Myanmar’s military using democracy as a front to win the power struggle:
The United Nations (UN) has voiced concern over the dissolution of Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party at the hands of the military in Myanmar, demanding that the spirit of democracy in the country must be restored. Addressing reporters, the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the immediate release of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The political party led by Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi National League for Democracy (NLD), was ordered dissolved by the military-appointed election commission on March 28, 2023, because it failed to register for a planned general election, State television MRTV reported. Suu Kyi-led NLD, which has denounced the promised polls as a sham, was one of 40 parties that failed to meet the deadline for registration.
Political unrest in the country began in November 2020, when the NLD won the elections but was quickly subdued by the military. Soon after the victory, the army organised a coup and jailed Aung San Suu Kyi, citing poll fraud as the reason. However, experts were unable to find any evidence of electoral irregularities. Currently, Suu Kyi is serving a 33-year-long jail sentence after being convicted in several prosecutions upheld by the military. Her supporters have said that the charges against her stem from the ulterior motive of removing her from politics altogether.
Earlier in January, the Myanmar military gave two months to political parties to re-register under a strict new electoral law before fresh elections, which they have promised to conduct. However, the opponents have said that the elections will neither be free nor fair.
The NLD has said it would not contest in the elections and called it illegitimate. Bo Bo Oo, one of the elected lawmakers from Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, said, “We absolutely do not accept that an election will be held at a time when many political leaders and political activists have been arrested and the people are being tortured by the military.”
Meanwhile, Myanmar’s military ruler Min Aung Hlaing on March 27, 2023, urged his foreign critics to get behind his junta’s planned return to democracy, instead of siding with a resistance movement he called “terrorists” bent on destroying the country.
Min Aung Hlaing, whose February 2021 coup plunged Myanmar into chaos, said the international condemnation of his military rule was based on false narratives by a shadow National Unity Government (NUG).
The junta will hold an election in August that has already been widely dismissed as a manufactured power play. It is likely to be dominated by a proxy party of the military that was trounced in the past two elections.
The power struggle has compromised the principles of democratic transition, peace and tranquillity in the country. This has put a dent on the image of Myanmar’s political ecosystem, who is incompetent to deal with such issues. The credibility is declining, and the international community will not be caught in the trap laid by the junta, who wants to concentrate all the powers in its own hands.