Myanmar’s military-controlled government has once again extended the state of emergency it imposed after seizing power from an elected government in 2021. This move further delays the promised elections, revealing the difficulties the junta faces in coordinating a vote in the midst of widespread protests, armed resistance, and civil disobedience.
The nation has been wrestling with a tumultuous political scene since the military coup, with the pro-democracy movement fighting against security forces and pushing for a return to democratic governance.
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The State of Emergency
The National Defense and Security Council (NDSC), nominally a constitutional government body but effectively controlled by the military, met in the capital, Naypyidaw, to decide on the extension of the state of emergency.
The council cited the need for more time to prepare for elections as the reason for the extension, implicitly acknowledging the junta’s struggle to assert control over the situation.
The state of emergency situation gives the military sweeping powers, with Senior Gen Min Aung Hlaing, head of the ruling military council, assuming legislative, judicial, and executive authority.
The military held onto power in Myanmar in February 2021, alleging fraud in the 2020 general election, which saw Aung San Suu Kyi’s Public Association for A majority rule government party win by an embarrassing margin.
Free political decision onlookers found no major irregularities in the election results. Subsequent peaceful protests against the military coup were met with deadly force, fueling armed resistance that the United Nations described as a civil war. The continuous violence and brutality have resulted in thousands of deaths and displacement of millions of people.
The military government’s activities have drawn in international criticism, with allegations of human rights violations and suppression of media freedom. The closure of independent media outlets and the arrests of opposition leaders have raised concerns about the fairness of any future elections.
Critics contend that under the military’s elections, the surveys are probably not going to be free and fair, hindering Myanmar’s progress towards democratic governance.
The National Unity Government (NUG), an underground group claiming to be Myanmar’s legitimate government, serves as an umbrella organization for opposition forces. It denounces the extension of emergency rule, accusing the military of clinging to power and rejecting any genuine transition to democracy.
The NUG has been engaged with the pro-democracy movement and plans to proceed with its progressive activities. The global community has condemned the extension of the state of emergency, seeing it as viewing it as exacerbating violence and instability in Myanmar.
Political endeavors to determine the emergency through the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have so far yielded little progress, with the military government refusing to engage with its opponents. The prolonged political turmoil in Myanmar continues to be a matter of global concern.
The military government has not indicated another date for the promised races, stating that they will happen after the goals of the state of emergency situation are accomplished.
The constitution mandates a transfer of government functions to the president, who leads the NDSC, six months before the polls. However, with the current situation of armed conflict and opposition resistance, it remains uncertain when this transition will occur.
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