- Myitkyina, Kachin State
The Kachin State Democracy Party was founded by Dr. Tu Ja, former vice president No. 2 of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). The former ex-rebel leader first tried to establish a party ahead of Burma’s 2010 general election but saw the election commission of the time reject his application to form the Kachin State Progressive Party.
There are three other regional parties vying for the ethnic Kachin vote, as well as several other parties whose primary target on the campaign trail will be some of the state’s other ethnic minorities, such as the Lisu or Tai-Leng, also known as “Red Shan.”
In its state media broadcast laying out the party platform on Sept. 27, KSDP spokesman Nan Zein Lu Ang highlighted the fight against illicit narcotics as among the party’s priorities in northern Burma, where drug abuse remains a major problem. Perhaps the most pressing issue affecting the constituents the KSDP seeks to represent is the ongoing war between the KIO and the central government, which has displaced more than 100,000 civilians since fighting began in 2011. However, the party offered only vague pro-peace platitudes in its state media broadcast.
“We will try to the best of our ability to achieve lasting peace and spur development and prosperity in Kachin State, and build the state to a strong pillar of the Union,” Nan Zein Lu Ang said.
* States and divisions in red indicate that the party is fielding candidates at the Union or regional level in that jurisdiction.
A former vice president of the Kachin Independence Organization, Tu Ja made two unsuccessful attempts to register a Kachin political party before finally receiving the needed Union Election Commission approval in October 2013.