Chin politician declines invitation to join military-formed council

Htalar Ha Ye, the former director of Chin state’s municipal affairs department, has declined an offer from Myanmar’s military to sit on a new ruling council for the state.

The offer was made on Monday, said Htalar Ha Ye, who contested last year’s election as an independent candidate for Hakha township constituency No.1.

“It was either for the role of the chair or as a member. A ministerial position, basically,” the 62-year-old told Myanmar Now.

“They made an offer and asked me to send in my biography. I discussed it with my family, but ultimately turned it down as a matter of principle,” he said.

The chairmanship of the council has been vacant since the original appointee, Terence San Mawi Nikhuai, died of a heart attack on February 11, a week after he was assigned to the position. 

Myanmar’s newly installed junta has also invited the chair of the Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD) and winning candidates from the party to join the state council, according to the party’s general secretary, Salai Ceu Bik Thawng.

“Our policy is only to work with organizations or individuals that accept federal democracy and self-determination. Since this [regime] isn’t on the path of federal democracy, it’s not okay to work with them,” he said, explaining why the party rejected the offer.

“It’s not just because of the organization. We are just following our policies,” he added.

The Zomi Congress for Democracy (ZCD), a longtime ally of the National League for Democracy (NLD), has also turned down offers of positions on the state’s election commission and ruling council, said Pu Gin Kam Lian, the party’s secretary-general.

Since seizing power on February 1, the military regime has announced the formation of administrative councils for each state and region. The new councils consist of a chair, one military officer, one or two regional representatives, a director of immigration, a chief of police, and a general administrator.

The junta has already announced that two prominent political figures in the state, Ngun San Aung and Go Swin Khai, had been named to sit on the council. However, Chin-based media has reported that Go Swin Khai declined the role.

Civil society organization from the state’s Matupi township have denounced the inclusion of Ngun San Aung, the former state construction minister during the Thein Sein presidency, in the state council.

The NLD won 36 of the state’s 39 constituencies in the 2020 election, while the CNLD and the ZCD won the remaining seats.

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