By Maung Rammar
The winning party in Arakan State from the 1990 election, the Arakan League for Democracy, headquartered in Pazuntaung Township, Yangon, applied to re-register as a political party on 26 April, 2012, said the Myanmar Election Commission.
The application was filed according to the Party Registration Act No. 5, and the application was supplemented with the inclusion of the party flag and party symbol, the MEC statement reported.
Following the MEC statement, Narinjara contacted U Aye Thar Aung, General Secretary of the ALD, for a comment on the current activities of the ALD. He said, “The election commission allows for the registration of political parties. Accordingly, the application for the registration was filed. The MEC charged 300,000 kyats for the application and it was done.”
U Aye Thar Aung further commented on the future plans of the ALD regarding national unity that are to be undertaken after official registration as a party.
“Our party always takes national unity as the policy of first priority. Our CEC has been given tasks to seek cooperation with the RNDP,” he added. He also gave his personal opinion regarding the issue of national unity.
“National unity and cooperation for national issues are to be taken as the necessary requirement regardless of any time of the political development in the country. However, the two parties have different aims, policies, and procedures, so we exist as two different parties, but cooperation between us will be sought for the national cause in the near future. To do that, the CEC in Sittwe has been assigned the work of discussion to be done with the RNDP on the 24th of this month,” he said.
Regarding the 2015 election, U Aye Thar Aung commented that it is still far off and the decision as to whether the ALD will participate will be made when the time is near.
“A decision on whether to compete in the election will be made later. First, party development will be given attention. Youth in the party must be empowered first by giving informal training, etc. In the meantime, land issues for the farmers will be taken into account. Land rights and land reform for farmers will be introduced to the farmers with short trainings, and so on,” he continued.
For Arakan State, there are two main political parties – the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party and the Arakan League for Democracy. The former competed in the 2010 election and won 34 seats. The latter won 11 seats in the 1990 election but chose not to run in the 2010 election.
There are serious concerns raised by people of Arakan that if cooperation is not earned between the two main parties in Rakhine State, all the votes from the people will be scattered across the various parties in the upcoming 2015 election and other non-Arakanese parties might win the majority vote in Arakan State. Therefore, Arakanese have expressed that they want the immediate amalgamation of the two main parties.
The re-registration of the ALD is seen by some people as an unnecessary move amid serious concern for national unity. Instead, it has been expressed that the merger of the ALD with the RNDP is a better choice for the ALD as well as the Rakhine people.
The ALD chose to apply for eligibility as a party on 27 February, 2012, in accordance with the political climate that sweeping across Burma. The election commission allowed the ALD to apply for registration on 6 April, 2012, as their application was legitimate.
The ALD was founded on 27 September, 1989, in Yangon, and it registered with the election commission organized by the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council on 2 October, 1989. It competed in the 1990 election and won 11 seats for Arakan State.