ANP looks for can­di­date to run in April by-elec­tion

The Myanmar Times - - News - NYAN LYNN AUNG nyan­lin­aung@mm­times.com

TAK­ING aim for an­other crack at Ann town­ship in their Rakhine State heart­land, the Arakan Na­tional Party (ANP) has de­cided to run a can­di­date in the by-elec­tion to be held there on April 1. In all, there will be 19 by-elec­tion races. All will be con­tested by the present and for­mer rul­ing par­ties, the Na­tional League for Democ­racy and the Union Sol­i­dar­ity and Devel­op­ment Party.

ANP rep­re­sen­ta­tives took their de­ci­sion at a cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing in Sittwe on Novem­ber 11-12.

The party sec­re­tary, U Tun Aung Kyaw, said a six-mem­ber team would now se­lect a can­di­date.

“We’re go­ing to Ann town­ship to meet with party mem­bers, to dis­cuss by-elec­tion prepa­ra­tions and to con­sider a pos­si­ble can­di­date,” he said. The can­di­date is ex­pected to be named by Novem­ber 28.

The ANP ex­pects stiff com­pe­ti­tion in Ann from both the NLD and the USDP, as both are stronger in south­ern Rakhine State than in the north. The Ann seat, in the Pyithu Hlut­taw, was va­cated by USDP MP U Thein Swe in March, when he ac­cepted a cabi­net post as Union min­is­ter for labour, im­mi­gra­tion and pop­u­la­tion. U Thein Swe de­feated the ANP’s U Kyaw Than Hlaing in the 2015 elec­tion. U Tun Aung Kyaw said U Kyaw Than Hlaing was will­ing to com­pete in the April by-elec­tion, but other po­ten­tial can­di­dates will also be con­sid­ered. One is likely to be the party chair, Dr Aye Maung, who lost his Ram­bre town­ship seat last Novem­ber.

“We must com­pete in the by-elec­tion and we must win. The party will choose the can­di­date who has the power to bring in the vot­ers,” said Dr Aye Maung.

Though the ANP did bet­ter than any other eth­nic-based party, win­ning a to­tal of 44 seats in the state and na­tional leg­is­la­tures, it fell short in south­ern Rakhine State, los­ing Gwa as well as Ram­bre and Ann town­ships. As a re­sult, it failed to take a clear ma­jor­ity in the state hlut­taw.

“We need a vic­tory, so I will fight any elec­tion we need to fight. The 2017 by-elec­tion will be part of the run-up to the 2020 gen­eral elec­tion,” he said.

Can­di­dates in the by-elec­tion must reg­is­ter with the Union Elec­tion Com­mis­sion be­tween Novem­ber 28 and De­cem­ber 7. The UEC will re­lease fi­nal can­di­date lists on Jan­uary 2 and the cam­paign pe­riod will run two months, from the end of Jan­uary un­til the end of March.

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