New York: The political party led by Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to face automatic dissolution by the military-appointed election commission as it declined to register for a planned general election it denounced as a sham.
Critics say the polls will be neither free nor fair in a country ruled by the military that has shut free media and arrested most of the leaders of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.
Suu Kyi, 77, is serving prison sentences totaling 33 years after being convicted in a series of politically tainted prosecutions brought by the military. Her supporters say the charges were contrived to keep her from actively taking part in politics.
The party won a landslide victory in the November 2020 general election, but less than three months later, the army kept her and all the elected lawmakers from taking their seats in Parliament, and top members of her government and party were detained.
The army said it acted because of a massive poll fraud, though independent election observers did not find any major irregularities. Some critics of Senior Gen Min Aung Hlaing, who led the takeover and is now Myanmar’s top leader, believe he acted because the vote thwarted his own political ambitions.
No date has been set for the new polls. They had been expected by the end of July, according to the army’s own plans. But in February, the military announced an unexpected six-month extension of its state of emergency, delaying the possible legal date for holding an election. It said security could not be assured. The military does not control large swaths of the country, where it faces widespread armed resistance to its rule.