Anti-Fascist People'S Freedom League

   Established in August 1944 during the Japanese Occupation, by Aung San and Than Tun, and known to the British as the Anti-Fascist Organization, its founding charter outlined its goals as ridding the country of the "fascist Japanese" and winning independence. At the end of the war, it emerged as the most powerful political organization in Burma, successfully negotiating with the British to achieve independence and governing the country during the tumultuous period from 1948 to 1958. Both its popular appeal and its ultimate weakness derived from its structure; it was not a single party but a united front organization consisting of groups with diverse agendas, of which the Socialist Party and its affiliated Burma Trade Union Congress and All Burma Peasants' Organization were the most important. Other component groups included the Burma Muslim Congress, the Karen National Congress, the United Hill Peoples' Congress, the All-Burma Women's Freedom League, the Youth League, and the All Burma Teachers' organization. The People's Volunteer Organization (PVO) was the League's paramilitary unit, made up of veterans of the Patriotic Burmese Forces/Burma National Army. The Communist Party of Burma was expelled from the AFPFL in October 1946. The League won a decisive victory in the April 1947 elections to the Constituent Assembly, the interim legislature charged with drafting the Constitution of 1947, gaining 171 of 182 noncommunal seats contested. Aung San was president of the AFPFL until his assassination on July 19, 1947, when U Nu assumed the post and became independent Burma's first prime minister.
   In the 1951 general election, held over seven months because insurgencies made polling in some areas difficult, the AFPFL won 200 out of 239 seats contested. In the April 1956 general election, Burma's second, the AFPFL and its allies won 173 seats (the AFPFL alone won 155), still a solid majority, though a stronger opposition had emerged in the form of the National Unity Front. The League's lack of internal coherence created serious problems, especially as the Socialist Party under Ba Swe and Kyaw Nyein grew stronger and threatened to break away, leaving the AFPFL a powerless rump. Through their intolerance and dogmatism, the socialists made many enemies, especially among the ethnic minorities. The Auxiliary Union Military Police functioned as their private army. In June 1958, the League split into two rival factions, the "Clean AFPFL" led by U Nu and the "Stable AFPFL" under Ba Swe and Kyaw Nyein. Because the split threatened to make Burma ungovernable, U Nu requested that General Ne Win, who as commander in chief of the Tatmadaw had cultivated an image of responsible neutrality, establish a Caretaker Government. When general elections were held in February 1960, U Nu's faction, later renamed the Pyidaungsu Party, was returned to power, defeating the AFPFL-Stable.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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