Myanmar’s military junta has announced that it will delay the election it promised to hold by August 2023, citing ongoing violence and security concerns. The military regime also extended the state of emergency it imposed after seizing power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021.
The announcement was made on state television on Monday by the National Defence and Security Council (NDSC), a body controlled by the military. The NDSC said that the election could not take place amid continued fighting in several regions and states, where pro-democracy forces have taken up arms against the security forces.
The military claimed that it took over the country because of fraud in the November 2020 election, which gave a landslide victory to Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party. The coup reversed years of progress toward democracy after decades of military rule in Myanmar.
The coup sparked widespread peaceful protests that were met with brutal crackdowns by the security forces, killing thousands of people and triggering a civil war. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a group that tracks casualties and arrests, more than 3,800 people have been killed and over 6,000 detained since the coup.
The military initially said that it would hold a new election within a year of its takeover, and later revised the date to August 2023. However, Monday’s announcement did not specify when the polls might be held, saying only that they would occur after the goals of the state of emergency are accomplished.
The state of emergency allows the military to assume all government functions, giving the head of the ruling council, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, legislative, judicial, and executive powers. The military has also enacted laws and decrees that restrict civil liberties and media freedom.
The international community has condemned the coup and imposed sanctions on military leaders and their businesses. However, the junta has shown no sign of relenting or engaging in dialogue with its opponents.