Ethnic Lisu Party to Run for Election in Multiple States

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Lisu National Development Party (LNDP) has announced it will run for election in November in Kachin and Shan states and Mandalay Region.

The party—known locally as the “cross-bow party” for its logo—put forward its first-round candidate list on July 25.

“We will run for 17 seats in Kachin State, two seats in Shan State, four seats in Mandalay [in Mogok Township] and two ethnic affairs ministerial posts in Shan and Kachin states,” LNDP chair Shwe Min told NMG. “We will run for seats in the House of representatives, House of Nationalities, the state parliament and ethnic affairs minister posts.”

In Kachin State’s Putao Township, the party is running for four seats, three seats in Hkawnglanhpu, two seats in Sawtlaw, three seats in Chipwi, and Kachin State’s ethnic affairs ministerial post, Shwe Min explained.

“We will also run for election in both Waingmaw and Tanai townships. We will announce the electoral candidate list again in the second round,” the party chair said.

Ethnic Lisu communities live largely in Putao, Myitkyina, Waingmaw, Chipwi and Sawtlaw townships in Kachin State, Mogok Township in Mandalay Region, and in Shan and Karenni states and Sagaing Region. The total population is estimated to be 500,000, the LNDP chair said.

In Shan State, the LNDP plans to run for a state parliamentary seat in Mong Mit Township and the Lisu ethnic affairs ministerial post for the state, Shwe Min added.

The LNDP chair said that while youth participation in the party has grown, the representation of women remains low. He named two women—Dr. Khin Saw Noi and Khin Mar Oo—as LNDP candidates in Mogok.

“Youth electoral candidates are 50 percent, if we calculate youth as under age 35,” Shwe Min told NMG. “We have only two women candidates at the moment. Two out of 23 candidates is just 10 percent. We are trying to increase the number of woman candidates.”

Shwe Min said that challenges surrounding the upcoming election—scheduled for November 8—include navigating the campaign during the restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and difficulties for the state’s electoral commission to collect voter information in areas of Waingmaw, Chipwi and Sawtlaw Townships due to “security concerns.”

Because of this, the LNDP could lose votes in those townships, Shwe Min said.

The LNDP contested the 2015 election in Kachin, Shan and Karenni states and Mandalay Region.

Because the Lisu population in Karenni State is small, Shwe Min said that it would be difficult for the LNDP to run for election there in 2020.