Eastern Shan party will not contest by-elections

The Eastern Shan State Development Democratic Party (ESSDDP) has said that it will not contest the upcoming bi-elections, which are slated to be held on April 1 next year.

Sai Sam Tip Hsur, the vice chairman of the ESSDDP, which was formed shortly before the 2015 general election, told Shan Herald that his party had decided not to list candidates for the 2017 by-elections because of a breakdown in cooperation with its sister parties, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) and the Shan National Democratic Party (SNDP).

“I am sure we will not be able to win in eastern Shan State if we [three Shan parties] do not unite,” he said. “Both the SNLD and the SNDP will contest [the same constituencies]. I believe that if we do not cooperate, we will all lose.

“If we believe that our nationality is the priority, we must cooperate,” Sai Sam Tip Hsur emphasized. “No whether which party wins – whether it is the SNDP or the SNLD – the outcome is that we all [Shan nationals] win.”

He added: “I am sure that every Tai [Shan] loves his or her national identity. However, if we continue to hold prejudices against one another, we are going to lose.

“No one need beat us; we will lose the elections by ourselves.”

The three ethnic Shan-based parties lost every seat in eastern Shan State to the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the National League for Democracy (NLD) in the general election last year.

The SNDP, also known as the White Tiger Party, had contested 207 seats in 68 townships in Kachin State, Kayah State and Shan State, as well as Mandalay and Sagaing Divisions. However, it won only one State Assembly seat in Mong Pan Township. The SNLD, which won a convincing victory in Shan State in the 1990 elections, won a total of just 40 seats in last November’s elections.

Both SNDP and SNLD confirmed that they would contest all available seats in the by-election next year.

By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)