ANP looks for candidate to run in April by-election
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.