Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), the party that won in the 1990 elections state-wide and emerged as second largest winning party nationwide, was yesterday informed by the Union Election Commission (UEC) its application for re-registration had been approved, according to SNLD sources.
The approval came nearly two months after the SNLD submitted its application on 16 March.
The party’s leaders Hkun Tun Oo, 69, and Sai Nyunt Lwin, 59, were still on their way back from Shan State capital Taunggyi, where they had been visiting since 1 May, when the news came. “The next step is to register the party within 30 days following the approval,” said party spokesman Sai Lake. “We don’t think there should be any problem.”
The problem, however, appears not with the registration but with the existence of another Shan party: Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP), led by former SNLD members, who had set it up in 2010 to contest the general elections held late in the year.
It emerged as the third largest winning party with 57 seats after the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and National Unity Party (NUP). It has been given two ministries in the Shan State Government, one of which, the Ministry of Mines, is held by Sai Ai Pao, the SNDP chairman.
“We want our leaders to find a way to come to terms with each other,” one of the SNDP elected representatives told SHAN. “Otherwise, our people are going to face the dilemma of which party to choose in the 2015 elections.”
The SNLD leadership had boycotted the elections saying their top leaders Hkun Tun Oo, Sai Nyunt Lwin and others were still in prison since 2005.
The difference between the two parties so far are unclear, as both advocate a federal democracy although the SNDP has refused to use the word “federalism” openly, as it is regarded as a taboo by the ruling military-led USDP.