15 Myanmar ethnic parties agree to form union

Yangon, June 12 (IANS) Fifteen Myanmar ethnic parties have agreed to unify to form the Federal Union Party (FUP), Xinhua reported Wednesday citing the local Union Daily newspaper.

The 15 ethnic parties include those from such minorities as Shan, Chin, Rakhine, Mon, Kayan, Inn and Pa-O.

The decision was taken at a conference in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan state.

The formation of the unified party is made in preparation for the 2015 general election to be able to compete with some strong parties and to defend themselves against possible practice of the system of proportional representation (PR) in the parliament, the daily cited conference sources as saying.

After the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the National Unity Party (NUP) won the majority of the parliamentary seats in the November 2010 multi-party general election, three ethnic parties – Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP), Rakhoine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) and All Mon Regions Democracy Party mainly occupied a minor number of the rest of the seats.

In the April 2012 by-elections, where the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) swept almost all the open parliamentary seats, the ethnic party SNDP, also popularly known as the White Tiger Party, won one seat in the Upper House along with ruling USDP.

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