Four Myanmar Parties Register for Junta Election

By The Irrawaddy 15 February 2023

Despite widespread opposition to the Myanmar junta’s proposed general election, four political parties have re-registered with the junta-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC), as required by the new Political Parties Registration Law.

The military-proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), Federal Democratic Party (FDP), Myanmar People’s Democratic Party (MPD) and Union Democracy Party (UDP) re-registered this month.

The USDP, FDP and MPD were among 34 parties that met military chief Min Aung Hlaing ahead of the 2020 general election.

The party leaders sought the commander-in-chief’s assurance that he would intervene if voting was deemed unfair. They also called for then UEC chairman U Hla Thein to be replaced, saying they do not trust him because he was appointed by the National League for Democracy (NLD).

Min Aung Hlaing’s coup came three months after the NLD’s landslide victory.

FDP leaders Daw Than Than Nu and Daw Cho Cho Kyaw Neyin accepted honorary titles on behalf of their fathers from Min Aung Hlaing in January in Naypyitaw. Daw Than Than Nu was the daughter of U Nu, prime minister under the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League government after independence from British rule.

Daw Cho Cho Nyein is a daughter of U Kyaw Nyein, U Nu’s deputy.

The United Democratic Party, known as the Rose party because of its logo, was dissolved ahead of the 2020 election after its chairman Michael Kyaw Myint was accused of money laundering, flouting business laws and fleeing an earlier prison sentence handed down under a previous military regime.

The UDP was dissolved after it failed to field three candidates – the legal minimum – in the 2020 general election.

The Political Parties Registration Law, according to observers, favors the USDP, which was formed by ex-generals.

The law requires parties to re-register with the junta’s UEC within 60 days or be disbanded. Under the law, parties running nationally must recruit at least 100,000 members within 90 days of registration and have offices in at least half of Myanmar’s 330 townships within six months. They must also deposit 100 million kyats with a state-owned bank.

Sai Leik, general secretary of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, told The Irrawaddy, that the law will ensure the USDP secures power and the military maintains its grip on power.

There are 91 political parties in Myanmar and all are now required to re-register or be dissolved.

The NLD says it will not recognize any junta election but the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party, People’s Pioneer Party led by the junta’s social welfare minister Daw Thet Thet Khine, Arakan Front Party and other parties close to the junta are expected to re-register.

In the 2020 election, 87 of 91 registered parties contested the election and 19 won parliamentary seats.

The civilian National Unity Government, ethnic armed organizations and other pro-democracy forces have called any junta election a sham.

Malaysia has urged fellow ASEAN members to reject any election held by Myanmar’s regime.