Arakan National Party leaders meet with Arakanese tribal leaders at the ANP headquarters in Sittwe on January 7. (Photo: ANP)

Min Tun | DMG
8 January 2021, Sittwe 

Ethnic groups in Arakan State are asking that the Arakan National Party (ANP), which won the most seats in Arakan in the November 8 general election, be allowed to form the state government. 

The appeal was made during a meeting between leaders of the ANP and the Rakhine Nationalities Coordinating Committee on January 7 at the former’s headquarters in the Arakan State capital Sittwe. 

“The ANP won the most seats in recent elections in Arakan State, so let it form a new government. Because only if the ANP is allowed to form a government will people know the plight of the Arakanese people,” said U Maung Nu, a leader of the ethnic Maramargyi community. “The ruling NLD [National League for Democracy] will not be aware of the plight of the Arakanese people, so we are demanding that the ANP be allowed to form a government.” 

Thursday’s meeting was attended by senior officials from the ANP; MPs-elect; representatives from the Mro National Development Party, Khami National Development Party, Daingnet National Development Party and Kaman National Development Party; and leaders of Arakan State’s Maramargyi and Hindu communities, totalling about 30 people. 

The Constitution stipulates that state and regional chief ministers be directly appointed by the president. In November, the ruling NLD won what amounts to re-election to a second five-year term, with the party securing enough seats in the national parliament to choose the president and thus all 14 of the country’s chief ministers.  

“If we do not have administrative power and cannot form a government, what can we do to improve the lives and material well-being of these ethnic groups?” asked U Tun Aung Kyaw, a member of the ANP’s policy steering committee.  

Kaman leader Daw Khin Myo Nyunt said she hoped the ANP would be able to solve the current problems affecting Arakan State’s ethnic groups. 

“Since we are one of the Arakanese ethnic groups, it would be good if an Arakan party could be allowed to form a new government. Transportation and education are in big trouble in ethnic Kaman villages. We hope that an Arakan party would be able to solve these problems if it is allowed to form a state government,” she explained.  

U Tun Aung Kyaw told DMG that if the ANP is allowed to form a state government, it will address the plight of ethnic minorities in Arakan State. 

Officially, there are seven ethnic groups in the state: Arakan (Rakhine), Kaman, Khami, Daingnet, Maramargyi, Mro and Thet. 

Ethnic political parties with a focus on Arakan State include the Kaman National Development Party, Khami National Development Party, Khumi (Khami) National Party, Mro National Democracy Party, Daingnet National Development Party and Mro National Development Party. 

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