Karen parties aim to merge by 2015

Karen parties aim to merge by 2015

Four ethnic Karen-based political parties have concluded a two-day meeting aimed at merging the four parties into one. Although no definitive agreement was reached, talks will continue with the aim of merging ahead of the next general election in 2015, according to the deputy-chairman of the Kayin People’s Party.

Representatives of the Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party, the Kayin People’s Party, the Kayin State Democracy and Development Party, and the Kayin Democratic Party—all of which contested the 2010 general election—met in Hpa-an on 14-15 September.

Speaking to DVB after the meeting, Saw Say Wah, deputy-chairman of the Kayin People’s Party, said that the party delegates spoke about facilitating future elections throughout Karen state and establishing rights and conditions for all Karen people over 18 to vote.

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“Our priority is to merge the parties but it won’t be possible in the immediate term,” he said. “We used the meeting as an opportunity to discuss other topics of interest to the Karen people.”

At the 2010 elections, polls were cancelled—primarily due to security fears—at more than 150 villages in Karen state: at Myawaddy, Kawkareik, Kya Inn Seik Gyi, Hpa-an, Hlaingbwe, Hpapun and Thandaung townships.

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