Nine political parties, the core of whom are known informally in Burma as the “Third Force”, on Wednesday announced that they had agreed to form an alliance.
The nine parties – National Democratic Force (NDF), Democratic Party-Myanmar (DPM), Democracy and Peace Party, Unity and Peace Party, Union Democracy Party, Karen People’s Party, Peace and Diversity Party, Chin Progressive Party and the United Democracy – are calling themselves the Federal Democratic Alliance (FDA), and said they see their role as promoting the agendas of the smaller parties to the Burmese public.
The name “Third Force” was coined during the general election of 2010 when NDF, DPM and other ethnic parties and civic organisations touted themselves as an alternative to the two main parties: the Union Solidarity and Development Party and Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.
Speaking to DVB, NDF leader Khin Maung Swe, said, “Initially, 12 parties were invited to the meeting; nine attended. We reached an agreement upon forming the Federal Democratic Alliance and stated our policies, but we still need to discuss the framework of the alliance’s framework, and we have set a date of 7 January to discuss that.
“We decided to form an alliance because unity is one of the main components lacking among the democratic forces – there was previously no alliance, network or a front to implement unity or to allow democratic parties to cooperate – and we wanted to fill this gap and push for this type of progression in Burmese politics,” he said. “Moreover, we aim to promote ethnic nationalism and unite all political forces under the umbrella of nationalism when establishing a federal union.”
Asked about the difference between this alliance and a previous coalition of 10 parties known as the Democratic Friends, Khin Maung Swe said, “The FDA is somewhat more progressive and more capable of standing as a driving political force made up of small parties. We are promoting a multi-party democracy system with established groundwork for cooperation in public politics, parliamentary politics and party politics, and we aim to take up a role in the peace-building effort.”