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Burma’s electoral commission, set up by the ruling junta, announced on Tuesday that the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was to be dissolved, Myanmar television reported. State.
Repression continues in Burma. The party of ex-leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which largely won the legislative elections in 2015 and 2020, will lose all legal existence, following a decision by a body linked to the military government.
The announcement, emanating from the electoral commission set up by the junta and presented on Tuesday March 28 on state television MRTV, was justified by technical criteria: the National League for Democracy (LND) “will see its status as political party automatically canceled” from Wednesday for failing to fulfill the conditions to re-register.
The military had justified their February 2021 coup by contested accusations of massive electoral fraud in the election won by the NLD in 2020, thus closing a parenthesis of ten years of democratic experience and plunging the country into chaos.
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The army in power has since promised to organize a national election. But in February, the military, which initially envisaged the holding of elections before August, put forward security and logistical reasons to delay the deadline for another six months, in a country plagued by a violent civil conflict that is partly beyond their control.
A country ravaged by fighting, an economy in ruins
The coup reignited fighting with ethnic rebels and spawned dozens of anti-junta “people’s defense forces” (PDF) groups. Whole sections of the country are ravaged by fighting and the economy is in ruins.
In January, the electoral commission gave political parties two months to re-register under a strict new election law drafted by the military, ahead of new polls it promised to hold but which its opponents say will not will be neither free nor fair.
Of the 90 existing parties, only 50 have applied to re-register under the new rules, state broadcaster MRTV said.
The others will be automatically dissolved from Wednesday, including the LND, founded in particular by Aung San Suu Kyi in 1988. Some leaders in exile had previously called on their movement not to re-register under the new rules.
This party had succeeded in an electoral tidal wave in 1990, an election canceled by the junta of the time. AungSuu Kyi received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
33 years in prison for Aung San Suu Kyi
The NLD remained the crucible of democratic aspirations under the rule of the junta and won the polls of 2015 and 2020 by beating formations linked to the military.
After the February 2021 coup, its leaders were decimated by the junta’s bloody crackdown on dissidents. One of its former parliamentarians was even executed, the victim of the first application of the death penalty in the country for decades.
Party figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained since the early hours of the coup. The 77-year-old now languishes in prison after being sentenced in a series of closed trials to a total of 33 years in prison, which rights groups denounce as a sham.
According to a local organization, more than 3,100 people have been killed in the military crackdown on dissent since the coup, and more than a million people have been displaced by the fighting, according to the United Nations.
On Monday, junta leader Min Aung Hlaing promised not to relax the ongoing crackdown on his opponents and reaffirmed that elections would be held when peace returns, without specifying a timetable.
“Burma’s regime is preparing for national elections which, if imposed by force, could be the bloodiest in the country’s recent history,” said Richard Horsey, senior adviser to the International Crisis Group for Burma.
“The majority of the population is fiercely opposed to the idea of going to the polls to legitimize the political control of the army, and so we will see an escalation of violence if the regime seeks to impose a vote”, a- he added.