Election 2020

Largest Party in Myanmar’s Rakhine Fires 4 Members for Registering as Independent Candidates

By Min Aung Khine 7 September 2020

SITTWE, Rakhine State—The Arakan National Party (ANP), the major political party in Rakhine State, has dismissed three lawmakers and a township chapter leader who have registered to stand as independent candidates in the November election.

The party announced on Thursday it had dismissed Maungdaw chapter chairman U Khin Maung Than and two other members from the township, Upper House lawmaker U Kyaw Kyaw Win and Rakhine State parliament lawmaker U Maung Ohn, as well as Upper House lawmaker U Maung Kyaw Zan of Buthidaung.

“The party rules bar party members who are not selected [as candidates] by the party, from contesting the election as independent candidates or on the ticket of another party. We dismissed them because they violated that rule,” U Tun Aung Kyaw, a member of the ANP’s Political Steering Committee, told The Irrawaddy.

When the party invited members to apply as election candidates, the four in question did so, agreeing to play by the rules. But after they were not selected, they registered as independent candidates, in violation of the ANP’s rules, U Tun Aung Kyaw said.

U Maung Kyaw Zan disputed the party’s account, however, saying he resigned of his own volition on Aug. 1 because the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) had itself violated the selection principles.

“Yes, it is true that the party issued a set of candidacy selection principles. But the members of the CEC and Political Steering Committee rejected the candidates selected by the township [chapters] for personal reasons. We resigned from the party of our volition because they violated their own principles, and we will contest as independent candidates,” U Maung Kyaw Zan said.

The ANP was formed out of a merger between the Rakhine National Development Party and the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD). In the run-up to the election, several members of the party have joined the re-formed ALD or the Arakan Front Party, which was founded by the ex-chair of the ANP, Dr. Aye Maung. Meanwhile, others have quit the ANP to contest as independent candidates.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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