The Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) and Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) have formalised an agreement to merge under the name Rakhine National Party.
The deal was signed at Signature restaurant in Yangon in the early hours of June 17. It built on an agreement to abolish both groups and form a new party that was reached at a meeting held two days earlier at the Rakhine Thahaya Association.
ALD chairman U Aye Thar Aung said most Rakhine people wanted the two groups to join forces and it was not related to concerns over electoral competition.
“We didn't merge because of the upcoming by-elections. Since we formed our policy has been to work for national reconciliation. Everyone we have met has urged us to merge so we fulfilled the desire of the people," U Aye Thar Aung said.
Following the June 15 meeting at the Rakhine Thahaya Association in Yangon, the two parties released a statement saying preparations to form the new organisation would be completed by the end of August.
The party will have 30 permanent central executive committee members, with 15 members from both the RNDP and ALD.
RNDP chairman Dr Aye Maung told The Myanmar Times that he would resign on September 1 because he had fulfilled his desire to merge the two groups.
He said the single party would be better able to compete against rivals from the National League for Democracy and Union Solidarity and Development Party.
“It is much better because that our two parties have become one," he said.
The ALD was formed in 1989 and won 11 seats in the 1990 election. It was deregistered and did not compete in 2010 but re-registered in April 2012.
“Since we registered again in April, our main policy has been to amend the 2008 constitution ... to get federalism and internal peace," said U Aye Thar Aung.