A new Mon party under the name the Mon National Representative Party will soon register with the Union Election Commission (UEC), according to the party organizing committee.
In preparation to secure votes in the upcoming 2020 election, Mon politicians, monks, legal experts, civil society groups, youth and women’s rights activists have come together to try to form a strong party.
Participants at the second Mon Political Conference held from May 12-14 in the Mon State capital Moulmein shared their support for the new party.
Since their first conference in January, stakeholders have drafted a comprehensive party constitution and invited the three existing Mon parties – the Mon National Party (MNP), the All Mon Region Democracy Party (AMDP) and the Women’s Party (Mon) – to join them.
Mi Sandar Nan, the spokesperson of the party organizing committee, said the committee “would submit the registration of the Mon National Representative Party to the UEC after a meeting between organizers in next two weeks.”
So far, the party leaders, chairman or secretary have not been appointed, she said, adding that the 21-member committee would need to discuss leadership further.
Nai Hong Sar, the vice chairman of the New Mon State Party (NMSP), who joined the conference this week, said: “Mon political parties should not be split while Myanmar does not have self-determination or genuine federalism.”
The party organizing committee has a 27-member advisory board to which the NMSP – a recent signatory to the nationwide ceasefire agreement – is a member.
The NMPS will remain in its role as a Mon ethnic armed organization and not engage in political activities at this point, said Mi Sandar Nan, adding that the armed group has shared its recommendations regarding the new party though.
“We have to unite now because if not, we will lose votes,” Nai Hong Sar said. “Some say it’s better to have more parties in a multi-party system, but it doesn’t matter in the current situation. Once Mon representatives take political leadership and can lead the Mon State government, it will be okay to have numerous Mon political parties.”
“Since 2012, we tried to help two parties – AMDP and MNP – to merge, but they did not. Because of that, we did not do well in the 2015 general election,” said U Viara Vansa, a prominent monk who is the chair of the Mon Political Conference.
The monk told The Irrawaddy, “We then tried again for them to merge in 2016 and they still did not. Therefore, the public warned them to come together within a specific timeframe and stated that if they did not, a new party would be formed to truly represent all Mon people. So we have come to this decision.”
Despite these efforts, the existing Mon political parties have not participated in the two Mon Political Conferences held to date.
Nyan Soe Win contributed to this report from Moulmein.