Party Mergers in Myanmar: A New Development
- About the Book
Party mergers are a new development in Myanmar politics. Given that such mergers often assist the consolidation of new democratic regimes, some broader system-wide effects may also occur. Myanmar’s ethnic parties consistently choose merger strategies over other forms of pre-electoral coalition. This highlights a transition from a focus on questions of authoritarianism and democracy to one on the creation of a federal system of government with a stronger cleavage between competing Bamar and ethnic nationalisms.
Despite cooperation among political parties outside the electoral process, pre-electoral coalitions such as constituency-sharing or campaigning for allies have generally not been successful. Five of the six mergers among ethnic parties attempted prior to the 2015 general election failed. However, between 2017 and 2019, five mergers involving parties representing the Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin or Karen, and Mon ethnicities, achieved success.
The successful mergers were motivated not only by desires for electoral success in 2020 but also by shared federal aims, which involve ethnic parties in Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin or Karen, and Mon states forming a strong local party in their respective regions to strive for ethnic equality and self-determination.
- About the Author(s)
Su Mon Thant, AuthorSu Mon Thant holds a master’s degree from Keele University. She lives in Yangon where she conducts research on democracy in Myanmar.