- Sittwe, Arakan State
- Contested Seats
- 12 Upper, 17 Lower, 34 Regional
The Arakan National Party (ANP) was formed out of the merger of the Rakhine National Development Part and the Arakan League for Democracy. One of Burma’s strongest ethnic political parties, the ANP is expected to be a legitimate contender for votes in Arakan State, adding an interesting variable to what would otherwise likely be a two-horse race between the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the National League for Democracy (NLD).
The party has been described as “hardline” for its strong advocacy of ethnic Arakanese Buddhists in a region of mixed ethnic composition that includes stateless Rohingya Muslims. Relations between the two communities have remained volatile more than three years after interreligious violence tore through Arakan State in 2012.
“We don’t accept the term ‘stateless’ being used by the international community,” a party leader told Reuters in reference to the Rohingya. “They came from Bangladesh, they have the same religion, race, perceptions and traditions as people in Bangladesh.”
In a state media broadcast in September, ANP chairman Aye Maung struck a seemingly more conciliatory tone, saying the party supported “equality and self-determination for ethnic minority groups … democracy, human rights, [and] the rights of minorities.”
* States and divisions in red indicate that the party is fielding candidates at the Union or regional level in that jurisdiction.
The ANP chairman was instrumental in orchestrating the merger of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party and Arakan League for Democracy in 2014.
Aye Thar Aung
The party patron is running for an Upper House seat in Arakan-6, encompassing Myebon and Minbya townships.