Myanmar releases final list of election candidates

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Myanmar electionsA total of 6,074 qualified candidates will run in the upcoming November 8 general election in 1,171 constituencies nationwide in Myanmar, the country’s Union Election Commission announced on September 21 following the finalisation of the 170-page candidate list (full list in Burmese here).

The approved candidates include 5,764 nominated from 91 political parties and 310 independents. Of the candidates, 1,745 are to run in constituencies for the House of Representatives (Lower House), 886 for the House of Nationalities (Upper House), 3,443 for region or state parliament.

The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), led by U Htay Oo, and the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, top the number of candidates with 1,130 each.

At least 75 independent or opposition party candidates have been disqualified, many because of the citizenship status of their parents. Among them are about 15 of 18 candidates from the Democracy and Human Rights Party, a Muslim majority party whose candidates tried to run in the Rakhine state constituencies.

A Rohingya member of parliament who was disqualified from running for re-election last week complained to a US congressional hearing that Myanmar is stripping Muslims and other minorities of their rights in the democratic process.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the US was aware of reports that almost all Muslim candidates had been rejected.

“The move to disqualify these candidates, through an opaque and discriminatory process, risks undermining the confidence of the Burmese people and the international community in these elections,” he says, referring to Myanmar as Burma as the US has never officially recognised the country’s new name it got in 1989.

The Myanmar government has not yet responded to the allegations, but has said it intends to hold “free and fair elections.”

The polls will be the first general election since a nominally civilian government was installed in 2011. There are 32 million eligible voters in the country, according to the commission.

 

Major National Parties:
(Source: Myanmar Times)

Founded: June 8, 2010
Based: Dekkhinathiri township, Nay Pyi Taw
Chair: U Thein Sein, U Htay Oo (acting)
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 882
Seats won 2012: 1 | Candidates in 2015: 1134

Overview: Can the “white lion” ride again? Only the most one-eyed supporters would predict a repeat of the party’s smashing victory in 2010. While the by-elections brought a crushing defeat just two years later, the party’s support is unclear. Could incumbency work in its favour? MPs have had five years to build support in their constituencies, and some have used this to their advantage. Likely to poll well in rural pockets, some ethnic areas and constituencies with large military populations.


Founded: September 27, 1988; re-registered January 5, 2012
Based: Bahan township, Yangon
Chair: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Seats won 1990: 392 | Seats won 2010: Did not compete
Seats won 2012: 43 | Candidates in 2015: 1151

Overview: The NLD needs no introduction. The party is the overwhelming favourite to win the largest number of seats in the election; the question is whether it can get over the two-thirds mark – of 334 out of 498 – that would give it more than 50 percent of all seats in the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, and ensure its choice for the presidency (or the passage of bills) cannot be blocked by the military or other parties. That could be a big ask given doubts about its popularity in minority areas, but party leaders are confident.


Founded: September 24, 1988
Based: Bahan township, Yangon
Chair: U Than Tin
Seats won 1990: 10  | Seats won 2010: 64
Seats won 2012: 0 | Candidates in 2015: 763

Overview: Socialist dinosaurs or possible third force? The National Unity Party’s best shot at election resurrection was likely in 2010, when it had only the USDP to contend with. It failed to convince many voters that it offered a viable alternative, however, and that’s likely to remain the challenge this year. There are some green shoots, though, such as the recruitment of candidates like 26-year-old Ko Thurein Shwe, who will run against Vice President U Nyan Tun in Zigon.


Founded: July 9, 2015
Based: Yangon
Chair: U Nay Zin Latt
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered | Candidates in 2015: 365

Overview: The NDP was causing a stir even before it was registered, mostly because founder U Nay Zin Latt was until recently a political adviser to the president. This prompted speculation the party was set up as a vehicle for U Thein Sein if things went awry in the USDP. Then there was the naming problem; party leaders initially applied to register as the “National Party” but were told this was too broad. Will this help voters recognise the party on November 8? Don’t expect the NDP to pick up too many seats, but it could spring some surprises where it has strong candidates.


Founded: May 5, 2010
Based: Mingalar Taung Nyunt township, Yangon
Chair: U Thu Wai
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 3
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 52

Overview: The Democratic Party was one of a number of “third force” groups formed to run against the USDP in 2010. Despite strong polling in some areas, it won just a few seats and has struggled to make any inroads since then. The party will do well to win more than a handful of seats, particularly with new players on the block.


Founded: July 9, 2010
Based: Bahan township, Yangon
Chair: U Khin Maung Swe
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 16
Seats won 2012: 0 | Candidates in 2015: 275

Overview: The past five years have been tough for the NDF, with a number of MPs breaking away and its members being snubbed by the NLD, from whom they broke away in 2010. Its poor showing in the by-elections prompted some to question its future role in Myanmar politics. The party has a large contingent of candidates, however, including some with a strong chance of victory.


A closer look at 8 ethnic minority parties in Shan State

Founded: May 26, 2010
Based: Taunggyi, Shan State
Senior members: Sai Aik Pao (chair), Sai Hsaung Hsi (vice chair)
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 57
Seats won 2012: 1 | Candidates in 2015: 211

Overview: The SNDP were one of the few opposition success stories to come out of the 2010 election, winning the second-highest number of seats in the national parliament, with 21. The party fielded more than 150 candidates, and only voting irregularities stopped them from winning a higher percentage. This year’s vote will be a crucial test for the party, however, as it seeks to build on – or at least maintain – its result from 2010 in the face of stronger competition from the NLD and the SNLD.


Founded: 1988 (re-registered June 12, 2012)
Based: Mayangone, Yangon
Chair: U Khun Htun Oo
Seats won 1990: 23 | Seats won 2010: Did not compete
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 156

Overview: The SNLD won the second-highest number of seats in 1990, after the NLD, but saw many of its members imprisoned under the military regime, including leader U Khun Htun Oo. He was still serving a 90-year sentence for treason in 2010 when the party decided not to contest that year’s election and was deregistered. Two years later it reformed and has re-established links with other 1990 parties, including the NLD and Arakan League for Democracy, through the United Nationalities Alliance. However, its passage to parliament has been made more difficult through the failure to reach a merger with the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party or an alliance with the NLD – moves that could cost it dearly under Myanmar’s first-past-the-post voting system.


Founded: May 13, 2010
Based: Taunggyi, Shan State
Chair: U Sein Lwin
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 6
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 23

Overview: The Pao National Organization was informally allied with the USDP in 2010, with the military-backed party electing not to field candidates against it. This decision will also have been driven by the Pa-O’s geographic concentration and voters’ tendency to vote along ethnic lines, which create a winning formula in Myanmar’s first-past-the-post system. The party’s most high-profile MP, upper house representative, and Ruby Dragon owner Nay Win Tun, is not contesting again this year, but the PNO is likely to still do well for the same reasons it won seats in 2010.


Founded: June 2, 2010
Based: Lashio, Shan State
Chair: U Khun Htun Lu
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 6
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 11

Overview: While the election will almost certainly not go ahead in four townships controlled by the United Wa State Army – Myanmar’s largest non-state armed group – there are still several majority Wa townships under government control. In the 2010 election, the Wa Democratic Party beat out the Wa National Unity Party for these seats, but will face stronger competition this time around. At stake is not only seats in the Union Parliament, or Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, in Nay Pyi Taw, but also control of the Wa Self-administered Region government.


Founded: May 24, 2010
Based: Namhsam, Shan State
Senior members: U Aik Mone, U Htun Kyaw
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 6
Seats won 2012: Did not compete Candidates in 2015: 28

Overview: A reasonable performance in 2010 with six seats, the Ta’Arng (Palaung) National Party can, like most ethnic parties, expect to face additional competition on November 8. In some part the Palaung party’s success in 2010 was due to the USDP decision not to run candidates against it in some seats, making it hard to assess the strength of its support.


Founded: May 7, 2010
Based: Lashio, Shan State
Chair: U Htun Naing, U Zaw Htun
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 0
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 6

Overview: The Lashio-based party failed to win any seats in the 2010 election, with USDP candidates holding the two Kokang constituencies of Laukkai and Konkyan. That’s unlikely to change in 2015, even if the election even goes ahead in the conflict-hit region.


Founded: June 1, 2010
Based: Nyaungshwe, Shan State
Senior members: U Win Myint
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 4
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 5

Overview: Like the PNO, the Inn Nationalities Development Party benefits from the heavy geographic concentration of Inntha in the Inle Lake region. It will again be a formidable opponent in the lower house seat of Nyaungshwe, the two Nyaungshwe Shan State Hluttaw seats and the Inn ethnic affairs minister seat, all of which it won in 2010. However, infighting and dissatisfaction with the party leadership has led to the creation of a rival Inn party, which could dilute the votes.


Founded: June 9, 2015
Based: Nyaungshwe, Shan State
Senior members: U Thar Doe, U Tin Aung Kyaw
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered | Candidates in 2015: 5

Overview: The new kid on the block in Inle Lake, the Inn National League will bet on a popular swing away from the Inn Nationalities Democratic Party and seek to hold off challenges from the USDP and the NLD. It’s a tall order, but the chances of returning an Intha representative are good given local discontent with Nay Pyi Taw.


Running the rule with 8 ethnic minority parties contesting seats in Rakhine State

Founded: March 6, 2014
Based: Sittwe, Rakhine State
Senior members: U Aye Maung, U Aye Thar Aung, U Tun Aung Kyaw
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered | Candidates in 2015: 78

Overview: While undoubtedly the favourite to sweep Rakhine State, the Arakan National Party has endured a somewhat bumpy election preparation period. The selection of candidates caused widespread unrest within its ranks but these now appear to have been smoothed over. The party was formed from a 2013 merger deal between the Arakan League for Democracy, which won 11 seats in the 1990 election, and the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, which won 35 in 2010.


Founded: May 20, 2010
Based: South Okkalapa, Yangon
Chair: U Aye Kyaing
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 0
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 19

Overview: This Yangon-based Rakhine party competed unsuccessfully for seats in 2010, in part because it left many constituencies open for the RNDP so as not to split the vote. The Rakhine State National United Party lists the emergence of a federal union, an end to civil war and equality across the country as its major policy aims, together with “genuine” democracy and a “market-oriented economic system”.


Founded: July 15, 2015
Based: Sittwe, Rakhine State
Senior members: U Maung Maung Zaw, U Zaw Win Htun
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered | Candidates in 2015: 16

Overview: Formed by ex-members of the Arakan League for Democracy who disagreed with the merger with the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, the Arakan Patriotic Party has pledged to focus on education as a means of uplifting their impoverished state. The party’s success will largely depend on its candidates and how much of a local following they command.


Founded: July 5, 2010
Based: Tarmwe, Yangon
Chair: U Zaw Win
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 0
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 4

Overview: One of Myanmar’s smallest officially recognised ethnicities, the Kaman are a Muslim group from Rakhine State apparently descended from warriors who fought alongside the Rakhine kings of Mrauk Oo. In recent years they have been the subject of communal violence, and the Ka Man National Development Party lists opposition to “violence and extremism” and education to “end unhelpful thinking in Myanmar society” as some of its major policies.


Founded: May 5, 2010
Based: Buthidaung, Rakhine State
Chair: U Aye Htun
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered  | Candidates in 2015: 4

Overview: Together with the Daingnet National Development Party, the Mro Nationality Party is now in with a shot in Buthidaung thanks to the election commission’s rulings on Muslim candidates. With little data on ethnicity, it’s hard to predict how this race could pan out.


Founded: February 9, 2015
Based: Mrauk Oo, Rakhine State
Senior members: U Maung Mya Htun, U Maung San Aung
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered | Candidates in 2015: 4

Overview: Formed earlier this year, the Mro National Democracy Party is based in northeastern Rakhine State, with some presence over the border in southern Chin State. The party, which will contest seats in Mrauk Oo and Kyauktaw, will struggle in the face of competition from Mro, Rakhine and Bamar parties.


Founded: August 24, 2010
Based: Kyauktaw, Rakhine State
Chair: U San Thar Aung
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 0
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 7

Overview: After contesting unsuccessfully for the 2010 election, the Mro National Development Party has returned for another crack at a seat in parliament. Once again, its chances of winning appear slim.


Founded: August 27, 2015
Based: Buthidaung, Rakhine State
Senior members: U Aung Kyaw Zaw, U Htun Aye Maung
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered | Candidates in 2015: 3

Overview: Is the DNPP the dark horse of Rakhine State’s election race? With only three candidates, the party’s hardly in the running to be a major political force. But the rejection of so many Muslim candidates in Buthidaung could open the door for the Daingnet, who are closely related to the Chakmas of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh.

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

A total of 6,074 qualified candidates will run in the upcoming November 8 general election in 1,171 constituencies nationwide in Myanmar, the country’s Union Election Commission announced on September 21 following the finalisation of the 170-page candidate list (full list in Burmese here).

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Myanmar electionsA total of 6,074 qualified candidates will run in the upcoming November 8 general election in 1,171 constituencies nationwide in Myanmar, the country’s Union Election Commission announced on September 21 following the finalisation of the 170-page candidate list (full list in Burmese here).

The approved candidates include 5,764 nominated from 91 political parties and 310 independents. Of the candidates, 1,745 are to run in constituencies for the House of Representatives (Lower House), 886 for the House of Nationalities (Upper House), 3,443 for region or state parliament.

The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), led by U Htay Oo, and the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, top the number of candidates with 1,130 each.

At least 75 independent or opposition party candidates have been disqualified, many because of the citizenship status of their parents. Among them are about 15 of 18 candidates from the Democracy and Human Rights Party, a Muslim majority party whose candidates tried to run in the Rakhine state constituencies.

A Rohingya member of parliament who was disqualified from running for re-election last week complained to a US congressional hearing that Myanmar is stripping Muslims and other minorities of their rights in the democratic process.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the US was aware of reports that almost all Muslim candidates had been rejected.

“The move to disqualify these candidates, through an opaque and discriminatory process, risks undermining the confidence of the Burmese people and the international community in these elections,” he says, referring to Myanmar as Burma as the US has never officially recognised the country’s new name it got in 1989.

The Myanmar government has not yet responded to the allegations, but has said it intends to hold “free and fair elections.”

The polls will be the first general election since a nominally civilian government was installed in 2011. There are 32 million eligible voters in the country, according to the commission.

 

Major National Parties:
(Source: Myanmar Times)

Founded: June 8, 2010
Based: Dekkhinathiri township, Nay Pyi Taw
Chair: U Thein Sein, U Htay Oo (acting)
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 882
Seats won 2012: 1 | Candidates in 2015: 1134

Overview: Can the “white lion” ride again? Only the most one-eyed supporters would predict a repeat of the party’s smashing victory in 2010. While the by-elections brought a crushing defeat just two years later, the party’s support is unclear. Could incumbency work in its favour? MPs have had five years to build support in their constituencies, and some have used this to their advantage. Likely to poll well in rural pockets, some ethnic areas and constituencies with large military populations.


Founded: September 27, 1988; re-registered January 5, 2012
Based: Bahan township, Yangon
Chair: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Seats won 1990: 392 | Seats won 2010: Did not compete
Seats won 2012: 43 | Candidates in 2015: 1151

Overview: The NLD needs no introduction. The party is the overwhelming favourite to win the largest number of seats in the election; the question is whether it can get over the two-thirds mark – of 334 out of 498 – that would give it more than 50 percent of all seats in the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, and ensure its choice for the presidency (or the passage of bills) cannot be blocked by the military or other parties. That could be a big ask given doubts about its popularity in minority areas, but party leaders are confident.


Founded: September 24, 1988
Based: Bahan township, Yangon
Chair: U Than Tin
Seats won 1990: 10  | Seats won 2010: 64
Seats won 2012: 0 | Candidates in 2015: 763

Overview: Socialist dinosaurs or possible third force? The National Unity Party’s best shot at election resurrection was likely in 2010, when it had only the USDP to contend with. It failed to convince many voters that it offered a viable alternative, however, and that’s likely to remain the challenge this year. There are some green shoots, though, such as the recruitment of candidates like 26-year-old Ko Thurein Shwe, who will run against Vice President U Nyan Tun in Zigon.


Founded: July 9, 2015
Based: Yangon
Chair: U Nay Zin Latt
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered | Candidates in 2015: 365

Overview: The NDP was causing a stir even before it was registered, mostly because founder U Nay Zin Latt was until recently a political adviser to the president. This prompted speculation the party was set up as a vehicle for U Thein Sein if things went awry in the USDP. Then there was the naming problem; party leaders initially applied to register as the “National Party” but were told this was too broad. Will this help voters recognise the party on November 8? Don’t expect the NDP to pick up too many seats, but it could spring some surprises where it has strong candidates.


Founded: May 5, 2010
Based: Mingalar Taung Nyunt township, Yangon
Chair: U Thu Wai
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 3
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 52

Overview: The Democratic Party was one of a number of “third force” groups formed to run against the USDP in 2010. Despite strong polling in some areas, it won just a few seats and has struggled to make any inroads since then. The party will do well to win more than a handful of seats, particularly with new players on the block.


Founded: July 9, 2010
Based: Bahan township, Yangon
Chair: U Khin Maung Swe
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 16
Seats won 2012: 0 | Candidates in 2015: 275

Overview: The past five years have been tough for the NDF, with a number of MPs breaking away and its members being snubbed by the NLD, from whom they broke away in 2010. Its poor showing in the by-elections prompted some to question its future role in Myanmar politics. The party has a large contingent of candidates, however, including some with a strong chance of victory.


A closer look at 8 ethnic minority parties in Shan State

Founded: May 26, 2010
Based: Taunggyi, Shan State
Senior members: Sai Aik Pao (chair), Sai Hsaung Hsi (vice chair)
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 57
Seats won 2012: 1 | Candidates in 2015: 211

Overview: The SNDP were one of the few opposition success stories to come out of the 2010 election, winning the second-highest number of seats in the national parliament, with 21. The party fielded more than 150 candidates, and only voting irregularities stopped them from winning a higher percentage. This year’s vote will be a crucial test for the party, however, as it seeks to build on – or at least maintain – its result from 2010 in the face of stronger competition from the NLD and the SNLD.


Founded: 1988 (re-registered June 12, 2012)
Based: Mayangone, Yangon
Chair: U Khun Htun Oo
Seats won 1990: 23 | Seats won 2010: Did not compete
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 156

Overview: The SNLD won the second-highest number of seats in 1990, after the NLD, but saw many of its members imprisoned under the military regime, including leader U Khun Htun Oo. He was still serving a 90-year sentence for treason in 2010 when the party decided not to contest that year’s election and was deregistered. Two years later it reformed and has re-established links with other 1990 parties, including the NLD and Arakan League for Democracy, through the United Nationalities Alliance. However, its passage to parliament has been made more difficult through the failure to reach a merger with the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party or an alliance with the NLD – moves that could cost it dearly under Myanmar’s first-past-the-post voting system.


Founded: May 13, 2010
Based: Taunggyi, Shan State
Chair: U Sein Lwin
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 6
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 23

Overview: The Pao National Organization was informally allied with the USDP in 2010, with the military-backed party electing not to field candidates against it. This decision will also have been driven by the Pa-O’s geographic concentration and voters’ tendency to vote along ethnic lines, which create a winning formula in Myanmar’s first-past-the-post system. The party’s most high-profile MP, upper house representative, and Ruby Dragon owner Nay Win Tun, is not contesting again this year, but the PNO is likely to still do well for the same reasons it won seats in 2010.


Founded: June 2, 2010
Based: Lashio, Shan State
Chair: U Khun Htun Lu
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 6
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 11

Overview: While the election will almost certainly not go ahead in four townships controlled by the United Wa State Army – Myanmar’s largest non-state armed group – there are still several majority Wa townships under government control. In the 2010 election, the Wa Democratic Party beat out the Wa National Unity Party for these seats, but will face stronger competition this time around. At stake is not only seats in the Union Parliament, or Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, in Nay Pyi Taw, but also control of the Wa Self-administered Region government.


Founded: May 24, 2010
Based: Namhsam, Shan State
Senior members: U Aik Mone, U Htun Kyaw
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 6
Seats won 2012: Did not compete Candidates in 2015: 28

Overview: A reasonable performance in 2010 with six seats, the Ta’Arng (Palaung) National Party can, like most ethnic parties, expect to face additional competition on November 8. In some part the Palaung party’s success in 2010 was due to the USDP decision not to run candidates against it in some seats, making it hard to assess the strength of its support.


Founded: May 7, 2010
Based: Lashio, Shan State
Chair: U Htun Naing, U Zaw Htun
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 0
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 6

Overview: The Lashio-based party failed to win any seats in the 2010 election, with USDP candidates holding the two Kokang constituencies of Laukkai and Konkyan. That’s unlikely to change in 2015, even if the election even goes ahead in the conflict-hit region.


Founded: June 1, 2010
Based: Nyaungshwe, Shan State
Senior members: U Win Myint
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 4
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 5

Overview: Like the PNO, the Inn Nationalities Development Party benefits from the heavy geographic concentration of Inntha in the Inle Lake region. It will again be a formidable opponent in the lower house seat of Nyaungshwe, the two Nyaungshwe Shan State Hluttaw seats and the Inn ethnic affairs minister seat, all of which it won in 2010. However, infighting and dissatisfaction with the party leadership has led to the creation of a rival Inn party, which could dilute the votes.


Founded: June 9, 2015
Based: Nyaungshwe, Shan State
Senior members: U Thar Doe, U Tin Aung Kyaw
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered | Candidates in 2015: 5

Overview: The new kid on the block in Inle Lake, the Inn National League will bet on a popular swing away from the Inn Nationalities Democratic Party and seek to hold off challenges from the USDP and the NLD. It’s a tall order, but the chances of returning an Intha representative are good given local discontent with Nay Pyi Taw.


Running the rule with 8 ethnic minority parties contesting seats in Rakhine State

Founded: March 6, 2014
Based: Sittwe, Rakhine State
Senior members: U Aye Maung, U Aye Thar Aung, U Tun Aung Kyaw
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered | Candidates in 2015: 78

Overview: While undoubtedly the favourite to sweep Rakhine State, the Arakan National Party has endured a somewhat bumpy election preparation period. The selection of candidates caused widespread unrest within its ranks but these now appear to have been smoothed over. The party was formed from a 2013 merger deal between the Arakan League for Democracy, which won 11 seats in the 1990 election, and the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, which won 35 in 2010.


Founded: May 20, 2010
Based: South Okkalapa, Yangon
Chair: U Aye Kyaing
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 0
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 19

Overview: This Yangon-based Rakhine party competed unsuccessfully for seats in 2010, in part because it left many constituencies open for the RNDP so as not to split the vote. The Rakhine State National United Party lists the emergence of a federal union, an end to civil war and equality across the country as its major policy aims, together with “genuine” democracy and a “market-oriented economic system”.


Founded: July 15, 2015
Based: Sittwe, Rakhine State
Senior members: U Maung Maung Zaw, U Zaw Win Htun
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered | Candidates in 2015: 16

Overview: Formed by ex-members of the Arakan League for Democracy who disagreed with the merger with the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, the Arakan Patriotic Party has pledged to focus on education as a means of uplifting their impoverished state. The party’s success will largely depend on its candidates and how much of a local following they command.


Founded: July 5, 2010
Based: Tarmwe, Yangon
Chair: U Zaw Win
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 0
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 4

Overview: One of Myanmar’s smallest officially recognised ethnicities, the Kaman are a Muslim group from Rakhine State apparently descended from warriors who fought alongside the Rakhine kings of Mrauk Oo. In recent years they have been the subject of communal violence, and the Ka Man National Development Party lists opposition to “violence and extremism” and education to “end unhelpful thinking in Myanmar society” as some of its major policies.


Founded: May 5, 2010
Based: Buthidaung, Rakhine State
Chair: U Aye Htun
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered  | Candidates in 2015: 4

Overview: Together with the Daingnet National Development Party, the Mro Nationality Party is now in with a shot in Buthidaung thanks to the election commission’s rulings on Muslim candidates. With little data on ethnicity, it’s hard to predict how this race could pan out.


Founded: February 9, 2015
Based: Mrauk Oo, Rakhine State
Senior members: U Maung Mya Htun, U Maung San Aung
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered | Candidates in 2015: 4

Overview: Formed earlier this year, the Mro National Democracy Party is based in northeastern Rakhine State, with some presence over the border in southern Chin State. The party, which will contest seats in Mrauk Oo and Kyauktaw, will struggle in the face of competition from Mro, Rakhine and Bamar parties.


Founded: August 24, 2010
Based: Kyauktaw, Rakhine State
Chair: U San Thar Aung
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: 0
Seats won 2012: Did not compete | Candidates in 2015: 7

Overview: After contesting unsuccessfully for the 2010 election, the Mro National Development Party has returned for another crack at a seat in parliament. Once again, its chances of winning appear slim.


Founded: August 27, 2015
Based: Buthidaung, Rakhine State
Senior members: U Aung Kyaw Zaw, U Htun Aye Maung
Seats won 1990: Not registered | Seats won 2010: Not registered
Seats won 2012: Not registered | Candidates in 2015: 3

Overview: Is the DNPP the dark horse of Rakhine State’s election race? With only three candidates, the party’s hardly in the running to be a major political force. But the rejection of so many Muslim candidates in Buthidaung could open the door for the Daingnet, who are closely related to the Chakmas of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh.

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