SECTIONS

Myanmar leader announces extension of state of emergency

In this image from video by Myanmar state broadcaster MRTV, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, head of the ruling State Administration Council, delivers a broadcast speech Monday, Aug. 1 2022. [MRTV via AP]

The leader of Myanmar's military-installed government Monday announced the extension of its mandate to rule for another six months in preparation for an election it has said will be held next year.

The army seized power on February 1 last year from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. It cited alleged fraud in the November 2020 general election, which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party had won in a landslide while the military-backed party did poorly.

Independent election observers said they found no evidence of substantive irregularities, and the army takeover was met with widespread non-violent protests around the country.

Security forces used deadly force to disperse them, prompting armed resistance by the pro-democracy forces. The escalation of violence has since plunged Myanmar into what UN experts have described as a civil war.

Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, head of the ruling State Administration Council, said in a broadcast speech Monday that the state of emergency declared after last year's takeover was extended because time was needed to prepare for elections.

The military originally declared that new polls would be held a year after its takeover, but later said they would take place in 2023. There is considerable doubt they will be free and fair, because most of the leaders of Suu Kyi's party have been locked up, and there is a large chance the party itself will be dissolved by the courts.