Ethnic Political Parties Look Toward Forming Coalition Govt

Friday, October 30, 2020

According to members of ethnic political parties, the November 8 general election could be a turning point in Burmese politics.

“All ethnic groups need unity. I believe that if ethnic political parties could form a coalition government, we could defeat the military dictatorship and one-party domination,” Sai Sung Lio, of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), told NMG.

He is running for election in Kachin State to represent Waingmaw Township. Sai Sung Lio’s party has 130 candidates vying for parliamentary seats throughout Shan State and in 12 constituencies in four Kachin State townships.

He went on to criticize the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) government, which won a majority of seats in the last general election in 2015, as highly centralized.

“Our country needs a coalition government. If one party wins all the time, there will be one-party domination. Our country is going to build a federal Union, so the government needs to listen to the voices of the multiethnic people,” Sai Sung Lio told NMG.

Ethnic state-based political parties have agreed to form such a coalition government if they collectively win a majority of seats in the upcoming election.

Gumgrawng Awng Hkam, Vice Chairperson 2 of the Kachin State People’s Party (KSPP), told NMG that the next government must recognize key ethnic rights and aspirations.

“We are ready to work with other political parties if they accept self-determination rights, building a federal Union, and re-drawing up the Constitution,” he said.

According to Burma’s military-drafted 2008 Constitution, if a party does not win more than 50 percent of legislative seats, they cannot form a government, leading ethnic parties to speculate that a coalition government might be necessary after 2020.

One such alliance is between the KSPP, Kayah State Democratic Party, Karen National Democratic Party, Chin National League for Democracy and the Mon Unity Party.