The Arakan National Party (ANP) will hold a meeting of members of its Central Executive Committee to discuss the resignation letter submitted by its chairman, Aye Maung, who officially signalled his intention to leave the ethnic Rakhine political party earlier this week.
“He submitted a resignation letter. However, whether or not he will be allowed to resign from the ANP depends solely on the decision of the party’s Central Executive Committee as well as the Central Committee,” said Khaing Pyi Soe, the ANP’s vice chairman.
“Since it is the resignation of a chair, the CEC cannot decide alone. We assume that it is necessary to hold a Central Committee meeting too. The members of the party’s leadership, including the vice chairpersons and secretaries, will meet up and decide when the meeting will take place,” he said, adding that no date for the meeting had yet been set but that it would likely take place sometime in December.
Aye Maung cited “disunity among the leaders of the party” as one of the reasons for his resignation, which was communicated to the party’s leadership in a letter dated 27 November. He also claimed that he had been subject to personal attacks, including via social media.
“Over the course of seven years working with [ANP cadres and their forerunner political parties], instead of being ‘friends’ among the members who had shared the same beliefs and worked toward a common national goal, I am saddened to see that members have become foes, acting belligerently against each other,” the resignation letter was described as stating.
Regarding the departure of several other members of the ANP in recent months, Khaing Pyi Soe told DVB, “One thing is that once someone is committed to the party’s affairs, it is quite difficult for him to focus on his business, family matters, et cetera. That could be one reason one might quit being a member of the party.”
Several former ANP members have defected to the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD), a party established in 1989 and ultimately merged with the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party to form the ANP. Despite the ANP’s 2015 general election success, factionalisation between members of the former ALD and RNDP was reported even before the landmark vote two years ago, and a new-look ALD was officially registered as a political party earlier this year.
“Another thing is a weak interest in the party and a difference in opinions,” Khaing Pyi Soe said, in apparent acknowledgement of the ANP’s internal fissures. “Under section 65 of the party’s regulations, a member of the party can resign from the party. However, the party’s Central Executive Committee has the sole right to decide whether or not to allow a party member to resign.”
It was not clear what a failure to accept Aye Maung’s resignation might mean for the veteran ethnic Rakhine politician, who serves as a Lower House lawmaker representing Rakhine State’s Ann Township following his April 2017 by-election victory.
DVB was unable to reach Aye Maung for comment.
Unlike most of the recent ANP defections, Aye Maung was considered to be part of the “RNDP faction” of the ANP. He had led the RNDP since its formation in 2010 and assumed the role of ANP chair following the merger in 2014.