Election 2020

Myanmar’s Election Body Dissolves United Democratic Party Over Illegal Funding

By The Irrawaddy 19 October 2020

YANGON—Myanmar’s election authority has disbanded the United Democratic Party (UDP) for breaching the Political Party Registration Law, as the party’s leader was found to have financially supported the party with money illegally transferred from China, a violation of Article 6(f) of the law.

Currently, the party’s boss, Michael Kyaw Myint, is under police detention on a fugitive warrant for his escape from a prison in 1999.

The dissolution announcement by the Union Election Commission (UEC) came on Saturday after a series of police investigations found that Michael Kyaw Myint has spent 13.89 billion kyats (US$10.72 million) on the party so far, including providing 300,000 kyats to each of 716 UDP candidates for November’s election. The party fielded more than 1,130 candidates—as many as the ruling National League for Democracy.

According to the Union President’s Office, the money turned out to have come from illegal transactions from China, breaching the Political Party Registration Law.

The UEC said the UDP, known locally as the Rose Party after its logo, failed to observe the official requirements that political parties have to follow, especially Article 6(f) of the registration law.

Article 6(f) requires that political parties abstain from accepting and using directly or indirectly money, property, or other aid from the government of any foreign country, any religious organization, any other organization or any person.

Article 12(a) of the law warns that a party that fails to abide by any provision contained in Article 6 can be abolished by the UEC.

On Sunday, in a voice message to party members, the UDP’s Central Executive Committee said it was obliged to follow the decision, but claimed that it was made by the ruling party. Other senior UDP officials said they would send a complaint letter to the UEC protesting the dissolution.

The Political Party Registration Law states that the UEC’s decision is final and conclusive when it comes to implementation of the provisions of the law.

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