The role of political parties in participating the 2023 election or not

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – January 20 Scenes
MoeMaKa, January 21 2023

The role of political parties in participating the 2023 election or not


The military council has not yet announced the specific months and days that the election will be held, but I have noticed that differences of opinion are beginning to emerge regarding whether or not to participate in the election to be held in 2023.


It is not yet obvious in the parties form mainland, but in some ethnic regions, the differences in opinions are emerging among the political parties. It is firstly seen in ethnic parties based in Rakhine State clearly.


In Rakhine State, there are parties of Rakhine ethnicity such as the Arakan National Party (ANP), the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) and the Arakan Front Party (AFP). There are also minority parties such as the Mro National Development Party (MNDP), the Kha Mee National Development Party, the Kaman National Progressive Party (KNPP), the Daingnet National Development Party (DNDP) and etc.


The ANP and AFP parties are seen saying that they will participate the election, while the ALD party has given an opinion in an interview with a news media that it will not compete at all. 


The main party in Rakhine State is the Arakan National Party, which is called ANP, and the rest of the parties have less support compared to ANP and they tend to have support based on their ethnic areas.


It is natural that there may be differences of opinion depending on whether or not to participate in the election, but it is true that there should not be any conflict between one party and another based on such differences of opinion.


The ALD party, which is considered to have a close relationship with the NLD party, said that it would not participate in the election at all. But, some minor ethnic groups, such as the Mro, Kha Mee, Daingnet and Kaman ethnic parties are watching the situation to see if the big parties will enter the competition, and if the big parties do, they have stated that they will also enter the competition.


The elections after the coup in 2021 cannot be compared to the elections in 1990 after the 1988 coup.

After the coup in 1988, when it was announced that the next election would be held, the National League for Democracy, which was newly established at that time, contested the election vigorously and hoped to take over power. However, at that time, after the NLD won the election, they were not handed power on the grounds that there was no constitution yet. This was set up merely as a result of the 1990 election, which prolonged the military regime and the military dictatorship.

The 2010 election was held in which the military generals founded the civilian party, participated in the civilian government election and took power as a transitional government.

Compared to the 2010 election, the 2023 election has different circumstances, backgrounds and reasons.

The 2010 election was held under the control of the State Peace and Development Council led by U Than Shwe, by releasing the strict situation and legitimized the USDP government including retired military generals. The election that will be held in 2023 will be unlike ever before in the country, when there is no rule of law, when there are many villages and regions that cannot be governed by the military council, and when many armed organizations are emerging.

Regarding the 2023 election, there is a possibility that there will be differences of opinion between the ethnic parties in other states as well. It is still unclear how the 2023 election, which is referred to as the exit of the military council, will emerge, and it is necessary for the political parties on the ground to discuss and hold a view on it.