World news

Myanmar junta extends state of emergency, delaying polls


By AFP and published by CNA

Yangon – Myanmar’s National Defence and Security Council agreed today (July 31) to extend the country’s state of emergency by six months, state media said, likely delaying elections the junta had pledged to hold by August.

Acting president Myint Swe announced the decision to prolong the state of emergency – declared when the generals toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in February 2021 – for another six months, according to state broadcaster MRTV.

The state of emergency was due to expire at the end of July but today the junta-stacked National Defence and Security Council met to discuss the state of the nation.

Myint Swe told the meeting that the “state of emergency period would be extended another six months starting from August 1”.

The junta had previously promised fresh elections in August of this year but in February it again extended the emergency ordinance, a day after its National Defence and Security Council said the situation in the country had “not returned to normalcy yet”.

Extending the state of emergency pushes back the date by which elections must be held, according to the country’s constitution.

Aung San Suu Kyi moved from prison: Party official

Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was ousted in a 2021 military coup, has been moved from prison to a government building, an official from her party said on Friday (July 28).

Aung San Suu Kyi has only been seen once since she was held after the Feb. 1, 2021 coup – in grainy state media photos from a bare courtroom in the military-built capital Naypyidaw.

The coup plunged the Southeast Asian nation into a conflict that has displaced more than one million people, according to the United Nations.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been moved to a high-level venue compound on Monday night,” an official from the National League for Democracy told AFP on Friday on condition of anonymity.

The party official also confirmed Aung San Suu Kyi had met the country’s lower house speaker Ti Khun Myat and was likely to meet Deng Xijuan, China’s special envoy for Asian Affairs, who is visiting the country.

A source from another political party said Aung San Suu Kyi had been moved to a VIP compound in Naypyidaw.

In July, Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said he had met with Aung San Suu Kyi, the first-known meeting with a foreign envoy since she was detained.

A junta spokesman told AFP the meeting had lasted more than one hour but did not give details on what was discussed.

There have been concerns about the 78-year-old Nobel laureate’s health since her detention, including during her trial in a junta court that required her to attend almost daily hearings.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to 33 years in jail for a clutch of charges, including corruption, possession of illegal walkie talkies and flouting coronavirus restrictions.

Rights groups slammed her trial as a sham designed to remove the popular leader from politics.

In June 2022, after more than a year under house arrest in Naypyidaw, Aung San Suu Kyi was moved to a prison compound in another part of the capital.

There she was no longer permitted her domestic staff of around ten people and assigned military-chosen helpers, sources told AFP at the time.

Confinement in the isolated capital is a far cry from the years Aung San Suu Kyi spent under house arrest during a previous junta, where she became a world-famous democracy figurehead.

During that period, she lived at her family’s colonial-era lakeside mansion in commercial hub Yangon and regularly gave speeches to crowds on the other side of her garden wall.

Tarnished image

Aung San Suu Kyi remains hugely popular in Myanmar, even after her international image was tainted by her power-sharing deal with the generals and failure to speak up for the persecuted Rohingya minority.

But many fighting for democracy have jettisoned her core principle of non-violence and taken up arms to try and permanently root out military dominance of the country’s politics and economy.

The military has cited alleged widespread voter fraud during elections in November 2020 as a reason for its coup, which sparked huge protests and a bloody crackdown.

Those polls were won resoundingly by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, with international observers at the time saying they were largely free and fair.

After the coup, many senior NLD members were jailed or went into hiding.

In March, Myanmar’s junta-stacked election commission announced the NLD would be dissolved for failing to re-register under a new military-drafted electoral law.

More than 3,800 people have been killed since the coup, according to a local monitoring group.


Top: Soldiers stand next to military vehicles as people gather to protest against the military coup, in Yangon, Myanmar, on February 15, 2021. File photo: Reuters/Stringer and published by CNA

First insert: Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at a school in Kawhmu, Yangon, Myanmar, on July 18, 2019. File photo: Reuters/Ann Wang and published by CNA

Second insert: Myanmar has been in turmoil since military generals ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb 1, 2021. Photo: AFP/STR and published by CNA

Front Page: Myanmar’s Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing stands in a vehicle as he attends a ceremony to mark the country’s 78th Armed Forces Day in Naypyidaw on March 27, 2023. Photo: AFP/STR and published by CNA

Also read: As Khanun forms, China warns of third typhoon in three weeks

China, Taiwan prepare for their most powerful typhoon this year

US pauses some aid, imposes visa bans after ‘neither free nor fair’ Cambodia election

Shocking video emerges of sexual assault in India’s Manipur state amid ethnic violence

Ranong heavily flooded as weakened Typhoon Talim hits Vietnam

Schools and stock market closed as Hong Kong braces for Typhoon Talim

Travel chaos as hundreds of flights across Italy cancelled amid air transport strike

BRICS summit to be ‘physical’ despite Putin warrant: South Africa

US to send Ukraine cluster bombs, Nato makes membership pledge

Thousands rally across Australia in support of indigenous reform


One Reply to “Myanmar junta extends state of emergency, delaying polls

Leave a Reply