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Myanmar junta hints at further election delays

Myanmar will hold a census late next year, state media reported on Friday, hinting at a further delay in elections the junta has pledged to end the crisis sparked by its coup.

The Southeast Asian country has been in turmoil since the army seized power in 2021, with a subsequent crackdown on dissent that sparked fighting between military and anti-coup forces across much of the country.

The “census will be conducted simultaneously across the country” from October 1 to 15, 2024, said Immigration and Population Minister U Myint Kyaing Global new light from Myanmar.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing had previously said a national census was needed to ensure electoral lists were “accurate” in the country of around 54 million, suggesting a census would precede every election.

He also said new surveys could only be conducted if the country was “stable”.

In February, the junta announced a six-month extension to the two-year state of emergency and delayed elections, which it would hold until August.

The military justified its February 2021 takeover with unsubstantiated allegations of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, which civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won in a landslide.

Observers say a new poll may not be free and fair under the current circumstances.

The United States claims any election conducted by the junta would be a “sham” while Russia – a close ally and arms supplier to the military – has said it would support elections.

Two years after the coup, the situation in Myanmar is a “festing catastrophe,” UN human rights chief Volker Turk said last week, adding the military was operating “with complete impunity.” According to the UN Human Rights Office, the junta is “at war with its own people”.

Diplomatic efforts to resolve the bloody impasse, led by the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, have made little headway as the generals refuse to cooperate with opponents they brand “terrorists”.

The junta completed a series of closed court cases against Aung San Suu Kyi in December and imprisoned her longtime enemy for a combined 33 years in a trial human rights groups have condemned as fraud.

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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