Aye Myint, chairman of the newly formed Guiding Star Party, spoke to DVB about running in the upcoming election, training the next generation of lawmakers, and his history of political activism.
Guiding Star Party was borne out of the well-known human rights advocacy group Guiding Star Association, and are contesting five parliamentary seats in Rangoon [Yangon] and Pegu [Bago] divisions.
Question: How are you preparing for the election?
Answer: As our party only formed recently, we don’t have the time [to prepare for the election]. We are running in the election to win political influence rather than power. We believe that when we have political influence, whoever wields the decision-making power will have to listen to us. We are fielding five candidates, each around 40 years old, for the elections. We are expecting about three of them will win.
Q: Are you personally running in the elections?
A: No. Partly because I want to set an example that we, the elder people, should make way for the new generations. Compared to them, we don’t much time left in our lives and we want to promote a generation of young and efficient lawmakers.
Q: In the past elections, your organisation [Guiding Star Association] helped to promote the National Democratic Force party, but this year you formed your own political party. Why?
A: I have been involved in political activism since 1968- 69, but I had a limited understanding of how activism actually worked. I found that going out and protesting in the streets without discipline led to the blood-letting of civilians by the government. It was implausible to achieve our political goals just by being active outside of the parliament, even if we practiced discipline.
After we realised this, we formed our own party with the intention of getting into parliament, whether we like the  constitution or not, and doing what we can to bring about as much change as we can. We have no dispute with any political party – our policy is to work with anyone, whether they are the Union Solidarity and Development Party (UDSP) or the National League for Democracy (NLD). As for the National Democratic Force (NDF), they now stand as a strong and credible political party, so they no longer need our help. The intention behind the formation of the Guiding Star Party was to get the youth into parliament and train them.
Q: Don’t you think forming a separate political party may lead to vote splitting?
A: We hear quite a lot from critics that having many parties may lead to vote splitting and that it can potentially be bad for the country. But our view is opposite from that – we think that if the NLD or USDP win the majority of votes, enough to form a government, they may in the long term become dictators. If a major party wins the elections every time, they are likely to become tyrants and we believe that having a coalition government can be better for the country.
Q: What is your party’s policy? Do you have any message for the voters?
A: We believe in the notion that ‘starvation can overcome the fear of bullet’ – when people are starved and suffering, the government should anticipate an all out uprising [by the people]. This is our main motto. I want to tell voters that they should choose carefully who to vote for so they don’t end up handing a machine gun to a monkey.
Read more interviews here.
Find the full DVB coverage of the 2015 election here.