Members of a nationalist Arakanese party have resigned in protest over the sacking of three top party leaders.
Six members of the Arakan National Party (ANP) from Kyauktaw Township quit the party after the party’s central committee approved the dismissal of township executive members Chairman Saw Maung, Vice-Chairman Saw Shwe Htun and Secretary Zaw Win.
Htun Hla, Maung Maw Sein, Zaw Win Maung, Hla Saw Maung, Tun Tun Aung and Tin Htun Aung withdrew their membership as a show of dissatisfaction with the decision.
Speaking to DVB, Htun Hla said the group felt disregarded by the central committee.
“After the 2015 elections, the then-chairman and secretary became MPs, so most of our executive members decided to pick members to fill these roles. After the meetings, we received a letter from the central committee instructing us not to replace the township executive committee members.
“We just elected a new chairman and new secretary. But the central committee dismissed the people we selected. We feel that central committee ignored our opinions and stance, so we cannot work here and six township executive members including me have resigned,” Htun Hla said.
Saw Shwe Htun was an ANP founder and Saw Maung and Zaw Win have also long been active in the Arakanese nationalist cause, said Htun Hla.
The ANP central committee dismissed the township leaders on 7 April. Earlier, it had also sacked another senior member, Kyaw Lwin, a day after he was sworn in as the minister for agriculture, mining and forestry in the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led state government.
The ANP has been mired in internal divisions since the November election, with the NLD’s mandate to appoint a state chief minister spurring disputes within the party.
NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with senior ANP members in March to try to resolve the dispute over the appointment of Arakan State chief minister, which went to the NLD’s Nyi Pu.