Ethnic parties could challenge NLD


Shan Nationalities League for Democracy branch office in Koot khine township, Shan State. Photo: SNLD

Political parties representing Myanmar's ethnic minorities could pick up a sizeable number of seats at general elections later this year, Reuters reported on 7 July.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) is looking to become a major force in parliament after the November elections and some analysts believe the NLD will prevail over the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) of President Thein Sein in the country's heartland, home to the majority Bamar ethnic group.

However, parties representing many of the country's 134 minorities are expected to get major gains, potentially creating a third force that could stifle the NLD's ambitions.

Any constitutional change can only be initiated with the approval of at least three-quarters of the 664-member parliament and about 30 percent of the seats are from the seven ethnic minority states thereby suggesting that the NLD will need to work closely with ethnic parties to push forward its policies.

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