Ethnic Political Parties Suggest Alliance Merger

Wednesday, January 9, 2020

Leaders among Burma’s ethnic political parties have said that they will try to establish a broader alliance before the country’s general elections in 2020.

There are currently two alliances of ethnic political parties in Burma—the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) and the Nationalities Brotherhood Federation (NBF). Some members believe that if the two alliances merge, the new group could serve as a stronger representation of parties from Chin, Kachin, Karen, Karenni and Mon states.

The parties behind this push are the Kachin State People’s Party (KSPP), Karen National Democratic Party (KNDP), Kayah State Development Party (KSDP), Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD) and Mon Unity Party (MUP).

“Other political parties will respect us when we get at least 20 percent of seats in Parliament. They will recognize us. They will negotiate with us,” Nai Layi Tama, Joint Secretary-1 of the MUP, told NMG. “To get 20 percent ethnic representation in Parliament, we need a political alliance group for ethnic political parties,” he added.

According to KSPP vice chairperson Gumgrawng Awng Hkam, when it comes to ethnic political parties’ ability to tackle their communities’ difficulties, “it’s much better if we can work together.”

“We are trying for cooperation. We are trying to work together, especially the five merging ethnic political parties from five ethnic states have to work together,” he explained of why they are trying to engage with the UNA and NBF to combine.

The UNA has 15 member parties and the NBF has 22 member parties.

Other ethnic representatives, like chair of the CNLD Po Zo Zam, noted that there was no intention of establishing a third political alliance to exist in addition to UNA and NBF.