ALD party prepares to reconvene
MORE than 100 former members of the Arakan National Party seem to be on the verge of forming a new political grouping after their expulsion from the ANP. They met on October 8-9 in Kyauktaw township, Rakhine State to discuss the new party, just days after the ANP’s October 3-4 convention in Mrauk-U township.
The expelled members, from Yangon, Mandalay and Ayeyarwady regions and Chin State, were formerly members of the Arakan League for Democracy, which merged with the larger Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) to form the ANP before last November’s elections. In the best showing of any ethnic party, the ANP took more than half the seats in Rakhine State.
Before the merger, the ALD enjoyed closer ties with the now-ruling National League for Democracy.
U Myo Kyaw, one of the expelled members and a former senior ALD member, said he and his colleagues discussed the reconstitution of the party, the political situation in Rakhine State and future party plans.
“We will establish a party separately once all members have been consulted,” he told The Myanmar Times, adding that Rakhine State needs the right leadership.
He declined to comment on the ANP convention, saying he had seen no statement emanating from it and was not aware of any of its decisions.
“We intend to schedule the founding of a new ALD party soon,” he said.
Amyotha Hluttaw MP Daw Htu Expelled ANP member May (ANP; Rakhine 11), formerly of the ALD, told The Myanmar Times that the ALD could not be considered a new party because it had existed for many years.
“A separate ALD party could not be considered as new because it was founded in 1990,” she said, adding that the problems between the two groups might yet be mediated.
Forged two years ago from a merger between the RNDP and the ALD, the ANP has since struggled to maintain cohesion, especially due to the widespread perception that the RNDP acts as the senior partner.
In the November 2015 election, the ANP won 22 of the 34 seats in the Rakhine State parliament, the only ethnic party to make much headway against the National League for Democracy juggernaut in the rest of the country. The ANP promptly demanded the right to control the state cabinet appointments, a demand that was ignored as an NLD member, U Nyi Pu, was established as chief minister of Rakhine State.
Ko Ye Min Oo, the leader of the Rakhine Student Union, said that despite the 2015 merger of the two parties to fight the election, the two had never quite gelled politically.
“The conditions [for avoiding a split] were particularly difficult because of the hidden hand of Rakhine State politics. It might be better if the split was total,” he said.
ANP secretary U Tun Aung Kyaw said the party’s central executive committee would arrange next year’s conference based on the interests of the Rakhine people, the need to maintain political stability and the organisational capacity of the party.
“I think it’s necessary to turn out a new generation of the party,” he said. “The ALD meeting is not our concern because they were expelled.”
‘We will establish a party separately once all members have been consulted.’
U Myo Kyaw