ANP and NLD Remain in Tussle Over Chief Minister Position

By Moe Myint 17 March 2016

RANGOON — According to Arakan State’s National League for Democracy (NLD) chairman, decisions regarding the appointment of state and division ministers will be decided at the party’s central executive committee (CEC) meeting on March 20.

Since the NLD itself will retain authority over the selection of Arakan State’s chief minister, The Irrawaddy asked NLD chairman Nyi Pu on Wednesday whether the winning party intends to allocate other state-level ministerial positions to the Arakan National Party (ANP). Nyi Pu said all outcomes hinge on CEC decisions.

“As we’ve said before, we [the NLD] will lead the state government. I can’t say right now what our party will have to offer to the ANP,” said Nyi Pu.

The Union Parliament on Tuesday elected NLD nominee Htin Kyaw to be the next president, with the transfer of power scheduled to take place on April 1. Meanwhile, more than 100 Arakanese civil society organizations have demanded that the state’s chief minister position go an ANP member.

The ANP won 44 out of 77 contested seats in the Arakanese regional parliament the November election, while the NLD won the vast majority of seats in the national legislature.

The ANP has also created a team of leaders whose aim is to foster political dialogue with the NLD. Tun Aung Kyaw, ANP general secretary and a team member, said that the ANP had once expressed the possibility of a party member being appointed as the Arakan State state chief minister, but in reality, this decision rests with the NLD, which will form the majority of Burma’s new government.

“We [the ANP] are awaiting their [the NLD’s] offer, but we’ve heard nothing from them,” said Tun Aung Kyaw, who added that collaboration with the NLD would be dependent on the outcome of the dialogue between the two parties. He did not comment on what the ANP’s response might be if they were allocated other state-level ministerial positions, rather than that of the chief minister.

The Irrawaddy attempted to reach ANP chairman Aye Maung by phone on Wednesday, but he was not available to comment for this article.