Arakanese Political Parties Merge to Form ANP
BURMA

Arakanese Political Parties Merge to Form ANP

Members of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) and the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) hold a press conference on June 17, 2013 in Rangoon, announcing a decision to merge the two parties. (Photo: Zarni Mann / The Irrawaddy)

Members of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) and the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) hold a press conference on June 17, 2013 in Rangoon, announcing a decision to merge the two parties. (Photo: Zarni Mann / The Irrawaddy)

The merger of Burma’s two largest ethnic Arakanese political parties has been given the green light by the Union Election Commission, which granted approval for registration of the Arakan National Party (ANP) on Monday.

The ANP joins the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), which holds 32 seats in Parliament, and the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD), a political party once outlawed by Burma’s former military regime. The merger is more than eight months in the making, with initial discussions between the two sides begun in late May 2013.

“The Election Commission has allowed the merger of the two parties,” said Aye Maung, the current chairman of the RNDP and a lawmaker in Parliament’s Upper House.

“The combining of the political parties is to work strongly for unity among Arakanese both inside and outside of the country,” he said, adding that an ANP conference to be held later this year would invite all Arakanese’s participation.

The new party aims to work for sustainable peace, equality and autonomy in line with ethnic minority groups’ demands, Aye Maung said.

A party conference later this year will select the new ANP leadership, with the current chairmen of the respective parties to lead the new party’s transition in the interim. Aye Tha Aung, the chairman of the ALD, and Aye Maung will guide the transition. Thirty Arakanese leaders, 15 from each party, will be appointed to the ANP’s central executive committee.

“We plan to take at least seven months for the transition period,” said Aye Maung.

During that time, the ANP will launch party activities in Arakan State’s 17 townships as well as other constituencies where significant Arakanese populations reside, including in Rangoon and Irrawaddy divisions and Hpakant in Kachin State.

With recognition of the new party, the RNDP and ALD are officially dissolved as political entities.


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2 Responses to Arakanese Political Parties Merge to Form ANP

  1. Bravo!. It is big step for Rakhine people. Soon they will be able to see their dream Kingdom with the help ALP who are strong now. Strong party and strong rebel group. Tide is in their favor.

  2. Cheers! We the ethnic people need this kind of mentality and philosophy for the benefit of our cause. The Chin parties fail to do that. Self-serving representatives are the ones who will lose their their seats in the upcoming election. Some representatives never meet their voters and live outside of their constituencies. The law must forbid them not to reside outside of their constituencies. Many representatives do not know how their constituents feel or how they believe. Now, the two Rakhine parties are trying to form one party to serve the Rakhine people with one voice. I hope the Chins, the Kachins, the Shans, the Kayahs, the Karens and the Mons will learn from our brothers and sisters, Rakhines.

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