RANGOON — The Arakan State Parliament approved Arakan National Party (ANP) nominations for speaker and deputy speaker as the new regional legislature convened on Monday.
San Kyaw Hla, an ANP lawmaker from Ponnagyun Township was selected as house speaker and Phoe Min from Rathedaung Township will serve as the deputy speaker.
The ANP won 23 state seats in November’s general election while the National League for Democracy (NLD) won nine seats and the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won three seats. Military MPs will take 12 seats in the parliament.
ANP released a statement on Sunday reaffirming the sentiments expressed by the party on January 19—that the ANP will stand in firm opposition to the new NLD government if they are denied the right to form their own state-level administration.
In Sunday’s statement, the ANP said it has welcomed all suggestions put forward by monks, civil society organizations and voters and that the party held a central executive committee meeting to discuss these submissions on February 6.
The party also announced that it will formally end its affiliation with United Nationalities Alliance (UNA), a coalition of ethnic political parties formed after Burma’s 1990 election. Instead, the ANP will partner with National Brotherhood Federation (NBF), another ethnic coalition formed after the 2010 election, stating that the NBF will be better able to understand Arakanese issues and concerns.
After the NLD indicated in December that all chief ministers would be NLD lawmakers, the ANP declared that it “won’t join any government organization, but stand as an opposition party for the interests of Arakan people,” unless the party is granted an exemption and allowed to form its own government.