Although the UEC has the legal authority to cancel or postpone voting in line with Section 10(f) of the UEC law, the National League for Democracy (NLD) government and the military have the informal power to influence those decisions politically. Thus, the cancellations raise questions as to whether the NLD and military have the political will to hold elections in Arakan.

The Arakan Army, like its many counterparts in other parts of the country, is a product of the failure to find a federal and democratic solution to long-standing political problems. Regrettably, the current civilian government under the leadership of the National League for Democracy (NLD), which came to power advocating both democracy and federalism, still fails to live up to these professed principles, not least by refusing to deal with minority ethnic groups as political equals. 

The ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) has not fielded candidates in some townships of northern Arakan State, prompting an interesting question to consider: Why did the NLD, which won a landslide victory in the 2015 general election, decide not to contest some seats in Arakan State?

Campaigning is underway in Myanmar as Election Day draws nearer. We can see clear differences between the campaigning of the big political parties vying for seats nationwide and the campaigning of ethnic political parties contesting seats based on geography and ethnic identities.

Trade flows for commodities during the outbreak have been impacted but are continuing — for now. But no one knows how long the current outbreak will last, nor how much more restricting of the movement of people and goods might be in store. If the infection rate remains high, people of irregular income might face starvation.

Under the current government, Myanmar’s peace process has faced multiple delays. Meanwhile the government has made not a single remark on the situation of human rights breaches in Arakan State, including the deaths of civilians while in Tatmadaw custody.

With all of this in mind, it is important that authorities avoid over- or underreacting to the current COVID-19 threat level. More importantly, the government will need to show an ability to adapt to changing circumstances and adjust its strategy for combating the virus if the situation in Arakan State becomes significantly worse.

Most Arakanese people fulfilled their national duty and turned out at the polls in the 2010 and 2015 general elections, but a question is raised in my mind today whether lawmakers from Arakanese political parties have dutifully reciprocated the trust placed in them by the voters.

Since Myanmar is a weak State, it is more susceptible to being substituted in reality or in people’s minds by the likes of the Arakan Authority, an interim governance body forged by the AA’s political wing, the United League of Arakan (ULA). On June 19, Arakan News published a story about the AA-affiliated Authority settling a land dispute issue ...

Arakan State has long seen conflict across numerous sectors of its socio-economy, resulting in poverty and disenfranchisement.

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