(News and Analysis) Concern Raised Whether ANP will Survive after National Election Commission Gave Ultimatum and Court Charged Its Members with Terrorist Laws

Photo taken by DMG during the ANP office opening ceremony in Sittway, Rakhine State 
Sittway. My 17, 2020
Myanmar National Election Commission (NEC) called on Arakan National Party (ANP) to clarify the wording on its statement, ‘Rakhine national territory,’ and provide evidences of stating Myanmar army involved in shelling civilians in Kyauk Seik on April 14, where 8 civilians were killed and 14 villagers injured. 

The election commission wrote letter to the ANP main office in Sittway, state capital, on May 11, 2020 and gave ultimatum ANP to submit explanations on May 14, 2020.

The statement said based on Rakhine State Government compliance against the party statement dated on April 17, 2020 in which the statement accused Myanmar army involved in activities in shelling civilians (sic) and urged to prove evidences and clarify the wording in the statement. 

Arakan National Party issued a statement on April 17, 2020 and said it perceived Rakhine State was instituted in important geopolitical location and raise of national competitions, but whatever challenge coming ahead, it would work with the people for hand in hand. 

The statement said, “ANP urged Myanmar National Human Rights Commission and relevant organizations to investigate and bring perpetrators to justice for those who involved from Tatmadaw in shelling and killing civilians in Kyauk Seik, where was no military clash in the morning of April 14 and ran out of the villager due to the shelling.”

The statement ended with in phrasing that ANP would unite and stand with the people for national interest whether there is 2020-national election to allow to take part it or not.

Coincident with the NEC statement, police in Pougup township rearrested and charged chairman and three more members of ANP in Hsar Pyin village with counter terrorism laws. They were previously charged with the unlawful association acts, but the court dismissed the case in May first week. 

On May 11, police arrested ANP’s township chairman and two more township’s municipal official and former officials in Tongup and charged with terrorist laws. 

Analysts are concerned whether ANP will survive during the 2020 national election season. 

“This is unusual sign NEC is taking step and acted upon the state government compliance over the ANP. It is the same indication as I experienced the state government did the same compliance against DR Aye Maung for his political speech before he was arrested and sentenced for long term prison. I am concerned ANP would not survive,” the analyst who does not want to use his name said. 

Arakan National Party won the largest parliamentary seats in Rakhine State and the third largest seats in the national parliament in 2015 election. But NLD did not allow it to form state government but picked up NLD’s man U Nyu Pu to ran the local government without the people support.

The analyst said, “Without the head of the central government or NLD boss instructed the state government to seek NEC to tackle down the ANP over the statement it should speak up for the interest of the people, this kind of harassment would never be taken place in Rakhine.” 

The election season is coming closer amid violence in Rakhine State and outbreak of coronavirus when government is eyeing on ANP as a great threat in 2020 election. 

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