Ethnic Parties Respond Cautiously to NLD Statement

Network Media Group
Saturday, November 14, 2020

Ethnic parties cautiously accepted a pledge by the National League for Democracy (NLD) to build a federal union with the ethnic nationalities after the incumbent party was declared the winner of Burma’s general election in yet another landslide victory.

Gumgrawng Awng Hkam, vice-chair 2 for Kachin State People’s Party, said the NLD must follow through without delay, otherwise it will amount to nothing.

Salai Kye O Beik Htaung, general secretary-2 for Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD), said without “action” the statement that NLD sent to 48 ethnic parties on Thursday, November 12, isn’t enough. He said that many have called on the NLD to form a national unity government.

Mahn Aung Pyi Soe, chair of Karen National Democratic Party said the NLD claimed to support “national unity and national reconciliation” in the past. This time, “we’ll have to wait and see if it’s just talk,” he said.

During a press conference leading up to the recent race, NLD spokesperson Zaw Htay hinted at forming a government of national unity, Mann Aung Pyi Soe said. If the recent statement is a “trap to lure” us in, “then it’s all in vain,” he said.

The NLD pledged to form a government to unify the ethnic nationalities after being officially declared the winner of the election on Friday, November 13. The party won 368 out of 434 seats announced, while 42 remaining seats still need to be declared.

CNLD Secretary-General Salai Ceu Bik Thawng said because the NLD and the ethnic parties share a common goal they can work together to build a democratic federal union. “We have more in common than differences. Together there’s a lot we can achieve, but have a lot work ahead of us to end the military dictatorship, establish peace and transition to a democracy.”

Nai Layae Tama, general secretary-1 of Mon Unity Party (MUP), said until the NLD makes a substantial agreement with the ethnic parties, MUP had nothing to say about its statement.

During the 2015 race, most of the ethnic nationalities supported the NLD, but when the party was elected it ignored them, the ethnic parties told NMG.