ANP says it will register to contest junta-organised election
The Arakan National Party (ANP) will register with the junta-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC) under the new Political Parties Registration Law, but ...
19 Mar 2023
19 March 2023, Sittwe
The Arakan National Party (ANP) will register with the junta-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC) under the new Political Parties Registration Law, but only to contest in Arakan State in order to continue standing as a political party representing the Arakanese people in Arakan State, said ANP chairman U Tha Tun Hla.
With input from the township committees and at the decision of the central committee members, the ANP will be registered in the last week of March. The ANP is the largest ethnic political party in Arakan State, and was the most successful party in the state in Myanmar’s past two general elections.
“The ANP is a party established for [ethnic] politics, so we made a decision to register as a political party representing Arakan State and Arakanese people,” U Tha Tun Hla said.
The Political Parties Registration Law requires parties running nationally to recruit at least 100,000 members within 90 days of registration and have offices in at least half of Myanmar’s 330 townships within six months. They must also deposit 100 million kyats with a state-owned bank. Parties contesting seats in one state or region must recruit at least 10,000 members, run offices in at least five townships, and deposit a minimum of 10 million kyats in a state-owned bank.
The ANP contested some seats outside of Arakan State in previous elections, but has been forced by the new law to narrow the scope of its political ambitions.
“The ANP was a registered party for organising nationally in previous elections. However, according to the limitations of the current law, the ANP has faced great financial difficulties to register nationally. So we will register to contest at the state level,” U Tha Tun Hla explained.
The ANP won seven seats in the Arakan State parliament, four seats in the Lower House and four seats in the Upper House, for a total of 15 seats in the 2020 general election — a vote in which several Arakan State constituencies did not have the opportunity to go to the polls due to conflict between the Myanmar military and Arakan Army.
In 2015, the ANP won 22 out of 35 elected representative seats in the Arakan State parliament, 10 seats in the Upper House, 12 seats in the Lower House, and one seat for the Arakanese ethnic affairs minister.
The Arakan Front Party (AFP), Khami National Development Party and Rakhine State National Unity Party (RSUNP) have already registered with the junta-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC) for the national election slated for later this year.
Since February 1, 29 political parties have registered with the junta’s UEC; seven of them are contesting nationally and 22 parties are contesting in a single region or state, according to the junta-controlled election body.
The regime plans to replace the previously used first-past-the-post electoral system with one based on proportional representation in the coming election.