Yangon: The Arakan League for Democracy (ALD), the winning party from the 1990 election in Arakan State, was reportedly granted leave to stand as a political party by the Myanmar Union Election Commission on 6 April, 2012.
The ALD was forcibly abolished as an official political party by the military regime in 1991. The party is now again allowed status after submitting its application to the election commission on 27 February, 2012, after the current, nominally elected, civilian regime has taken office.
U Thar Ban, Chairman of the ALD, told Narinjara that his party would work for the future development of politics and society in Arakan State as the party has already regained its official status.
“The ALD will work for the political affairs of restoring democracy, equality, and autonomy in the union as well as for development in the sectors of health, education, and economics in Arakan State, as the party is now a recognized political party. We also have plans to work together with the non-governmental organizations, especially for the development of farmers and fisher folk, the most deprived and majority population Arakan State,” said U Thar Ban.
He also said the ALD will sustain its previous coordination with other ethnic political parties including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy.
“The ALD will also continue its political coordination with other ethnic parties and the NLD like before. As a preliminary step, we will hold political discussions with those parties. We had a discussion with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on 15 July, 1989, on the policies of equality and autonomy in the union and we will hold on to those policies for our current political coordination with other parties,” he said.
U Thar Ban said his party will also cooperate with other local Arakanese political parties for their common regional affairs in Arakan State.
“The ALD had won the 1990 election, but the result was never recognized and its elected members were also arrested. As a party that has been standing straight against the political storms through the ages, it will not be possible to dissolve the name of the ALD. But we are willing to work together with other parties in our state and have also prepared to do so for our common regional affairs in our state,” said U Thar Ban.
When asked his opinion on the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, which won the 2010 election in Arakan State by a landslide, U Thar Ban said, “We respect the RNDP for its efforts for our Arakanese nationalities. We are the same Arakanese people and we will try our best to raise cooperation between us for the interest and well-being of our people and state, but we have no intention yet to merge our party with any other party or dissolving the ALD in name.”
U Oo Hla Saw, Secretary of the RNDP, said he is pleased that the ALD is officially approved again to stand as a political party.
“The ALD is the only party that has been serving our Arakanese national people to the best of its ability since 1988. My father was an MP-Elect from the ALD in Mrauk-U Township and I myself served as the secretary of the ALD as well. We are very glad to know that the ALD is allowed again to establish as a political party,” said U Hla Saw.
When asked of the RNDP’s policy on relations with other local parties, U Hla Saw said, “We hold the policy on the emergence of a strong Arakanese political party that will represent the whole of Arakanese nationalities in 2015. That is why we are ready to work with any other political parties in our Arakan State. We also have plans to work together with the ALD after forming join committees for the suffering and problems facing our Arakan State, which are resulted from forcible land confiscations, unruly oppression, and human rights violations as well as from the gas pipeline constructions.”
The Arakan League for Democracy was established on 27 September 1989 in Rangoon based upon the Arakan National Union that was born in Arakan State during the nationwide democracy uprising in 1988, and was registered with the election commission of the time on 2 October 1989. The party won 11 seats in Arakan State in the 1990 election, but the result was never recognized and the party was forcibly abolished by the then Burmese military regime in 1991.