Kokang political party disbanded by Myanmar regime’s election commission 

The Shan State Kokang Democratic Party was the only rival to the military’s proxy party in the Kokang region

Myanmar’s junta-controlled Union Election Commission (UEC) announced on Monday that it has dissolved the Shan State Kokang Democratic Party (SSKDP) for failing to recruit enough members.

The SSKDP, which was formed in 1988, was among a handful of parties that registered earlier this year to contest elections under new rules formulated by the regime in January.

Under the rules, parties competing in a single state or region are required to show that they have at least 1,000 members within 90 days of registration.

The UEC’s decision to exclude the SSKDP nearly six months after formally recognising it on May 30 comes as the military faces growing pressure from an alliance of ethnic armed groups in the Kokang region and other areas along Myanmar’s northeastern border with China.

The groups have seized control of scores of army outposts and a number of towns in northern Shan State since the start of an offensive late last month.

The SSKDP is the only rival to the military’s political proxy, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), in the Kokang region.

Although it won a seat in the region in the 1990 election—the results of which the junta then in power later nullified—the SSKDP has never held office.

The party was previously dissolved in 2010, when it boycotted that year’s army-backed election along with the National League for Democracy and Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, the two parties that won the most seats in 1990.

It re-registered in 2012 and unsuccessfully contested elections in 2015 and 2020, losing to the USDP on both occasions. The USDP candidates were all former Kokang militia leaders close to Myanmar’s military.

One of those candidates was Ming Xuechang, a controversial figure accused by China of running illegal gambling operations from within the Kokang Self-Administered Zone.

Ming was found dead last Thursday, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, just days after Chinese authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.
The junta has since admitted that Ming was a Chinese national, making him ineligible for public office in Myanmar.

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