Myanmar state television MRTV reported on Monday that Myanmar’s ruling junta has postponed an election that it previously promised to hold in August this year. Instead, leader of the junta General Min Aung Hlaing extended the country’s state of emergency period for another six months, starting on August 1. The state of emergency was initially declared in the aftermath of the 2021 coup.
While the junta previously stated that it would hold elections by August, it postponed the election due to purported violence concerns. General Min Aung Hlaing stated that the election could not occur due to continued fighting in certain regions of Myanmar, including Sagaing, Bago and Magway. In addition, the junta statement said that they would need to put in place additional security arrangements to ensure the elections are “free and fair.”
Following the announcement, the US State Department released a statement, reading:
The United States is deeply concerned by the Burma military regime’s extension of the state of emergency, which comes as the regime plunges the country deeper into violence and instability….The regime’s widespread brutality and disregard for the democratic aspirations of the people of Burma continue to prolong the crisis….We continue to call for it to end its violence and atrocities, release those unjustly detained, allow unhindered humanitarian access, seek justice for survivors, and engage with all stakeholders to pursue a peaceful, just, and democratic future for Burma.
Myanmar’s current ruling junta, which came to power after overthrowing the previous democratically elected government in 2021, has been condemned for its use of violence. On June 21, UN special rapporteur Tom Andrews called upon the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)—which Myanmar is a member of—to address the problem in Myanmar. He wrote that Myanmar was in a dire human rights situation due to the ongoing violence. Following a meeting of their foreign ministers, on July 12, ASEAN criticized Myanmar’s junta for violating human rights. ASEAN foreign ministers condemned continued acts of violence in Myanmar, such as artillery shelling, and called on all relevant parties to cease indiscriminate violence and build a conducive environment for humanitarian assistance.