Shan Nationalities League for Democracy

The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (Burmese: ရှမ်းတိုင်းရင်းသားများ ဒီမိုကရေစီ အဖွဲ့ချုပ်; [ʃáɰ̃ táɪɰ̃jɪ́ɰ̃ðámjá dìmòkəɹèsì ʔəpʰwḛdʑoʊʔ]; Shan: ငဝ်ႈငုၼ်းတီႇမူဝ်ႇၶရေႇၸီႇၸိူဝ်ႉၶိူဝ်းတႆး; abbreviated as SNLD) is a political party in Myanmar (Burma).[3] The party was established on 26 October 1988, and campaigns for the interests of the Shan people.[4] The SNLD became the largest Shan party in the Assembly of the Union following the 2015 general election.[5] The party is a federal party having local branches in most townships in Shan State and few in other states and regions such as Kayah, Kachin, and Mandalay.

Shan Nationalities League for Democracy
ရှမ်းတိုင်းရင်းသားများ ဒီမိုကရေစီအဖွဲ့ချုပ်
Tai nameငဝ်ႈငုၼ်းတီႇမူဝ်ႇၶရေႇၸီႇၸိူဝ်ႉၶိူဝ်းတႆး
Burmese nameရှမ်းတိုင်းရင်းသားများ ဒီမိုကရေစီအဖွဲ့ချုပ်
ChairpersonHkun Htun Oo
1st Vice-ChairpersonSai Nyunt Lwin (Sai Nood)
2nd Vice-ChairpersonHkam Pöng Fa (Khin Maung Nyunt)
General SecretarySai Leik
Founded26 October 1988 (34 years ago) (1988-10-26)
Headquarters26B, Corner of Pyay Road and Swar Bwar Road, Ward 5, Mayangone Township, Yangon Region
IdeologyShan interests
Social democracy[1]
Political positionCentre-left[1]
Regional affiliationNetwork of Social Democracy in Asia[2]
International affiliationProgressive Alliance[1]
Slogan"Without equality we cannot have peace; without peace we cannot build a democracy."
Seats in the Shan State Hluttaw
28 / 151
Seats in the Kachin State Hluttaw
1 / 53
Party flag
Flag of Shan Nationalities League for Democracy.svg

Unlike other Shan political parties, the party prefers a federal system with 8 states or 8 units to have equal political rights in upper house as the original principle based on the Federal Principles of 1961, rather than the status quo of 7 states and 7 regions.[6]


The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy was founded by Hkun Htun Oo, the nephew of Sao Kya Seng, the last Saopha of the Hsipaw State. The party was formally registered in 1988. In the 1990 general election, the party won the second highest number of seats (23 seats out of 58 constituencies[7]), which was unrecognized by the ruling military junta.

From 1993 and 1996, members of the party attended the National Convention (NC) and Dialogue, where several opposition groups met with the military junta to negotiate peace treaties. There, the SNLD demanded "striving for national reconciliation in order to build a genuine democratic union". However, the Working Committee of the National Convention Convening Commission ignores SNLD's demands as well as other democratic forces. When the National Convention re-convene again in 2004, SNLD denied to send representatives joining the Convention. In February 2005, the party's leaders were arrested under accused charges on forming Shan State Advisory Expert Group, and were given long prison sentences.[8]

The party had been openly against the 2008 constitution, and it boycotted the 2010 general election, along with other opposition parties, such as the National League for Democracy and its alliance members United Nationalities Alliance (UNA)[1]. Following that the party was de-registered under the new Union Election Commission of Myanmar in 2010. In 2012, following constitutional and government reforms, political prisoners, including the leaders of the SNLD, were released, and the SNLD was permitted to operate legally and re-register for elections.[9]

In 2012 by-Election, the party did not contest. Instead, SNLD took outside parliament's path working on peace process and national reconciliation. In November 2012, SNLD cooperating with other Shan political parties, cease-fire armed groups and Shan civil society organizations, took its first initiative convening a three-day conference of "Trust Building for Peace" aiming to seeking solutions, building trust among different groups to achieve genuine peace.[10]

In March 2013, SNLD along with other ethnic political parties, cease-fired armed groups in Shan State and Kayah State organized another three days conference of Trust Building for Peace, Shan State & Kayah State in Lashio, Shan State projecting to figure out the common grounds, understanding among others.[11] Similarly to that, in late 2013, the party collaborating other democratic forces such as ethnic political parties, cease-fired armed groups and civil society organization organize its third conference of Trusting Building for Peace, Shan, Kayah, and Mon State.[12][13]

The SNLD went on to run successfully in the 2015 election, winning 3 seats in the Amyotha Hluttaw,[14] 12 seats in the Pyithu Hluttaw[15] and 25 seats in the State and Regional Hluttaws (24) in the Shan State Hluttaw, and 1 in the Kachin State Hluttaw).[5] This makes the SNLD the 4th largest political party elected to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Assembly of the Union) and the 5th largest overall. Many SNLD gains in the election took place at the expense of the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party, which was reduced from being the 2nd largest party in Shan State and the 3rd largest party nationally, to holding only a single seat in the Shan State Hluttaw.

In the aftermath of the 2021 Myanmar coup d'état, the SNLD strongly condemned the military coup as a rejection of the country’s commitment to a democratic transition, and against the ongoing peace and trust building process.[16] It rejected the military junta's offer to join the State Administration Council at the state level.[17] In March 2023, the SNLD announced it would not re-register to participate in the military junta's planned elections for 2023 or 2024.[18]


  1. ^ a b c "SOCDEM Asia: The Philippines, Nepal and Myanmar". Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  2. ^ "About".
  3. ^ "Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD)". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Shan Nationalities League for Democary". SNLD. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  5. ^ a b "That's a Wrap: UEC (Finally) Calls Last 11 Election Races". The Irrawaddy. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  6. ^ Myint, Sithu Aung. "Sai Ai Pao, Chairman of the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party". Frontier Myanmar. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  7. ^ ICG. Myanmar Backgrounder: Ethnic Minority Politics.
  8. ^ "BURMA: Appeal against unlawful conviction for treason & other offences of 8 men — Asian Human Rights Commission". Asian Human Rights Commission. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Shan Nationalities League for Democracy". 7dailynews. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Federal Union a Prerequisite for Peace: Shan Leaders". The Irrawaddy. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Shan, Kayah Ethnic Groups Slam Burmese Constitution". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Ethnic Minorities Stress Trust-Building, Agree to 5-Point Peace Plan". 24 September 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  13. ^ "Myanmar Ethnic Groups Call for Federal Union at 'Trust-Building' Conference". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  14. ^ "Announcement 93/2015". Union Election Commission. Archived from the original on 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Announcement 92/2015". Union Election Commission. Archived from the original on 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  16. ^ "SNLD strongly denounces military coup". Burma News International. 4 February 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  17. ^ "SNLD, DPNS reject offer to participate in new government". Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd. 6 February 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  18. ^ "Shan prominent party decides not to register for junta's election". Burma News International. Retrieved 20 March 2023.