၂၀၁၅ ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲ Irrawaddy.org
Ethnic Issues

15 Ethnic Parties to Unite ahead of 2015 Elections

Fifteen of Burma’s ethnic political parties, many of which contested the 2010 elections, will form a single party in preparation for upcoming polls in 2015.


TAUNGGYI, Shan State — Fifteen of Burma’s ethnic political parties, many of which contested the 2010 elections, will form a single party in preparation for upcoming polls in 2015, according to sources from several of the allied parties.

At a meeting last week held in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State, representatives from the ethnic parties agreed to establish the Federal Union Party (FUP), as tentatively named by the participants.

The ethnic groups also discussed issues surrounding the formation of a genuine democratic federal union in Burma, as well as sections 17/1 and 17/2 of the Unlawful Association Act. The act was passed in 1908 to take action against any group or individual connected with insurgents. Section 17/1 is for persons involved with or supporting illegal groups, while Section 17/2 is for those who lead illegal organizations.

“We mainly discussed the FUP, which will be a clone for our 15 ethnic brotherhood parties,” Pu Zo Zam, the chairman of Chin National Party (CNP), told The Irrawaddy. “We will submit the outcomes of this meeting to the Parliament.”

The FUP will contest the country’s next general election, to be held in 2015, he added.

Pu Zo Zam said the ethnic parties acknowledged that their ability to win at the polls was limited by the electoral strength of the nation’s two biggest parties, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD). The formation of the FUP aims to better the 15 parties’ odds in regions where the ethnic political groups compete, he added.

Sai Boe Aung from the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) echoed the CNP chairman, saying the establishment of the FUP was intended to protect ethnic groups’ rights.

“Our discussion focused on the formation of FUP in order for ethnic people not to suffer if proportional representation is chosen as the practice for the 2015 election,” he said, adding that the FUP would contest the polls in all seven of Burma’s states as well as its seven divisions.

Khine Kaung San, an executive from the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), told The Irrawaddy that his party would reject proportional representation, arguing that Burma’s fledgling democracy was not mature enough for such a system, risking the disintegration of the union if a proportional approach to elections were used.

The two-day meeting was held at the SNDP’s main office in Taunggyi, with representatives from 15 ethnic parties, including the Kayan National Party (KNP); All Mon Region Democracy Party (AMRDP); Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP); Phalon Sawaw Democratic Party (PSDP); Chin National Party (CNP); Inn National Progressive Party (INPP); Wa Democratic Party (WDP); Pa-O National Organization (PNO); Taaung (Palaung) National Party (PNP); and the Wa National Unity Party (WNUP).