Chin Political Parties Merge

By Zue Zue 19 June 2017

YANGON — Two political parties in Chin State—the Chin National Democratic Party (CNDP) and the Chin Progressive Party (CPP)—agreed to merge last Thursday, almost five years after their first attempts to do so.

“Only if we merge, can we represent the desires of the people and our people can rely on us,” said general secretary of the CNDP Salai Ceu Bik Thawng, who attended the meeting of executive committee members held on Thursday in Yangon, adding they had established a working committee with three persons from each party to conduct the merger.

“We aim to win every seat in Chin State in the 2020 general election,” he said, after the National League for Democracy largely defeated the Chin parties in the 2015 general election.

CNDP was renamed from the Chin National Party (CNP) in February 2014. Both the CNP and the CPP were formed in 2010 before the 2010 general election and won a number of seats. The two parties have attempted to merge since early 2012.

A joint statement from the CNDP and the CPP said members from the CNDP, the CPP and the Chin League for Democracy (CLD) in Falam, Hakha, Kanpetlet, Matupi, Paletwa, Tedim, and Thantlang townships in Shan State and Kale and Tamu townships in Sagaing Division expressed their desire to merge, though the CLD had not yet reached an agreement to do so.

Chin politicians plan to prepare their new party’s registration this month and aim to finalize the merger, including at township level, before July.

CLD had said in a statement released on June 5 an alliance should be first formed to build mutual trust and to collaborate on policies before holding a conference with representatives from all ethnic Chin parties in March 2018 in order to officially merge.

Ngai Sak, chairman of the CLD, told The Irrawaddy last week the party stood by the statement, while welcoming news of the merger of the CNDP and CPP.

CNDP said it expects other parties and individuals will join soon, when they are ready.

“We all have desire to collaborate, thus, I am sure we could all merge before 2020,” Salai Ceu Bik Thawng said. “We understand [CLD]’s current position that they are not yet ready for this and we respect their decision.”