Objection Filed Against New Military-Linked Political Party

By Moe Moe 6 March 2019

NAYPYITAW—The Myanmar People’s Democratic Party (MPD) on Tuesday raised an objection with the Union Election Commission (UEC) about the party logo of the Democratic Party of National Politics (DNP) as its logo is similar to that of the MPD according to the party’s chairman U Htay Kyaw.

“The main color of our party logo is yellow. The design and color of the DNP is similar to our logo so I have raised an objection so that people can differentiate [between the logos] easily,” U Htay Kyaw told The Irrawaddy.

The MPD was established in May 2017 and contested in three constituencies in Yangon and Pegu in the 2018 by-election, but lost all of them.

U Soe Maung, the minister of the President’s Office during U Thein Sein’s administration, registered the DNP with the UEC on Feb. 28.

In line with procedures, the UEC announced the name, flag and logo of the DNP in state-run newspapers on March 1 so that anyone who wants to complain about the establishment of the party can raise objections with the UEC.

U Soe Maung, a close confidant of former military regime leader U Than Shwe, retired as the military’s advocate-general before serving as minister of the President’s Office under then-President U Thein Sein. He was also a member of the military commission that drafted the 2008 Constitution.

“We have not yet decided what to do in response to the objection,” UEC spokesperson U Myint Naing told The Irrawaddy.

Upon receiving a proposal to establish a political party, the Home Affairs Ministry’s immigration and population department must determine whether the applicants have links to terrorist organizations or unlawful associations.

Other senior figures in the DNP are U Lun Maung and U Kyaw Thu, both former military officers.

U Lun Maung served as auditor-general under U Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government until he asked to leave the post in 2012. He has since run a restaurant in Mon State’s Bilin Township, and kept a low-profile.

U Kyaw Thu was a brigadier general in the army and served as chairman of the Union Civil Service Board, a government agency responsible for recruiting civil servants.

Meanwhile, ex-general and former Lower House lawmaker U Shwe Mann has re-entered politics. U Shwe Mann who was considered the third most powerful man in the military regime led by U Than Shwe also formed his political party, Union Betterment Party (UBP) in February.

On his Facebook page, U Shwe Mann, a close ally of State Counselor and National League for Democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, said his party will work towards building a democratic federal union; developing the economy; systematic development of education, healthcare and culture; and establishing rule of law, stability, equality and peace.