Speculation about merger between two Chin political parties
30 November 2013: There has been widespread speculation that the Chin National Party (CNP) and the Chin Progressive Party (CPP) might be merging into a single political party.
New announcement came out following a meeting held in Hakha, Chin State by members of the two political parties on 15 November 2013 agreeing on the formation of a new party.
Local media reports indicated that the meeting attended by 45 in total was only between some CPP members who participated on an individual basis and CNP leaders.
Lal Mawng Cung MP, from CNP, said that the CPP members included Pawl Lian Luai MP, Ki Thang Lon MP, Nan Saih MP, Nah Thang MP, Vice Chairman of Central Executive Committee (CEC) Hlung Ce, Secretary-I Dai Thung and other CEC as well as executive committee members.
However, No Than Kap, CPP President, said: “I really don’t know what went on there in Hakha during the conference. No full report from responsible persons has come to CEC and me.”
Last Monday, four MPs from CPP stated in their letter that they unanimously agreed to the merger between the two parties and attended the Hakha meeting of their own accord.
They added that this was not a decision made by the Central Executive Committee of CPP and that they would continue to get involved in the merging process as they welcomed any members willing to join.
In an interview conducted on Monday by the Lailun Media, Pu No Than Kap confirmed that CPP was not informed of the meeting in Hakha and that it didn’t send its members to it.
He also said that Dai Thung had been expelled from CPP for ‘creating this kind of problem and defaming the party’s reputation’ according to the decision made on 25 November 2013 by CEC.
He added that other CEC members would be fired or given a warning depending on the reports they presented to the party regarding the meeting’s agreement.
When asked about the four MPs, the party’s President said that they were waiting for accurate information from Pawl Lian Luai, who said the 7-point agreement was signed only by Salai Ceu Bik Thawng, CNP General Secretary, and Dai Thung, CPP Secretary-I.
Meetings, merger process and delay
Leaders and members of the two Chin parties have been holding meetings in attempts to find ways for merging into a single political entity since early 2012.
In April 2013, a meeting in Rangoon attended by CEC members of both parties agreed to be united under one political body of CNPP (Chin National Progressive Party) and to make a new implementation committee comprising 5 representatives from each side.
According to media reports, they were not able to subsequently implement the agreement because of the new requirements set by Burma’s Election Commission.
No Than Kap said: “In order to merge, the law states that two parties have to dissolve first and apply for a new party. This contradicts the agreement we [CPP and CNP] have had. That is to continue to use the CPP registration number for the new party that we plan to form, namely CNPP.”
While the required documents were being prepared for submission in July this year, 4 CPP members left the implementation committee on the grounds that CNP leaked the contents of the agreement to the press.
In their resignation letter on 22 May 2013, they stated that CNP’s secretary had breached the confidentiality agreement by publishing in the Chin World Journal, and that CNP could not, therefore, be trusted any longer.
Denying the allegations, Salai Ceu Bik Thawng said in his letter on 2 June that CNP didn’t disclose any information from the agreement to the media and that both sides hadn’t even discussed, let alone made any decisions regarding the confidentiality agreement.
He added that the accusation was unfounded and could be assumed to be a pretext for finding faults with CNP for no reason, and that the party was not responsible for the publication and would not, therefore, take any action at all.
When asked about the progress on the amalgamation, No Than Kap said that they were in the process of merging and were waiting for a reply from CNP regarding their last letter.
According to the Chinland Post, CPP sent a letter to CNP in October saying that the merger would be possible only if CPP took the chairmanship of the new party both sides had agreed to form.
Salai Ceu Bik Thawng said that the merger agreement previously reached between the two parties did not include a provision indicating which of them would assume the chairmanship.
To this, No Than Kap said: “The last letter sent to CNP with regard to chairmanship was not the decision made by CPP CEC but written and sent by Secretary-I Dai Thung. If it had been the decision of CPP CEC, the CPP President’s signature would have been in that letter.”
Salai Ceu Bik Thawng indicated that the process was delayed because CPP was internally split over the issue of the merger although CNP had been ready to proceed with the agreement.
Current situation and next
As of today, both CPP and CNP still function as separate political parties, the former having won 11 seats and the latter 9 in Chin State during the 2010 General Election.
The initial agreement between CPP and CNP had been to find common political ground and to stand together as a single political party in the interest and for solidarity of the Chin.
Leaders of the two parties indicated the importance of the merger ahead of the next general election scheduled in 2015 and that the combined party would, if successful, be bigger and make Chin representation stronger in the future.
According to the Hakha Post, the recent meeting in Hakha agreed that the party’s name would be changed to the ‘Chin National Progressive Party (CNPP)’ using CNP’s registration number.
As the agreement was only supported by some of the CPP members, not by CPP as a party, the question still remains as to whether it would be seen as a merger.
However, if it is implemented as agreed, the new name of the party is likely to be registered before the end of this year, meaning it would just be a change in the name with new members added to it.
At the same time, the initial agreement between the two parties has not been repealed and it can be said that the process still continues.#