The Karen community’s in the Yangon and Irrawaddy divisions are to form a new political party, known as the Karen National Party (KNP). Initial plans to establish the party were put in place in 2013.
Karen representatives met this week at Ta-Kwun-Dine village, Kyauk-Kone Township in the Irrawaddy division. The meeting was to form an executive committee of 14 members from both the Irrawaddy and Yangon divisions.
Representatives from Pan-Ta-Naw, Myaung-Myat, Kyaung-Kone, Nyaung-Done, Wah-Keh-Ma townships attended the meeting alongside with as many as 100 Karen observers.
Mahn Kyaw Nyein, a meeting organizer said in an interview with Karen News.
“The party patrons will be Mahn Thein Shwe and Mahn Shee Sho Tun. Two candidates from each township have been selected to be on the party’s executive committee.”
The KNP will design a party flag and logo and will meet again in March.
Mahn Min Ye Htwey, one of the meetings organizers said that the KNP’s objectives were to “protect the equal treatment of Karen Nationals, push for self-determination, cooperate with other ethnic group and protect the rights of the Karen people.”
Mahn Aung Pyi Soe, vice chairperson of Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party (PSDP), a Karen political party, welcomed the formation of a new, Karen political party and potential rival.
“Everyone should have the freedom of their own political views. There are no plans to protest or to obstruct them. They can work for Karen State as much as they can.”
Currently, there are four Karen political parties – the Karen State Democracy and Development Party (KSDDP), the Karen Democratic Party (KDP), the Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party (PSDP) and the Karen People Party (KPP) based in Yangon division.