Junta mouthpiece criticises NLD-led decision to disband Union Democratic Party last year 

A military-run newspaper has published an op-ed criticising the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) government for overseeing the decision to dissolve the Union Democratic Party (UDP) shortly before last year’s general election.

The party was ordered to disband by the election commission after an investigation found its leaders had illegally received the equivalent of millions of US dollars in funds from a source in China. 

The investigation came shortly after Myanmar Now published a story about how the UDP’s leader, Kyaw Myint, had returned to Myanmar to lead the party despite being a fugitive and a prison escapee

Writing in the Myanma Alinn newspaper last week, an author under the name Sar Chit Thu, or Literature Lover, said the UDP had “managed to win the hearts of many working class people.” 

The piece criticised the NLD for dissolving the party “just for allegedly taking financial support from a neighbouring country.” The article added that some news outlets had helped to defame the party.  

The UDP competed in the 2010 and 2015 elections but never won a seat. Last year it fielded its largest number of candidates ever, running in most constituencies across the country.

On April 6, coup leader Min Aung Hlaing raised the UDP’s case in a Naypyitaw meeting where he sought to justify his power grab with unfounded claims that the NLD had committed electoral fraud. 

Despite the junta’s apparent dissatisfaction with how the NLD handled his case, Kyaw Myint remains in jail, according to former detainees of Insein Prison who were released in July. 

A court in Mandalay in November last year ordered him to finish the prison sentence he absconded from and added another two years to his term. 

A former UDP central executive committee member said he did not know anything about the current status of Michael Kyaw Myint’s case.

“I lost contact with everyone, including Kyaw Myint, after the dissolution and I don’t have any information on the party anymore,” he said.

Yangon’s regional prisons department director Zaw Zaw could not be reached for comment on the case. 

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