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12 ethnic parties agree to meet NLD for talks on federal union 

The National League for Democracy (NLD) says it has received a dozen responses to a letter it sent to ethnic parties last month inviting them to help establish a democratic federal union.

Magwe region chief minister Dr Aung Moe Nyo, who is one of the leaders of a new NLD committee set up to meet with the ethnic parties, told Myanmar Now the first meeting would take place next month.

“We’ll start meeting the ethnic parties in January,” he said, adding that the committee would inform NLD vice-chair 2 Dr Zaw Myint Maung about the plan and await his instructions.

The new committee, which will also be led by Karen state chief minister Nan Khin Htwe Myint and central executive committee (CEC) member Nhtung Hka Sam, was established during the party’s first CEC meeting after last month’s election.

Just days after the ruling party emerged as the clear winner of the election in another landslide victory, it sent a letter to 48 ethnic parties promising to form a “national unity government” and work toward establishing a democratic federal union.

Among the parties that have accepted the invitation to meet with the NLD are the Kachin State People’s Party (KSPP), the Lisu National Development Party (LNDP), the Kayan New Land Party (KNLP), and the United Wa State Party (UWSP).

Dr Aung Moe Nyo said no decisions would be made during the meetings, which would serve only to give ethnic parties a chance to share their opinions with the NLD.

“We’ll meet with parties that won in their states and ask them about their views and beliefs,” he said. “We’ll ask them what role they want in the state government, whether they want to be speaker or deputy speaker, or minister.”

This information would then be reported to the NLD’s CEC for consideration, he added.

The parties planning to take part in the meetings said they were also interested in hearing what the NLD had to say about the formation of a national unity government and other subjects.

“We’ll discuss a number of topics in turn. One thing we have to discuss is the formation of a unity government. We need to know what their approach will be to forming such a government,” said KNPP chair Dr Manam Tu Ja.

Aung Than Hla, the chair of the Arakan National Party (ANP), said he welcomed the NLD’s open letter, but wanted to know more about how the party planned to proceed.

“When we got the letter, there were no details about the process,” he said. “Now that they’ve formed a committee, the discussion will depend on their process.”

The ANP, which won the most seats in Rakhine state, was not among the parties that have agreed to meet with the NLD. 

Other holdouts include the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) and the Mon Unity Party (MUP).

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