Merger planned for three Chin political parties

By NYAN HLAING LYNN | FRONTIER

NAY PYI TAW — The Chin National Party and Chin Progressive Party have agreed to merge ahead of the next national elections, according to a joint statement issued on Tuesday.

The Chin League for Democracy, has also provisionally agreed to take part in the merger, pending approval of the deal by the party’s membership.

CNP secretary Salai Myo Chit said the merger was the first step in challenging the National League for Democracy’s electoral dominance in Chin State.

“I think we can challenge any party after we combine all of our Chin parties,” he said. “Chin voters are also demanding this. They want to vote for Chin parties, but they have urged us to be united.”

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The NLD won 12 of the state assembly’s 18 elected seats in the 2015 general election, along with all but five of the state’s 21 union seats. The Zomi Congress for Democracy, another ethnic political party, won four union and two state seats in the same poll.

None of the three parties currently considering a merger won a single seat in the last election.

Ethnic political party mergers have been a subject of protracted discussion across Myanmar for several years, but merger proposals between parties that contested the 1990 elections and those that contested the 2010 poll have so far met with limited success.

The Arakan National Party, the only successful ethnic party merger, won most constituencies in Rakhine State in the 2015 election. The party has since split over claims members of the former Rakhine Nationalities Development Party had maneuvered to sideline leaders of the Arakan League for Democracy since groups merged in 2014.

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