YANGON – Arakan National Party (ANP) chairman Aye Maung submitted his resignation letter to the party’s central executive committee on Monday, citing mounting internal discord.
The party officially confirmed his resignation on Tuesday.
The letter, which went viral on Facebook Tuesday morning, accuses committee members of disunity and party supporters of attacking him during past party conferences and on social media.
Commenting on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media, a committee member told The Irrawaddy that the resignation was expected as the chairman had expressed uncertainty about his future with the party during a committee meeting in October. Since then some party members have speculated that Aye Maung was likely to found a new political party with some core ANP members.
An Arakanese Lower House lawmaker, Daw Khin Saw Wai, of the ANP, disputed the reports of forewarning, claiming the chairman had not discussed his resignation with committee members in advance. As for the impact of Aye Maung’s departure, she said it would depend on how much popular support he retains.
“How many people will follow him? Will he get strong public support as he leaves the ANP?” asked Daw Khin Saw Wai.
She said she would stay with the ANP if the chairman were to form a new party.
In his resignation letter, Aye Maung complained that some of his colleagues had started working against him despite his seven years with the party, adding that similar internal strife had allowed the Arakanese Kingdom to be defeated by Burma.
He also blamed committee members of causing internal friction when two candidates from the ANP challenged each other for the Rakhine State Parliament’s deputy speaker seat in June, following the death of deputy speaker Phoe Min from gastric cancer.
The letter also states that the committee’s decision to dismiss Sittwe Township Secretary Aung Than Wai for the misuse of party funds was “wrongly addressed” and resulted in “disintegration” among both party members and ANP supporters in rural areas.
“I feel that I am responsible for all these consequences as chairman of the party. Thus, I would like to request to quit as chairman and as a party member in line with Section 65” of the party’s rules and regulations, the letter says.
The letter also urges responsible ANP members to open the books on the party’s election expenses and on its contributions to Arakanese people displaced by attacks in northern Rakhine State by militant Muslim groups in recent years.
The Irrawaddy was unable to reach Aye Maung or ANP central executive committee member for comment on Tuesday.