×

Myanmar Polls May Not Be Held Nationwide – Junta Chief

The military has made numerous pledges to hold elections since it seized power in February 2021 but has repeatedly extended a state of emergency as it battles opponents across swathes of the country.


Myanmar Polls May Not Be Held Nationwide
Members of Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC) speak during a demonstration of voting machines to be used in future elections in Yangon on September 5, 2023.

 

Myanmar may not be able to hold its next election nationwide, the country’s junta chief admitted in comments published Monday, as the military struggles to contain escalating violence against its rule.

The military has made numerous pledges to hold elections since it seized power in February 2021 but has repeatedly extended a state of emergency as it battles opponents across swathes of the country.

Junta supremo Min Aung Hlaing said officials were currently focusing on verifying voter lists, reiterating that polls could only come once peace was restored.

“If the state is peaceful and stable, we have a plan to hold the election in relevant sections as much as we can, even if the election is not held nationwide under the law,” he said in an interview with Russia’s TASS news agency, reprinted in English in the state-owned Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

The generals justified their coup with unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud during elections in 2020 won resoundingly by the National League for Democracy (NLD) party of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

The junta-stacked election commission last year scrapped the first-past-the-post electoral system under which the NLD had won resounding victories.

Instead, a proportional representation system will be used.

Three years after seizing power the junta is struggling to crush widespread armed opposition to its rule, battling pro-democracy armed groups and older ethnic minority armed groups across large parts of the country.