- Web Master
- September 13, 2023
AFP (The Daily Star, Bangladesh)
Publish : 05 Sep 2023, 08:23
Myanmar's junta will likely hold elections in 2025, party
officials told AFP on Tuesday, even as the military struggles to crush
resistance to its rule.
The military justified its February 2021 putsch with
unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 elections won
resoundingly by Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD).
The coup ended a 10-year democratic experiment and plunged
the country into turmoil, with the military now battling opponents across
swathes of the country.
"Elections are likely to be held in 2025," a
senior member of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party
told AFP, requesting anonymity.
"We have a census-taking process in 2024. Because of
the situation (in Myanmar) and that nationwide census process, next year is
impossible," they said.
A member of a junta-approved party said it was likely
"elections will be held in early 2025", without elaborating.
A junta spokesman did not pick up AFP calls seeking comment.
36 political parties have been granted permission to take
part in any future polls, the junta-stacked election commission said Tuesday,
without giving a date for when they would be held.
Seven had been approved to compete countrywide, and 29 on a
It also announced the scrapping of the first-past-the-post
system, under which the NLD won crushing majorities at the expense of
A proportional representation system would be used across
the country, it said.
In March, the election commission dissolved the NLD for
failing to re-register under tough new military-authored rules.
Suu Kyi co-founded the NLD in 1988 and won a landslide
victory in 1990 elections that were subsequently annulled by the then-junta.
The party carried the torch for democratic aspirations in
military-ruled Myanmar and later won big victories over military-backed parties
in elections in 2015 and 2020.
Its leadership has been decimated in the junta's bloody
crackdown on dissent, with one former lawmaker executed by the junta in the
country's first use of capital punishment in decades.
The junta accepts it does not control swathes of the country
and has previously pushed back the timeline for holding polls.
"It's highly uncertain if and when polls will take
place, there is no discernible timetable," independent analyst David
Mathieson told AFP.
"It shouldn't have to be reemphasized, but any poll any
time under whatever conditions will be bereft of legitimacy and meaning."
Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing called for "necessary
preparations" to be completed ahead of the national census in 2024, the
state-backed Global New Light of Myanmar reported on Saturday.
An election can only take place after a census has been
completed, the paper reported him as saying.
The US has said any elections under the junta would be a
"sham" and analysts say they would be targeted by the junta's
Russia, a major ally and arms supplier, has said it backs
the plan for polls.
Khin Yi, chairman of the military-backed Union Solidarity
and Development Party said his party was preparing for a future election.
"There have been threats," Khin Yi told AFP,
"However I'm moving forward... This time is the period
to motivate our party."
The army ruled Myanmar for decades after independence from
Britain in 1948 and dominated the country's economy and politics even before
Myanmar remains mired in almost daily bomb blasts and
fighting, with thousands of civilians caught up in the violence.