Myanmar’s military junta has extended a state of emergency imposed after a coup in February for a year and a half. Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing announced in a televised speech that there will be elections in August 2023. At this time, the state of emergency will also be lifted. The military council also announced the appointment of Heling as prime minister in a “transitional government”. This was followed by numerous protests against the military council.
The televised speech in which Heling renewed his allegations against the collapsed government lasted 51 minutes. He accused Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, of abuse of power and claimed that the general elections in November 2020 had been rigged. The military seized power in February and originally announced that it would hold elections after a year of emergency – that is, in February 2022. He promised, according to Heling, that the elections now announced in August 2023 “would take place with the participation of several parties.”
The junta justified its coup with alleged electoral fraud, with Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party scoring a landslide victory. The military overthrew the then de facto head of government and faced a number of criminal charges. The 75-year-old is under house arrest.
The election results were annulled by the military council. Observers from the Free Asian Election Network have called this “largely representative of the will of the people.” After the coup, there were mass protests for weeks, and the armed forces brutally suppressed these protests. According to estimates by human rights organizations, so far 940 people have been killed and nearly 7,000 arrested. The organizations also accuse those in power in Myanmar of committing crimes against humanity.
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