The Karen Unity and Peace Committee (KUPC) convened a summit of Karen State political parties on August 29 to discuss the formation of a united political front.
Representatives from the Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party, the Kayin Democratic Party, the Kayin State Democracy and Development Party, and the Kayin Unity Democratic Party attended the meeting at the Thu Maydar Yama Gyar Tawya Monastery in Hpa-an township.
The parties have met regularly since reaching an agreement in principle to combine forces, following the November 2015 election, when they failed to net any seats and lost five Hluttaw posts previously held by Karen representatives. The Karen parties currently have no sitting MPs in either national assembly, and only one, from the Kayin People’s Party, in the state assembly.
“We asked the Kayin parties for an update on the plan to merge. They [the Kayin parties] said they still intend to pursue it and are working on it,” said Sayadaw U Sanda Wa Ya Ka, patron of the KUPC.
He added that the KUPC intended to discuss the meeting, which did not include the passage of a resolution, with officials from two absent Karen parties.
“No decisions have been set down yet. We only negotiated and the KUPC asked us questions. But, we won’t be able to carry out the merger yet,” said Mahn Aung Pyi Soe, vice chair of the Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party.
Representatives also confirmed that the parties have not officially discussed a name for their unified coalition, despite rumors that one has already been submitted to the Union Election Commission.