Karen political parties have agreed to form a single party for the purpose of establishing nationality states, according to U Mann Aung Pyi Soe, Vice-chairman of the Plone-Sawor Democratic Party (PSDP).
“We will unite all individual Karen parties. If we look at why the Karen parties lost in the 2015 elections, we see that the parties were separate. Because of that, it was difficult for the people to know how to vote for the right party. So, we decided to unify these five parties into one party,” said U Mann Aung Pyi Soe.
Of the contending ethnic Karen political parties, only one candidate from the Karen People’s Party (KPP) won a parliamentary seat in the 2015 elections, according to the Union Election Commission.
“The main reason our Karen parties agreed to unify is for the purpose of forming national states with the rights for equality and autonomy. We also agreed not to be under any [one] party’s power,” said U Mahn Kyaw Nyein, General Secretary of Karen National Party (KNP).
The ethnic Karen parties slated to join are the Karen State Democracy and Development Party (KSDDP), Karen Democratic Party (KDP), Karen National Party (KNP), and Plone-Sawor Democratic Party (PSDP) and Karen People’s Party (KPP).
U Mann Aung Pyi Soe added that six representatives would be selected from each of the five parties to form a 30-member committee that would work to establish nationality states with the fundamentals of equality and self-determination.
The five parties met in Rangoon on January 26 and agreed to merge within one year, according to a statement released the same day.