Top Mon Politician Resigns as Merger Hopes Stumble

By Hintharnee 24 July 2017

MOULMEIN — Dr. Aung Naing Oo, the deputy speaker of Mon State parliament, has resigned from the All Mon Region Democracy Party (AMDP) amid calls for a new regional organization.

Aung Naing Oo announced that he had submitted his resignation letter to his party at a gathering of ethnic Mon parties in Mon State on Saturday, but declined to disclose the reason behind his leaving.

“I have no plan to form a new political party with those who are expelled by the Mon parties. The two parties are just giving lip service about the merger, but nothing is happening in reality,” he said at the meeting, referring to the proposed merger of his party and the Mon National Party (MNP).

AMDP Joint Secretary 1 Nai San Tin said the party received and accepted his resignation in the second week of July.

“We have nothing to say about it as he did it of his own volition,” said Nai San Tin.

Aung Naing Oo, who was serving as the secretary of Chaungzon Township AMDP chapter, contested and won the bid to represent Chaungzon in the 2010 and 2015 general elections.

He supports the idea of merging the AMDP and MNP, and, as a member of a group of independent Mon politicians, polls the public on their thoughts regarding a new Mon political party. The group also explains Mon State’s current political developments to locals.

On July 13-15, the MNP held a central executive committee (CEC) meeting which saw the expulsion of two CEC members and four central committee members including Dr. Min Soe Lin, who won the seat for Ye Township in the 2015 general election.

Joint secretary 1 Nai Soe Myint of the party told The Irrawaddy that Min Soe Lin was dismissed because of his lengthy absence from party meetings, although Min Soe Lin believes his dismissal was because of the potential merger.

“I was expelled because I actively support the merging of the two parties,” he told The Irrawaddy.

The two parties confirmed to The Irrawaddy that they had chosen representatives to hold discussions on the merger—an idea that was first presented around 2013, but has been continuously stalled by struggles to find common ground on the terms of a coalition.

In the 2015 election, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won the majority of votes in the state, which many Mon blamed on votes being split between the two Mon parties.

In January, about 300 Mon youth in Lamine sub-township in Ye protested against the leaders of the AMDP and MNP after they refused to combine their parties. Growing calls to form a new Mon political party followed the protest.

Citing local opinion polls, former member of the New Mon State Party committee Nai Ta La Nyi said about 60 percent of Mon locals support the idea of a fresh political outfit.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.