Mon State — Two ethnic Mon political parties have agreed to merge ahead of the next general elections after years of resisting calls from many of their constituents to join forces.
The Mon National Party (MNP) and All Mon Regions Democracy Part (AMDP) have agreed to form a single party and even settled on a basic leadership structure, MNP Vice Chairman Nai Soe Myint told The Irrawaddy on Monday.
He said the new party would have a central committee of 100 members and a central executive committee of 44 members, with each constituent party to fill half the seats of each, and that the new party would run in the 2020 poll.
In a joint statement issued June 24, the two parties said their leaders would next meet with their members in their communities to discuss how to all work together to bring the merger about.
They have given themselves until July 21 to come up with a name for the new party before trying to register it with the Union Election Commission.
In the 2015 elections the two parties won a total of only 4 seats in the state legislature, where the National League for Democracy is in the majority.
Some ethnic Mon protested against the two parties after that election for not heeding their calls to merge and asked them again to do so as soon as possible. Their critics added to the pressure by mooting the possibility of forming a third, alternative Mon party.
Nai Tala Nyi, who leads a group that had called for a third party, said he was glad to hear that the MNP and AMDP had finally agreed to merge and that his group would meet with them soon to discuss the plan.
“We will negotiate how to become one party. We will all become one strong political force as one party. It will benefit the Mon,” he said.