Alliance Calls for ‘United States’ of Burma

President Thein Sein meets with the 10 party leaders of the alliance in Naypyidaw in July. (PHOTO: Hmuu Zaw/facebook)

An alliance of 10 political parties, including five ethnic parties, plans to raise the issue of federalism in Parliament.

Their proposal includes a proposal for all 14 states or regions in Burma to be awarded equal rights and administration. The alliance said it will submit a draft outlining its proposal and will submit it to President Thein Sein as well as raising the issue for debate in both houses of parliament.

The parties involved were named as: All Mon Regions Democracy Party; National Democratic Front; Rakhine Nationalities Development Party; Shan Nationalities Development Party; Chin National Party; Democracy and Peace Party; Democratic Party (Myanmar); Phalon Sawaw Democratic Party; Union Democracy Party; and the Peace and Unity Party.

The 10 parties formed a unified proposal at a meeting in Rangoon on Wednesday, according to Thu Wai, the chairman of the Democratic Party (Myanmar).

“We want 14 states or regions with administrative power equally divided among them in accordance with a federal system,” he said. “We envisage a federal system similar to the United States,” said Thu Wai.

Saw Than Myint, a spokesperson for the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party, told The Irrawaddy that he is encouraged that so many ethnic Burman parties also agreed to support a genuine federal union.

He said that ethnic Burmans who refuse to accept the concept of federalism are remnants of the former military dictatorship under Gen Ne Win, which frequently stated in its propaganda that federalism was akin to separatism.

“It is encouraging to see that ethnic Burman parties now support the idea of federalism,” said Saw Than Myint.

Under its full and official name, Burma is now known as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Saw Than Myint said that despite Burma’s official name being based on a Union under the constitution of 2008, sovereignty is essentially controlled directly by a central government.

“We have decided to put our efforts into forming a genuine federal system in our country by 2015 or 2020,” he said.

Various ethnic leaders also expressed a desire to amend the 2008 Constitution in order to build a federal union. Several ethnic leaders within the alliance said they planned to meet with President Thein Sein to talk about their proposal, following a meeting with him in July.

Burma is currently divided into seven ethnic states and seven division or regions. However, the alliance proposes a federal union comprising 14 states.

The leaders of the alliance said that they will cooperate with Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), as Suu Kyi has also spoken out in favor of constitutional amendments.

Suu Kyi said this week that she would be willing to accept the role of president if the majority of people in Burma supported her. However, the constitution would need to be amended to allow such a circumstance, because under the current document, any Burmese national whose family member or members are foreign citizens or who hold foreign citizenship are barred from running for president or vice-president.

Suu Kyi married Michael Aris, a British scholar, in 1971 and gave birth to her eldest son, Alexander, the following year in London. Her younger son, Kim Aris, was born in 1977. Both of her sons have UK citizenship.

4 Responses to Alliance Calls for ‘United States’ of Burma

  1. This was also one of the ideas put forward by CRDB in 1988.

  2. United States of Burma is great not just because of the name United States of America. Instead of Monkey’s way to the Union of Myanmar, we need to find the name can be fit for our country. To me, Mandalay State or Sagaing State is fine. What is Division all about? Lets all territories be called States. And the Naga people deserve to have their own State. Sagaing State may not properly represent the Naga people. The government does not need to wait bloodshed first to have Naga State in Burma. 

  3. as a kachin…. i know for a fact that KIA went to  national constitutution assembly to propose the laws for kachins’ rights as they were promised in ceasefire aggreements…but sadly all proposals were ignored….even though kachin leaders patiently participated the assembly till the end….what a waste of time and insults to kachins…….then  again during 2010 election…..few kachin leaders who really care about kachins tried to form the party to participate in election….but they  were all denied…lies lies liessss….we kachins have enough of burmese’ lies…..burmese gov’t know that kachin leaders will no longer fall into trap of lies…that’s why they are unsuccessfully attacking to eliminate KIA….these ethnic parties are wasting time and energy for fedealism….wait….as i understand,  all these ethnic leaders are hand-picked by millitary for parliment…all these thein sein’s puppets are fake-voicing afterall…as a kachin i know that we were never under bama before british…and it was stupid of past kachin leaders to go along with aung san…well panglong is over now…..the only way to get our right, freedom and way of life that we enjoyed before british is to fight for it…go KIA.

  4. Mind boggling. The only thing I know about Kachin State is that the receptionist at Sampra hotel in 1997 was 6 foot talland beautiful.

    Be happy with USB if it comes to that.It is the quality of life that counts.

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