Salai Kyaw Moe Tun — An interim committee tasked with the goal of creating cooperation among ethnic Chin parties was formed last month during a meeting of Chin political parties. According to U Salai Aung Min Hlaing from the Asho Chin National Party the committee's formation was a major breakthrough.
“This meeting was the fourth meeting of the Chin family political parties. This [interim] committee has been organized with the aim to review the results of the 2015 Multi-party Democracy General Election and find out how the Chin political parties will work together over the next five years for the common interests of the Chin people,” said U Salai Aung Min Hlaing, who has also been elected as the secretary of the interim committee.
Although the meeting ended without the delegates reaching an final decision on the cooperation of Chin parties some common ground was found.
“The reason why this committee has been formed is that when we look at the poll results in which the NLD won, there are many places where we could have won against the NLD if we add [all the ballots] received by the Chin parties. This shows that the NLD has won due to differences amongst the Chin parties. Now, it’s not easy to go with a common agreement. The Chin political parties have agreed to cooperate as much as they can. Even if we cooperate, we want to cooperate after drafting the framework because we are trying to draft it to prevent a single party from overpowering and have everyone cooperate within the framework,” said Salai Aung Lain from the Chin League for Democracy (CLD).
Thirteen Chin political parties met three times before the General Election and have signed an agreement to run in the election after divvying up their constituencies. But this cooperation was only partially successful. However, six Chin parties issued a letter on September 26, claiming that the CLD had breached the agreement.
“If the Chin parties hold another meeting, they must discuss the merging issue without failure. They said they need to draft the framework. What this means is that the Chin parties will try for a systematic merging. Merging doesn’t mean a single party. It can be a coalition as well as an alliance. It is also possible for them to reduce [the number of Chin political parties] to two. This depends on how they will cooperate. Merging does not depend on becoming a single party. As if it is a coalition, no parties need to be removed and each party will function with its own policy,” said Salai Issac Khan.
Although two Chin parties, the Chin Progressive Party and the Chin National Party (now the Chin National Democratic Party), discussed merging in 2013, they ultimately did not. The Chin League for Democracy emerged shortly later.
The first meeting of the Chin political parties was held in March, followed by a second meeting in May, a third meeting was held in July and the fourth meeting on December 17. A fifth meeting will be held this month.