Ethnic political parties have described a recent National League for Democracy (NLD) statement about building a future federal democratic Union as “just words” that need to be put into practice.
The NLD released the statement on November 12 after winning the majority of seats in Burma’s general election, held on November 8. They said that they expected cooperation from ethnic parties and that they shared a vision of a “democratic federal” Burma; in response, ethnic parties have noted that in their own descriptions of a future system, the term “federal” is always the first adjective, emphasizing the importance of self-determination.
“These are just words. We need practice to implement it,” Duwa Gumgrawng Awng Hkam, who is deputy chairman of Kachin State People’s Party, told KNG of the statement. “We need to build a Union which grants coexistence among ethnic people. Ethnic people have suffered a lot.”
He noted that while the NLD had won the election, they had “many challenges ahead,” including finding a way to work with ethnic armed organizations, ethnic communities, and the military.
Sai Sung Lio, who is in charge of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy’s (SNLD) information department in Kachin State’sWaingmaw Township, said that the NLD’s statement appeared rushed and “sloppy” because it lacked a registration number.
“I believed in the NLD until 2010. At that time, the NLD stood for a genuine federal Union,” he told KNG. “After winning in the 2015 general election, some leaders from the NLD said that they wouldn’t make alliances with any other parties. After winning in the 2020 general election, they want to console ethnic political parties for losing… whether they cooperate with ethnic parties depends on them.”
Political analyst and election monitors Lasang Awng told KNG that the NLD’s weakness is their failure to show a clear party platform during the election campaign.
“According to my observations, the NLD doesn’t have concrete policies The NLD’s policies are very general. So we cannot be fully happy with their call,” Lasang Awng said in response to the NLD’s statement.
In addition to winning the majority of parliamentary seats throughout the country, the NLD won more than 70 percent of available seats in Kachin State.