National Unity Party (Myanmar)

The National Unity Party (NUP)[a] is a political party in Myanmar (Burma). It is the successor to the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP), which ruled the country from 1962 to 1988. The party's headquarters are in Bahan Township, Yangon.

National Unity Party
AbbreviationNUP (English)
တစည (Burmese)
ChairmanU Han Shwe[1][2]: 1 
Secretary-GeneralU Tun Yi[1][2]: 1 
Vice Chairman and SpokesmanU Thein Tun[1][2]: 1 
Associate SecretariesU Ne Win and U Nyunt Tin[1][2]: 1 
Founded24 September 1988 (33 years ago) (1988-09-24)
Preceded byBurma Socialist Programme Party
HeadquartersBahan Township, Yangon
NewspaperNational News Journal
Membership (2015)500,000[3]
Political positionCentre-left[4]
Colours  Sky blue[5]
Seats in the Amyotha Hluttaw
1 / 224
Seats in the Pyithu Hluttaw
0 / 440
Seats in the State and Regional Hluttaws
0 / 880
Party flag
Flag of the National Unity Party (since 2016).png


The Burma Socialist Programme Party changed its name to the National Unity Party (NUP) on 24 September 1988.[6][7][8]

The NUP contested the 1990 general election and was seen as a proxy party of the Tatmadaw (military) and the main rival to Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy. The NUP was defeated in the election, but the results were not recognised by the Tatmadaw and subsequently voided.[3][6]

The NUP played a relatively minor role in Burmese politics after 1990 and maintained close ties with the Tatmadaw during the period of military rule under the State Peace and Development Council, which ended in 2011. Before 2011, the party membership consisted mainly of former Ne Win loyalists, former BSPP members, and top military commanders.[9]

The party contested the 2010 general election as the main challenger to the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP); the NUP had nominated 999 parliamentary candidates nationwide (contesting at both national and regional levels), second only to the 1,100 candidates nominated by the USDP.[10] The NUP joined other opposition parties in accusing the USDP of vote rigging after the USDP won a supermajority of the seats in a landslide victory.[11] Twelve NUP candidates were elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw, five to the Amyotha Hluttaw, and 46 to the State and Regional Hluttaws.[12][13]

The NUP ran 763 candidates in the 2015 general election, all of whom lost except for one in Kachin State who was elected to the Amyotha Hluttaw.[14]


The NUP describes itself as federalist,[15] nationalist,[16] and populist.[17] It advocates the implementation of a social market economy modelled after the system used in Germany (also known as "Rhine capitalism").[18]


From left to right: Flag used by the anti-Japanese resistance movement in Burma during World War II (1945), flag of the Burma Socialist Programme Party (1962–1988), first flag of the National Unity Party (1988–2016)

The NUP adopted a new flag in 2016, changing the flag's colour from red to sky blue and adding the party logo to the centre. Regarding the change, U Han Shwe of the party's central committee (who later became the party's chairman in 2021) said, "We have traditionally used a red flag with three stars to represent the party. However, the colour of our party has always been sky blue, so now we are changing [the flag] to that colour. In the new flag, the party's logo is included. ... Previously we had to explain that the red flag with three stars was our party flag. Now that the logo has been added to the flag, it is clear that this is the flag of the National Unity Party."[5]

The current flag of NUP is a sky blue field with three white stars charged in the upper hoist and the party logo charged in the centre. Its proportion is 5:9. The first white star in the upper hoist honours the "Resistance Flag" used by the anti-Japanese resistance movement in Burma during World War II and now a symbol of Burmese national liberation. The second white star in the upper hoist represents efforts by the Burmese to build a socialist society. The third white star in the upper hoist symbolises the reconstruction of national unity between Myanmar's ethnic groups. The sky blue background represents nobility, steadiness, peace, calm, and development. The stars' white colour symbolises purity, steadiness, righteousness, and loyalty. In the party logo, the paddy ears and pinion represent peasants, workers, and the Burmese nation itself, while the fourteen equal-sized white stars symbolise the unity and equality of Myanmar's fourteen states and regions.[2]: 4 


The party's first chairman was U Thar Kyaw, a former member of the Council of State, a former minister and a former soldier who had joined the Tatmadaw in World War II, when it was known as the Burma Independence Army.[19][20] U Thar Kyaw died on 9 May 2005, and the party's general secretary U Tun Yi, formerly the Deputy Commander of the Tatmadaw, succeeded.[19][20] U Tun Yi died on 4 April 2014.[21] The general secretary U Than Tin, a former brigadier general from the army, the former minister of the Ministry of Mines, a former deputy prime minister during the socialist period and a writer, became the party chairman on 30 April 2014.[22] U Than Tin died on 14 January 2021[23] and vice-chairman U Han Shwe was elected to succeed him on 18 May 2021.[1][2]: 1 

List of chairmenEdit

  1. U Thar Kyaw (ဦးသာကျော်), 24 September 1988 – 9 May 2005
  2. U Tun Yi (ဦးထွန်းရီ), 9 May 2005 – 4 April 2014
  3. U Than Tin (ဦးသန်းတင်), 30 April 2014 – 14 January 2021
  4. U Han Shwe (ဦးဟန်ရွှေ), 18 May 2021 – present

Election resultsEdit

House of Nationalities (Amyotha Hluttaw)Edit

Election Leader Total seats won Total votes Share of votes +/– Government
2010 Tun Yi
5 / 224
4,302,082 19.46%   5 Opposition
2015 U Than Tin
1 / 224
437,361 1.93%   4 Opposition

House of Representatives (Pyithu Hluttaw)Edit

Election Leader Total seats won Total votes Share of votes +/– Government
1990 U Thar Kyaw
10 / 492
2,805,559 21.2%   10 Not recognised
2010 Tun Yi
12 / 440
4,060,802 19.4%   2 Opposition
2015 U Than Tin
0 / 440
418,443 1.87%   12 Extra-parliamentary


Election Seats up for election Seats contested Contested seats won +/–
2012 37 (Pyithu) / 5 (Amyotha) 18 (Pyithu) / 4 (Amyotha) 0 (Pyithu) / 0 (Amyotha)  


  1. ^ Burmese: တိုင်းရင်းသားစည်းလုံးညီညွတ်ရေးပါတီ Burmese pronunciation: [táɪɰ̃jɪ́ɰ̃ðá sílóʊɰ̃ ɲìɲʊʔ jé pàtì], abbr. တစည


  1. ^ a b c d e တိုင်းရင်းသားစည်းလုံးညီညွတ်ရေးပါတီ - NUP (20 May 2021). "တိုင်ရင်းသားစည်းလုံးညီညွတ်ရေးပါတီ ဗဟိုကော်မတီဌာနချုပ် ရွေးချယ်တင်မြှောက်ပွဲကျင်းပ" [National Unity Party Central Committee Headquarter Election was held]. Facebook.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "National News Journal: Volume 33, Issue 6". National News Journal. National Unity Party. 33 (6). 31 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b "National Unity Party (NUP)". The Irrawaddy.
  4. ^ "တိုင်းရင်းသားစည်းလုံးညီညွတ်ရေးပါတီ" [National Unity Party] (in Burmese). Archived from the original on 19 July 2020. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  5. ^ a b "တစညပါတီအလံ ပြောင်းလဲအသုံးပြုမည်" [NUP party flag will change]. DVB (in Burmese).
  6. ^ a b Smith, Martin (1991). Burma: Insurgency and the politics of ethnicity (1st ed.). London and New Jersey: Zed Books. p. 20. ISBN 0862328683.
  7. ^ "မြန်မာ့ဆိုရှယ်လစ်လမ်းစဥ်ပါတီကို တိုင်းရင်းသားစည်းလုံးညီညွတ်ရေး ပါတီဟု အမည်ပြောင်းလဲခြင်း" [Renaming of Burma Socialist Programme Party to National Unity Party]. Working People Daily (in Burmese). 27 September 1988.
  8. ^ "BURMA PRESS SUMMARY Vol.II, No. 9, September 1988".
  9. ^ Retrieved 2 April 2012. {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  10. ^ Macan-Markar, Marwaan (31 October 2010). "Military rule haunts Burma election". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  11. ^ "NUP Concedes Defeat". Burma Election 2010. The Irrawaddy. 10 November 2010. Archived from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  12. ^ "Constituencies". 2010 Election Watch. Alternative Asean Network on Burma. 2010. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  13. ^ "All legislatures". 2010 Election Watch. Alternative Asean Network on Burma. 2010. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Announcement 94/2015". Union Election Commission. Archived from the original on 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  15. ^ "National Unity Party presents its policy, stance and work programmes". Myanmar Digital News. 9 September 2020. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  16. ^ Han, Naw Betty (27 September 2018). "National Unity Party sets up local chapters for 2020 race". The Myanmar Times. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  17. ^ "တိုင်းရင်းသား စည်းလုံးညီညွတ်ရေးပါတီ". BBC News (in Burmese). 17 September 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  18. ^ Kean, Thomas; Kyaw Thu (28 June 2010). "NUP looks to distance itself from military". The Myanmar Times. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  19. ^ a b မောင်ဆွေသက် (2020). ဗိုလ်ချုပ်ကြီးထွန်းရီ (အများအခေါ် နပိုလီယန် ကျွန်တော့်အာဘော် စစ်မှော်အောင်သော စစ်ချန်ပီယံ) (in Burmese).
  20. ^ a b မောင်ဆွေသက် (December 2020). "အများအခေါ် နပိုလီယန် ကျွန်တော့်အာဘော် စစ်မှော်အောင်သော စစ်ချန်ပီယံ ဗိုလ်ချုပ်ကြီး ထွန်းရီ". MWD Webportal (in Burmese).
  21. ^ "တစည ပါတီ ဥက္ကဋ္ဌ ကွယ်လွန်" [NUP Party chairman passed away]. BBC News Burmese (in Burmese). 4 April 2014.
  22. ^ စနေလင်း (30 April 2014). "တစည ပါတီ ဥက္ကဋ္ဌသစ်အဖြစ် အငြိမ်းစား ဗိုလ်မှူးချုပ် ဦးသန်းတင်ကို ရွေးချယ်" [Retired Brigadier General U Than Tin has been elected as the new chairman of NUP Party]. Irrawaddy.
  23. ^ သိင်္ဂီထွန်း (15 January 2021). "တ.စ.ည ပါတီရဲ့ တတိယမြောက်ဥက္ကဋ္ဌ ဦးသန်းတင် ကွယ်လွန်" [N.U.P Party's third chairman U Than Tin passed away]. Voice Of Myanmar Online Media (in Burmese).