The military junta in Myanmar stated that the country has not yet recovered from the coup that took place almost two years ago, raising questions about the plans for elections and the end of the state of emergency, on Tuesday. The southeast Asian nation has been in chaos since the military overthrew the civilian government led by democratic figure Aung San Suu Kyi, claiming that there was widespread fraud in the elections her party won in 2020.
The military junta in Myanmar was expected to announce plans for new elections as the state of emergency imposed by the junta was due to end at the end of January. However, after a meeting of the National Defense and Security Council, the military stated that the country has not yet returned to normalcy. The statement also claimed that opponents of the junta, including the People’s Defense Forces and a shadow government led by members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, had tried to cause unrest and violence in an attempt to seize power. The statement further claimed that these attempts to bring down the state were still ongoing.
A statement from the military’s information team says the necessary announcement will be made on Wednesday without giving further details. The junta leader, Min Aung Hlaing, has previously stated that elections can only occur when the nation is peaceful and stable. The military-drafted 2008 constitution grants the president, in collaboration with the Defense and Security Council, the ability to extend a state of emergency for six months at the request of the head of the military. The former civilian president and ally of Aung San Suu Kyi, Win Myint, has been arrested since the coup and faces numerous charges in a closed military court. Acting President U Myint Swe attended the Tuesday meeting, the military said.
“We still do not know the decision of the meeting,” a military source told AFP, requesting anonymity. “We have been told to be on standby for possible attacks by PDF in coming days in the regions. We have no black-and-white instruction. The source said the military wants the situation to return to normal, but whether the state of emergency will continue or not, the soldiers will remain in the barracks.
The junta recently gave political parties two months to re-register under a new electoral law, which is seen as a sign of plans to hold elections this year, but due to ongoing armed resistance, it is unlikely that people in many regions will be able to vote without fear of repercussions.
A UN special envoy stated that holding elections at this time would only worsen the current situation and make it harder to achieve democracy and stability.