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Explainer: The Karenni Interim Executive Council leadership

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Resistance groups established the Karenni Interim Executive Council (IEC) on June 12. It will act as a provisional government and provide administration to large swathes of Karenni State that resistance forces have seized control of since the 2021 military coup. It was created under the leadership of the Karenni State Consultative Council (KSCC). The KSCC itself was established on April 9, 2021. It consists of armed groups, political party members, legislative committees, youth, women and civil society organizations. Its four stated goals are the abolition of the 2008 constitution, elimination of all forms of tyranny, a Karenni state constitution, and building a federal democratic union in Burma.

The KSCC belongs to the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC), an advisory body which published the Federal Democratic Charter and established the National Unity Government (NUG) in 2021 to create the framework for a federal democratic government in Burma. The IEC states that it will “make Karenni State a stable, peaceful and developed federal unit and ensure that the administrative power over Karenni State is in the hands of its people.” Six officials were elected to lead the interim government and at least 12 state affairs departments will be established to oversee the governance of Karenni State. The leadership includes civil society activists and major officials of Karenni armed groups. Khu Oo Reh was elected as IEC chairperson. He previously served as the chairperson of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), a prominent Ethnic Resistance Organization (ERO) operating in Karenni State. Khu Oo Reh also served as the general secretary of the United Nationalities Federal Council, an alliance of EROs which includes the KNPP.

A map of Karenni (Kayah) State in Burma (Credit: DVB)

The chairperson of the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) Khun Bedu was selected as IEC vice chairperson. He also serves as the NUG Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation. Khun Bedu is the former chairperson of the Kayan National Party and a leader of the activist Kayan New Generation Youth which led protests against the previous military regime. The general secretary of the nascent interim government will be Khu Plue Reh, a Karenni State peace process expert. Zue Padonmar was elected as the IEC first secretary. She was previously the second Joint General Secretary of the Burmese Women’s Union.

Banya Khung Aung, the IEC second secretary, is an activist, a former refugee, and director of the Karenni Human Rights Group (KHRG). He also served as a spokesperson for the Humanitarian Committee of the KSCC. Maw Pyoe Myar will become IEC treasurer. The establishment of the IEC was met with great fanfare among resistance groups in Burma. It has received congratulatory messages from the NUG, the Three Brotherhood Alliance, and various People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) nationwide. The IEC claimed that it will coordinate with resistance groups inside and outside of Karenni State, including the NUCC and the NUG. It vowed that it will abolish itself once a “new Karenni State Government with self-determination is formed” after military dictatorship is ended in Burma.

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