 open parliamentary seats, while the NLD swept 43.
The country is to hold a next general election in 2015 under the constitution.