Myanmar Junta extends state of emergency – Times of India


YANGON: Myanmar’s military government has extended the state of emergency for six months, state media said Monday, with the junta chief saying elections could only take place if the conflict-ravaged country was “stable and peaceful”.
min Aung Hlainwho led last year’s coup, asked the military government to “allow him to serve for another 6 months,” according to a report in the Global New Light of Myanmar.
Members of the junta’s National Defense and Security Council unanimously supported the proposal.
The junta declared a state of emergency after ousting the government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February last year, plunging the country into turmoil.
It has previously said elections would be held and the state of emergency would be lifted in August 2023 — an extension of the initial one-year term it announced days after the coup.
The military has justified its seizure of power by spearheading massive fraud in the 2020 elections, in which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) defeated an army-backed party.
Last year, it canceled the poll results, saying it had uncovered more than 11 million cases of voter fraud.
International observers said the vote was largely free and fair.
Suu Kyi has been incarcerated since the coup and faces an eclectic array of charges that could carry her up to more than 150 years in prison.
In a speech broadcast on Monday, Min Aung Hlaing did not specify a date for new polls, but said they could only be held if the country was “peaceful and stable”.
He also said “reform” of the country’s electoral system was needed, including combining the first-past-the-post system — under which Suu Kyi’s NLD has won an overwhelming majority — with proportional representation.
The influence of “powerful parties” had previously silenced other political voices in the country, he said.
The junta chief also invited leaders of some established ethnic rebel groups to a second round of face-to-face meetings.
Myanmar has about 20 ethnic rebel armies, many of which control parts of remote borderlands and have been fighting each other and the military for decades.
Some have condemned the coup, offering shelter and weapons training to the “People’s Defense Forces” (PDFs) that have sprung up since the putsch, which analysts say have surprised the military with their effectiveness.
Several ethnic rebel groups attended a first round of “peace talks” with the junta in May, although groups fighting alongside anti-junta rebels stayed away.

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