Monday, April 12, 2010

Leading Arakanese Party Decides Not to Register for Election


The Arakan League for Democracy, a leading state political party, has decided not to register with the Election Commission or to contest in the military-sponsored election. The decision was made at an emergency party meeting held in Rangoon on 10 April.

U Aye Tha Aung, joint-secretary of the party, said, "The 2008 constitution is neither for ethnic rights nor human rights in Burma.
The constitution and other election laws are not fair or just. Because of that, our party decided not to register as a party and not to contest in the election."

A few senior leaders attended the meeting and agreed unanimously not to register with the Election Commission.

Although the ALD has not registered to contest the election, the party will continue their activities working for democracy, ethnic rights, and equal rights in Burma, the party leaders said.

U Tha Noe Aung, an active member of the ALD in Sittwe, said, "Our leaders gathered in Rangoon on 10 April and made the decision. We all welcomed the party leaders' decision not to register with the Election Commission or to contest in the upcoming election, as the decision is acceptable for all democratic activists."

The ALD is a leading political party among the Arakanese community and won 11 seats in the 1990 military-sponsored election, but the party was officially abolished by the military government in 1992 without any justification.

"We agreed on the decision because it is a reflection of our people's desire. Our Arakanese people strongly believe the election along with the 2008 constitution is not useful for the Arakanese people and it was constituted by the military government to oppress the Arakanese people continually," he said.

16 political parties had registered with the Election Commission as of 9 April, but there are no Arakanese parties among them.

He added, "It is proof, because there are no parties representing Arakan. It is obvious the Arakanese people are not interested in the election."

According to local sources, however, some Arakanese politicians from Sittwe are now discussing the formation of a political party to run in the upcoming election.

One leader among them said, on condition of anonymity, "Now the ALD decided not to register and contest in the election. We may lose our rights in Burma without a political party. So we need a political party to represent our Arakanese people. Because of that, we are preparing to form a political party with the name 'Arakan Democratic Party'".

During the meeting of the ALD, U Tha Ban was elected as vice-president of the ALD, but two posts - president and general secretary - were not filled during the meeting. The two positions were left vacant after ALD Chairman U Soe Mra Aung and Secretary U Aye Pe passed away.

The two posts will be filled with suitable leaders at the next conference of the ALD, said sources.



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