Washington [US]: On March 29, the US Department of State Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the United States has “strongly” condemned the Myanmar military’s decision to abolish 40 political parties, including the National League for Democracy.
Vedant Patel, while addressing a press briefing on March 29 (local time), said that the elections would not be considered “free or fair” without the participation of all the stakeholders in Myanmar. He made the remarks in response to a question regarding the Myanmar military’s decision to dissolve political parties, including Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD).
“We strongly condemn the Burma military regime’s decision to abolish 40 political parties, including, as you so noted, the National League for Democracy. Any election without the participation of all stakeholders in Burma would not be and cannot be considered free or fair,” Vedant Patel said.
Vedant Patel added, “And given the widespread opposition to military rule, the regime’s unilateral push towards elections likely will escalate instability. We continue to support efforts by all of those working to establish genuine and inclusive democracy in Burma”.
Vedant Patel responded to a query regarding upcoming elections that the Myanmar army plans to hold by saying, “if you are going to remove 40 parties from their ability to participate in those elections, essentially having elections without the participation of all of the appropriate stakeholders, then yes, that is an election that would not be considered free and fair. And given, as I said, the people and public’s opposition to the military rule, the regime’s unilateral push towards elections will, unfortunately, lead to increased instability.”
Myanmar’s military-controlled election commission said that the ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party would be dissolved for failing to re-register under a new electoral law, Al Jazeera reported citing state television.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) party was among 40 political parties that were unable to meet the ruling military’s registration deadline for an election, Al Jazeera reported citing Myawaddy TV.
The Myanmar military, earlier in January, gave two months to political parties to register under a strict new electoral law before fresh elections, which they have promised to hold. 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.
In November 2020, the NLD secured victory in Myanmar’s parliamentary elections. However, less than three months later, the Myanmar military carried out a coup and imprisoned Aung San Suu Kyi. She is serving a prison sentence which totals 33 years. As per the news report, Aung San Suu Kyi has been convicted in a series of politically tainted prosecutions brought by the military.
(with inputs from ANI)