Myanmar military rulers extend state of emergency for another six months
Police watch over a protest marking the two-year anniversary of the military takeover that ousted the Myanmar government led by Aung San Suu Kyi outside the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, February 1, 2023 | AP

Myanmar’s state of emergency, imposed by the military when it seized power two years ago, has been extended for another six months.

State-run MRTV television reported on Wednesday that the National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) had met the day before and taken the decision because the country remains in an abnormal situation and needs time to prepare for peaceful and stable elections.

Nominally a constitutional administrative body, the NDSC is in practice controlled by the military.

No date has been announced for the elections, though the head of the ruling military junta, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, has suggested that they could be held in August.

Wednesday’s report said the elections would be held after the provisions of the state of emergency have been accomplished.

It allows the military to assume all government functions, giving Min Aung Hlaing legislative, judicial, and executive powers.

The announcement, made on the anniversary of the army’s 2021 seizure of power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, will be seen as an admission that the army has failed to quell widespread opposition to military rule, which increasingly includes armed resistance as well as non-violent protests and civil disobedience.

The constitution stipulates that to hold an election, the military has to transfer government functions to the president, who heads the NDSC, six months before the polls, which in the current case means acting President Myint Swe, an army ally.

A spokesman for the opposition’s underground National Unity Government, which acts as a shadow government opposed to army rule, said that the extension was no surprise because it had expected that the military would seek to cement its control on the anniversary of the coup.

Nay Phone Latt said in a text message that his group and its allies have the support of the public, whose determination will continue until “revolution” is achieved.

Critics say that the military-planned election will be neither free nor fair because there is no independent media and most leaders of Ms. Suu Kyi’s party have been arrested or gone into hiding or exile.

Ms. Suu Kyi is serving prison sentences totaling 33 years after being convicted in a series of politically tainted prosecutions brought by the military.

The National League for Democracy declared last November that it would not accept or recognize the military-planned election, branding it “fake.”

Morning Star


Roger McKenzie
Roger McKenzie

Roger McKenzie is the International Editor of Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper. He is the author of the book "African Uhuru: The Fight for African Freedom in the Rise of the Global South" published by Manifesto Press.