In an attempt to unify one of the more fractured political fields in the country, two Chin political parties have agreed to merge, they announced following a meeting in Yangon on June 15.
The Chin National Democratic Party (CNDP) and the Chin Progressive Party (CPP) will establish a working committee with a secretariat team to help ease the merging process, the parties said in a joint statement. They also said that they welcome other Chin political parties or Chin State-based parties to join them.
The CNDP, the CPP and the Chin League for Democracy (CLD) have been negotiating a potential merger for over a year, but only the first two have agreed to join forces.
Salai Ceu Bik Thawng, secretary of the CNDP, said the two parties will work together to join their policies and formulate new ones as necessary.
“This merger is not only a joining of the CNDP and the CPP, but is also about establishing a path for anyone who wants to join us. We will work step-by-step to reach the final goal of uniting [all Chin parties] into a single Chin party,” Salai Ceu Bik Thawng added.
The CLD’s chair, Ngai Sak welcomed the two parties’ decision to merge, but added that the CLD’s position is that it will form an alliance with all Chin parties together, rather than partnering one at a time. The CLD has proposed holding a Chin political congress in March 2018 to discuss merging all the Chin political parties into one, so as to avoid fracturing the votes in 2020.
“In their view, other parties are not needed yet and our three Chin parties should merge [first]. We [the CLD] want to merge systematically only after discussing the policies in detail to prevent us from splitting up like the ALD [Arakan League for Democracy] and the RNDP [Rakhine Nationalities Development Party] in Rakhine State,” he said.
The CPP and the CNDP were both established in 2010 and won seats in the general election held that year. Neither won seats in the 2015 general election.