Hundreds of party faithful rallied at a staging grounds in Taungoo on Saturday morning in a show of support for beleaguered State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy’s longtime figurehead.
Following the resignations of three Arakan National Party (ANP) lawmakers in as many days, the trio intend to join the rival, resuscitated Arakan League for Democracy (ALD), according to the ALD’s general secretary.
Two defections this week by sitting lawmakers formerly pledging fealty to the Arakan National Party (ANP) have made clear that divisions within one of Burma’s most formidable ethnic political parties continue to fester.
If there’s one thing that unites Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the army that once tried to crush her, and the majority of people in mostly Buddhist Burma, it is their vehement dislike of Rohingya Muslims, seen as a threat to national security.
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi told villagers at the heart of the country on Monday that talks with ethnic rebels must be a priority, after putting peace negotiations ahead of economic reforms in her first months in power.
Burma’s Union Election Commission has allowed the registration of the Arakan League for Democracy, re-establishing a political party that was a formidable competitor in national polls 27 years ago but may further fracture ethnic Arakanese political solidarity in future votes.
Party official Win Htein acknowledges that despite efforts to select the best individuals to stand as candidates in the 2015 election, some have turned out to be “seeds that didn’t sprout” since taking their seats in Parliament.