Wa leader to form new political party


NAY PYI TAW — In the wake of a lacklustre performance in last year’s general election, the former general secretary of the Wa Democratic Party has told Frontier he will form a new political party to contest future polls.

U Saing Paung Nuk, who lost the seat of Shan-12 in the Amyotha Hluttaw last November, said he had already resigned his position in the WDP and an application to found the Wa Liberal Democratic Party was currently being evaluated by government officials.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 21st Century Panglong Conference, held in Nay Pyi Taw last week, he said the new body would vigorously support the demands of the United Wa State Army to form a new ethnic Wa state in the country’s northeast.

“I accept the demand for Wa state,” he told Frontier on Friday. “It is the policy of my new party. The Wa area has a geographical position, natural resources and sufficient population to warrant a separate state. Since colonial times and after independence, successive governments have not done enough for the development of Wa nationals,” he said.

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The UWSA staged a dramatic walkout on the second day of last week’s peace conference over what organisers said was a mistake over accreditation to the armed group’s delegation.

The text of a planned speech to be delivered Thursday by the delegation’s leader, U Kyaw Hla, was instead given to conference organisers. It reiterated the UWSA’s longstanding demand for a separate state to be carved out of majority Wa townships in eastern Shan State.

The Wa Democratic Party won one Amyotha seat and two seats in the Shan Hluttaw last year, halving their representation from 2010. Elections were cancelled shortly before the vote in a further three townships under majority control of the UWSA.

The UWSA has not issued public comment on plans to establish the new political party.

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