People’s Party co-founder resigns amid row over whether to attend meeting with junta’s election commission

One of the co-founders of the People’s Party has resigned over a disagreement about whether the party should attend a meeting on Friday organised by the junta’s election body. 

Ye Naing Aung, the party’s General Secretary, told Myanmar Now he argued for boycotting the meeting with the Union Election Commission (UEC) during a discussion with senior party members on Monday. 

“I resigned from the party during a meeting with the central executive committee members today,” he said, declining to give further details. 

Ye Naing Aung founded the party in 2018 with Ko Ko Gyi and other veterans of the 1988 democratic uprising.

Ko Ko Gyi, who is the party’s chair, declined to comment on the resignation or the party’s stance regarding the UEC meeting. 

The People’s Party boycotted a first meeting with the UEC in late February, along with others including the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) and the Democratic Party for a New Society, which was also founded by veterans of the 1988 uprising. 

Members of the People’s Party campaign in Yangon ahead of last year’s election (Myanmar Now)

Sai Nyunt Lwin, a vice-chair of the SNLD, told Myanmar Now his party will not attend Friday’s meeting.

“There are currently clashes in Shan State and Covid-19 is still there. We can’t think about this,” said Sai Nyunt Lwin.

A number of ethnic political parties from Rakhine and Kachin states, as well as dozens of parties allied with the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, attended the February meeting.

The military council arrested former UEC members after it seized power on February 1. It then reappointed its own members to the commission, which held its first post-coup meeting with political parties on February 26. 

During the meeting, the junta-appointed chairman announced that the results of last year’s election–which Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won in a landslide–were annulled. 

The military alleged–without evidence–that there was widespread voter fraud in the poll, a claim it used as justification for seizing power. The coup regime claims it plans to hold another election and transfer power to the winning party.

The People’s Party fielded 140 candidates, including Ko Ko Gyi, in last year’s election but did not win any seats.


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