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KIO and NMSP rule out election participation

Jan 21, 2009 (DVB), The Kachin Independence Organisation and the New Mon State Party have rejected the idea of forming political parties to contest the 2010 election, according to spokespeople for the groups.

The KIO's deputy foreign affairs coordinator, James Lum Dau, said any KIO members wishing to stand for election would have to leave the organisation first.

"The KIO will not form a political party," he said.

"If a member of KIO wants to stand in the election, he or she will have to quit the organisation first and then participate as a civilian," he went on.

"But as far as voting goes, they don’t necessarily have to quit, they can still do that as KIO members."

There have been rumours that KIO vice chairperson Dr Tuja will quit the group and stand as for election as an independent candidate, but the KIO has not yet responded to these claims.

James Lum Dau said that a peaceful nation should only have one armed organisation, and said the KIO would lay down its arms if a new government could bring peace to the country.

"Now the government is going to hold elections based on their constitution," James Lum Dau said.

"Those who win the election will become the government of our country and if we are convinced the new government can prove their qualifications and guarantee security for the people, then we will put down our arms," he said.

"We are only doing what we are doing now for the sake of our people."

Naing Aung Ma Ngae, a spokesperson for the New Mon State Party, spoke to DVB at the close of the group's seven-day congress.

"Regarding the 2010 elections, I think it is unlikely that we will participate in it if there is no revision of the 2008 constitution," he said.

Naing Aung Ma Ngae also outlined the five political objectives agreed on during the congress, namely to unite all Mon organisations and all the ethnic nationalities of Burma, and to work to bring about dialogue, a multi-party system and a federal union of Burma.

The KIO signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese government in 1994, while the NMSP signed an accord in 1995.

Reporting by Aye Nai