ANP rejects eighth MP’s resignation

An Arakan National Party MP became the eighth party member to have his resignation rejected by party leaders on Monday, ANP lawmakers told Myanmar Now.

Kyaw Lwin, MP for Kyaukphyu township constituency 1, first submitted a resignation letter in September 2018, then another in November of this year.

At least ten ANP lawmakers have either submitted resignation letters or said they want to leave the party so far, according to party records.

Many say in-party fighting is driving their decisions, but party leaders say they must fulfil their obligation to voters by finishing out their terms before leaving office.

Khin Maung Latt, MP for Rathedaung township, submitted resignation letters in June and November of this year. Party leaders returned his rejection on 27 November.

“They must allow MPs to leave the party. This is a violation of their rights. It’s political repression,” he told Myanmar Now.

The party’s rejections are just a means of preventing breakaway MPs from competing in the upcoming general election, he said.

Khin Maung Latt said internal rivalries and disagreements are behind his bid to leave.

Buthidaung township MP Aung Thaung Shwe told the party he wanted to leave last year, also because of internal conflict.

But Aung Thaung Shwe said Dr Aye Maung’s resignation is another big factor dividing the party.

Aye Maung, a former ANP chairman that helped establish the party, remains popular and highly influential in Rakhine politics. He resigned from the party in 2017 over mounting internal divisions.

Aye Maung was sentenced to 20 years in jail earlier this year for treason after accusing the Bamar-majority government of treating the Rakhine like “slaves,” but his son Tin Maung Win ran against the ANP as an independent in 2018 by-elections, with Aye Maung’s support, and won.

Party officials dismissed allegations of conflicts and disagreements among the dissidents as the excuses of frustrated MPs.

In 2017, Aye Maung, the former ANP chairman, and former upper house lawmaker Htu May were among the first to resign.

One lower house, three upper house and four state parliament lawmakers are currently seeking their exit from the ANP.

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