Thursday, October 14, 2010

DPP leaves alliance after NDF takes crony funds

Thursday, 14 October 2010 22:34 Ko Wild

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Democracy and Peace Party held an emergency meeting yesterday and decided to withdraw from an alliance that included the National Democratic Force party after the latter accepted funds from a controversial donor.

The party (DPP) withdrew from the alliance that includes the Chin National Party (CNP), the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), the Union Democratic Party (UDP) and the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) after the NDF took a donation from Myanmar Fisheries Federation vice-chairman Hla Maung Shwe.

The RNDP also said that under these confusing circumstances, it would “temporarily suspend” co-operation with the alliance, which had formed on October 2.

According to DPP policy, accepting donations from businessmen was allowed but Hla Maung Shwe was a junta appointee so the party was forced to withdraw from the bloc so as to maintain the trust of voters, party chairman Aung Than told Mizzima.

“The government formed their Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) but he didn’t give his support to this party, offering it instead to the NDF. This is unnatural. We see this donation as coming with strings attached. And then we decided not to co-operate with them [the bloc],” Aung Than said.

The row ignited after this month’s issue of Myanmar Post carried a report, quoting Hla Maung Shwe, that he had given financial support to parties of ethnic groups such as the Shan, Karen, Chin and Arakanese.

DPP issued a statement seeking an explanation from the NDF on October 6. The latter party held a meeting yesterday to brief the alliance on the matter, claiming that the support was accepted individually and not by the party.

Aung Than and UDP chairman Thein Htay said NDF senior party member Dr. Than Nyein had explained to them he had received an apology letter from Hla Maung Shwe over the matter. But the DPP said it had failed to receive such a letter.

RNDP chairman Dr. Aye Maung said however that his party had received a letter dated October 11 and signed by Hla Maung Shwe. He also told Mizzima that his party had refused to accept any support from the businessman.

“We shall also release a letter shortly saying we have no connection with this case and we shall suspend our relations with these four parties until we have all the facts about this financial scandal,” he said.

Thein Htay, the facilitator in forming the alliance, said his party was also clear of links to Hla Maung Shwe.

“Our youths don’t want an administrative system that marginalises and ill-treats the people anymore. I don’t want to see the forces that are determined to work for the people, blaming and condemning each other and making the people confused. It can benefit opposing forces and then they [voters] won’t care for us. I want some reconciliatory measures among us,” he told Mizzima.

Other political groupings have joined forces in the run-up to the national elections on November 7. Before this six-party alliance was formed, the Democratic Party (Myanmar) (DPM) and eight individual candidates agreed to co-operate. Aung Than believed however that this alliance was had not yet “consolidated”.

“They contacted each other as the poll date was drawing very close but co-operation among them has become impossible. In nominating and fielding candidates in each constituency, they worked separately and overlapped in some places,” he said.

“It’s quite difficult to assemble [any kind of coalitions] at this time. You can see our problem as an example”, he added.

Despite such attempts to form alliances, these parties were not true alliance parties, the former chairman of the dissolved Myanmar Democracy Congress party, Kaung Myint Htut, said. “The parties contesting in same constituencies can’t be called allied democratic forces,” he said.

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