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Six months from coup, Myanmar’s junta says no elections until 2023

Six months from coup, Myanmar’s junta says no elections until 2023

dpa
Bangkok
As Myanmar marked six months on Sunday since the military seized power in a coup that sparked ongoing protests and plunged the country into chaos, the head of the junta has said there will be no new elections before 2023.
“All the process for the election would be completed before August 2023,” Min Aung Hlaing said in a televised speech where he also announced the state of emergency imposed after the coup would be extended until then.
The junta also announced that Min Aung Hlaing had been appointed prime minister of a caretaker government.
The February 1 coup saw the arrest of Myanmar’s civilian leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
The state of emergency was initially supposed to last one year, was then extended to two and now to two and a half years. In his 51-minute speech, the junta leader renewed his accusations against the ousted government.
He accused Suu Kyi of abuse of power and claimed that the November 2020 general election had been rigged. Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest again since the coup, had clearly won the election with her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
On Sunday, there were again numerous protests against the junta in Myanmar. Protesters came out on the streets of Yangon and Mandalay on Friday, local media reported.
The people’s resistance has been brutally suppressed in recent months. According to estimates by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 940 people have been killed so far.
Almost 7,000 have been arrested.
Human Rights Watch has accused the rulers in Myanmar of crimes against humanity.
Alongside a brutal crackdown on ongoing protests against the military, the public are facing a severe coronavirus crisis.
“People have to face Min Aung Hlaing’s mistreatment and Covid-19’s mistreatment,” Yangon resident and volunteer community worker Lin Aung Khant told dpa.
“There is no future, some don’t have anything to eat,” he added.
Many younger people are said to have fled Myanmar’s cities and joined rebel camps in the jungle where they undertake military training.
Reporters Without Borders says the military has revoked the licences of at least eight media organizations, and dozens of journalists are said to have been arrested.
The country’s Ministry of Health is reporting thousands of positive cases and hundreds of deaths daily. True numbers are likely higher as many are avoiding testing or hospital treatment for fear of the military.

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