In an effort to unify all Karen political parties, the first three Karen State based parties came together to form the Karen National Democratic Party (KNDP). The Union Election Commission had approved the party’s registration.
Party officials said on February 25th that they got the go ahead from the UEC afer the three old parties were dissolved in order to form this new united party.
The UEC announced its approval on February 22nd stating that the newly founded KNDP party is now a registered political party with the registration number 108, according to Political Party Registration Act, section 9.
KNDP unites three Karen parties – Karen Democratic Party (KDP), Karen State Democracy and Development Party (KSDDP) and the United Karen National Democratic Party (UKNDP).
Saw Myit Htwe, vice-leader of the new party told Karen News that unification of the Karen parties is the will of Karen people.
“Karen people want our political parties to be united and to become one party. We have listened to our peoples’ voices. We cannot hold on to our singular principles anymore. We joined together because it is vital.”
Saw Myint Htwe said that they have to gather more than 1,000 party members, elect central working committee members, and submit the data to the UEC within three months starting from the party’s registration date – the February 22nd.
Only three parties out of four Karen Parties based in Karen State joined at this time. The Plone-Swor Democratic Party (PSDP) is the only Karen State based Karen party that has not yet joined. Although the PSDP couldn’t join as a party, some party members will resign and join KNDP, according to party officials who spoke to Karen News with condition of anonymity.
There have been frequent discussions and effort to unite Karen Parties under one banner and to end Karen parties competing against each other at elections.
Mahn Aung Pyae Soe, vice-chairperson of the PSDP said, “There is a promise that the Plone-Swor Democratic Party (PSDP) will not participate in the 2020 election in Karen State. We may or may not participate in other states as well.”
Since the united KNDP became an official party, the total of Karen parties in Burma is now four. They are the Karen National Democratic Party (KNDP), Plone-Swor Democratic Party (PSDP), the Yagon-based Kayin People’s Party (KPP), and the Ayewaddy delta-based Karen National Party (KNP).
There have been frequent discussions and efforts among the Karen political parties for unification since the November 2015 national election.