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Kyaw Zaw Oo, a member of the Arakan National Party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), has become the latest politician to the defect from the increasingly enfeebled ethnic Rakhine political party, which saw its chairman resign last week.
Representing Sittwe constituency No. 2 in the Rakhine State legislature, Kyaw Zaw Oo was elected as an independent in Burma’s 2015 general election. Due to an intra-party dispute at the time, he ran as an independent but later rejoined the ANP.
He submitted his resignation on Monday.
An official at the Sittwe-based ANP headquarters confirmed that the office had received the letter and said Kyaw Zaw Oo asked that the CEC allow him to leave the party, citing the recent resignation of Aye Maung as party leader.
Aye Maung submitted his resignation letter on 27 November, citing “disunity among the members of the [ANP] leadership,” in a major shake-up of Rakhine State politics that was preceded by months of intra-party turmoil.
Kyaw Zaw Oo was selected as a member of the ANP’s CEC at a party conference in 2014, the same year the party was formed out of a merger of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) and the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD).
Numerous reports of internal ANP tensions have pointed to an RNDP-ALD divide among the ranks, and the latter was officially re-registered earlier this year, born largely of ANP defectors looking to reconstitute their former political vehicle.
Aye Maung, who had previously led the RNDP, last week became the highest-profile departure from the ANP, which was the strongest-performing ethnic political party in the 2015 election. Other sitting lawmakers have also left the ANP over recent months, including Khin Maung Htay and Than Maung Oo in October. Both were also CEC members, representing constituencies in Ann and Ramree townships, respectively, in the Rakhine State legislature.