There has been no fighting between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army in Arakan State for more than two months. Meanwhile, the Arakan Army released three NLD candidates from Taungup Township as a result of negotiations between the Tatmadaw and the ethnic armed group. No more fighting in Arakan State, but there are still landmine explosions. Another problem is that some IDPs are reluctant to return home because Tatmadaw troops are still stationed near their villages.

Arakan State, one of Myanmar’s 14 administrative regions, has a population of 3.1 million, comprised of two main communities: the Arakan (Rakhine) Buddhist majority and, second-largest, the Muslim community, with smaller ethnic groups of different faiths.

U Aung Zan Wai was also the only Arakanese politician who travelled to Panglong for the forging of the Panglong Agreement in 1947. In Arakan politics, there was a parliamentary grouping, led by the former Prime Minister Sir Paw Tun on the nationalist right. Then, on the left, the armed Arakan People’s Liberation Party was established by the leadership of U Seinda in November 1945.

In July, a Tatmadaw column entered Chainkharli village in Rathedaung Township and shot dead U Maung Tun Sein, a 60-year-old vendor, according to his wife. She fled to avoid being shot herself, leaving her husband’s body behind.

Colonialism is the policy of a country seeking to extend or retain its authority over other people or territories, and attendant suppression and exploitation of colonised people. Countries colonise others by various means including waging wars, trading, and interfering in the internal affairs of the targeted countries, including the introduction of the colonisers’ religions. Countries such as Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal have exercised colonialism in Asia, South

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Since a conflict in Arakan State that began in late 2018 has more recently subsided, both Myanmar’s military and the Arakan Army (AA) confirmed last month that there was a mediator in peace negotiations between the two sides. Not long after, the Japanese special envoy for national reconciliation in Myanmar arrived in Arakan State.   

The NLD failed to negotiate with ethnic political parties after it took office in 2016, and prohibited ethnic parties’ MPs from initiating discussions in Parliament on their political concerns and needs in ethnic areas.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s charismatic and legal-rational legitimacy, in line with Max Weber’s framework, does not work in Arakan State despite it having a largely positive impact in most other parts of the country. Her image has been damaged in the Rakhine community for, among other reasons, her unilateral decisions regarding the Arakan State government’s installation, the arrest of the popular leader Dr. Aye Maung, and as a result of her stance in armed conflict issues with the Arakan Army.

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.