Thursday, March 11, 2010

No Arakanese Political Parties Emerge to Register for Election

3/11/2010

Sittwe: The Burmese military government on Wednesday issued new election laws, including regulations on political party registration, but Arakanese political parties remain silent and have made no moves to register with the election commission for the forthcoming election, said a politician from the Ratanya party.

He said, "In the 1990 election, over ten Arakanese political parties contested in Arakan State as the election was believed to be free and fair, but for this forthcoming election, no one in Arakan State believes the election will be free and fair. So the Arakanese political parties are not willing to contest in the forthcoming election."


Many Arakanese politicians in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, are studying the election laws published in the state-run newspapers, but none have yet revealed if they will form political parties for the election.

In Arakan State, there are two major political parties - the National League for Democracy and the Arakan League for Democracy - but the two parties are unable to run in the election due to many restrictions the junta has placed on them with the new election laws.

In the 1990 election, the NLD won nine seats in Arakan State while the ALD won 11 seats. The ALD's status as a political party was revoked by the election commission in 1992 without any explanation, despite that the party won so many seats in the state in the 1990 election.

"U Aye Tha Aung, general secretary of the ALD, announced at the party formation day in October that the ALD would not run in the 2010 election if the authority does not revise the constitution that was adopted in 2008. I thought the party would be unable to register because the military authority banned the party from new party registration," the source said.

A senior monk from Sittwe said, "People in Sittwe are generally interested in the election after the election law was unveiled by the junta authority yesterday. But I have not yet met anyone in Sittwe who plans to form a political party for the election."

Monks in Arakan State are more active in politics and close to politicians despite the authorities' desire to limit their political involvement.

According to politician sources, the junta authority has plans to encourage small Arakanese political parties like The Arakan National Unity Organization, Mro and Khami National Solidarity organization and Arakan Nationalities Democracy Party to run in the election in order to demonstrate to the international community that the election will be free and fair.

"Even though the authority encourages Arakanese political parties to contest in the election, the political parties in Arakan State will avoid doing so due to many problems with the new constitution as well as election laws," the politician said.

Ref: Narinjara

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