Nay Pyi Taw, June (2)

Russia has vowed to support the holding of general elections by the military council that has seized power by force over voter fraud.

During a meeting with military leader General Min Aung Hlaing on May 30 in Taunggyi, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Mr Sholban Kara-Ool stated that Russia will assist in ensuring the upcoming elections in Myanmar free and fair.

Before meeting with the military leader, Mr Sholban Kara-Ool met with the junta-appointed chairman of the Union Election Commission, U Thein Soe, that morning and discussed election issues, including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cooperate on elections between the two countries, according to the military council’s propaganda newspapers.

The fact that Russia will support the junta election has caused criticism among the public, and the election will not be a free and fair election due to the current political instability, according to analysts.

Veteran politician U Pe Than criticized Russia, saying that “Russia is saying that it will help the election of the military council, but it will only be successful if the people accept it, and Russia’s support encourages the military council to remain in power”.

Dr. Sai Kyi Zin Soe, a political analyst, said, “Russia’s attempt is further political support for the activities of the military council. There is still a lot to consider about whether it is possible or not to actually hold a general election when there is the issue of refugees fleeing from the villages”.

The military council, which has promised to hold elections again after the end of the state of emergency, is currently able to fully control only 198 townships, which is 60 percent of the country.

On the other hand, the junta leader admitted in a Defense and Security meeting held on January 31 that there are 67 townships that need to be focused on security, and 65 townships that need to provide effective security, and some rural areas need more security.

An election observer told Than Lwin Times that the military council will hold an election, but it is not yet possible because the election process has not been implemented on the ground.

He said, “At present, even all the leaders of the winning party have been put in jail, so how can there be a fair election? The military council seized power in the last election on the grounds of voter fraud, and they are focusing on an election system that will restore power only to the military”.

The military leader insisted that the election must be held, that it is the will of the people to vote or not, and that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that they can vote.

According to the union budget law, the military council increased defense spending to more than K 5,600 billion for the fiscal year 2023-2024, but only permitted more than K 28 billion to the Union Election Commission.

Compared to the more than K 52 billion approved for the Union Election Commission in the 2020–2021 fiscal year under the National League for Democracy (NLD) government, the current amount has been reduced by almost half.

On the other hand, there are 63 political parties that have applied for registration and party establishment permits in order to run in the multi-party democratic elections that will be held by the military council using the proportional representation (PR) system.

According to data from ISP-Myanmar, a research group, more than 8,000 clashes broke out in more than 190 townships across the country in the two years since the military coup.

News – Than Lwin Times

Photo: MOI

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