The Arakan National Party (ANP) is undergoing internal elections to select candidates who will stand in the upcoming elections.
Khine Pye Soe, vice chairman of the ANP – a result of a merger between two major Arakanese parties, the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) and the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) – told DVB that the selection process is necessary as the number of party members who have expressed wish to stand exceeds the number of seats available to contest.
“In 2010, the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party didn’t have many election candidates, and we had to handpick eligible contenders by consulting experts. In 2015, now we have merged with the ALD, we have over 100 people seeking to become candidates for just 63 parliamentary seats,” said Khine Pye Soe, previous deputy leader of the RNDP.
“As Burma is now in a period of democratic transition, we have decided that we can promote democracy by holding internal democratic elections within our party to appoint candidates on village or ward and township levels via a secret voting system,” he said.
The party’s first candidate ballot was held in Rathedaung Township on Sunday, in which Khin Swe Wai won candidacy for a lower house seat, while Than Naing and Pho Min were each appointed as regional parliament candidates.
The party will continue with the selection process to appoint candidates in all townships in Arakan State, Irrawaddy Division and Chin State’s Paletwa by 15 June.
Those party members who wish to apply for candidacy are required to pay a 30,000 kyat (US$30) application fee and 500,000 kyat as a deposit for a party conference. If appointed to run in the election, each candidate has to supply 20 million kyat for campaigning.