Union Lawmaker Switches Rakhine Parties

By Khin Oo Tha 26 July 2017

YANGON — Ethnic Arakanese politician and Upper House lawmaker Daw Htoot May has resigned from the Arakan National Party (ANP) to join the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD).

At a press conference in Yangon on Tuesday, Daw Htoot May said she resigned from the ANP the previous day because she believed that she would be able to better serve the interests of Rakhine State and Arakanese people with the ALD.

“I’ve resigned from the ANP because it is high time I made a decision. As a young woman, I feel like I should no longer stay in the comfort zone, just following the steps of the seniors,” said the 38-year-old lawmaker.

She also posted her resignation on her Facebook page on Monday.

In June 2013, the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) and ALD merged under the name Arakan National Party (ANP) to avoid vote-splitting in the 2015 election.

The newly formed party contested 63 seats in Rakhine and Chin states and Irrawaddy and Yangon regions. It won 10 seats in the Upper House, 12 in the Lower House and 22 in Rakhine State Parliament.

In January 2017, former leaders of the ALD announced that they were splitting from the ANP and were re-registering with the Union Election Commission (UEC) for the 2020 elections. On July 18, the UEC confirmed the registration of the ALD as a political party.

Daw Htoot May joined the ALD in 2006, and became an ANP member after the merger. In the 2015 election, she contested the Upper House seat of Ramree and Ann townships.

“As I am back in my mother party ALD now, I’ll be able to engage in issues related to Rakhine State more freely,” she said.

U Kyaw Myint, current leader of the ALD, told the same press conference on Tuesday that the party’s central executive committee would be chosen soon.

“As we have been officially registered as a political party now, we’ll engage in the interests of Rakhine State and the internal peace process. We are ready to cooperate with all democratic forces including the NLD,” said Kyaw Myint.

He said the ALD’s manifesto enshrines ethnic equality, self-determination, resource sharing and ensuring Rakhine politicians lead in serving the interests of the state and its people.

The ALD would also strive for the rule of law, he added, create jobs, promote education, and push to amend the military-drafted 2008 Constitution.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.