Photo: Agence France-Presse A coordinated offensive by three ethnic groups in late October inflicted an unprecedented series of setbacks on Myanmar's ruling military junta. Pictured is a soldier from the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).
France Media Agency in Rangoon
Myanmar's ruling generals on Wednesday decreed the extension of the state of emergency for another six months, de facto once again postponing the elections promised since the February 1, 2021 coup.
“Acting President U Myint Swe announced the extension of the state of emergency for another six months” following a meeting of the national defense and security council in the capital Naypyidaw, the junta said in a press release.
This decision is necessary “because the situation has not returned to normal and to allow the fight against terrorists to continue”, it is written.
The military will do “whatever is necessary to restore stability to the country,” junta leader Min Aung Hlaing commented later, speaking Wednesday evening on state television. MRTV. He also promised to provide more aid to civilian militias supporting the ruling generals.
The National Defense and Security Council discussed “preparations to organize elections with several parties” and the holding of a national census operation, essential for the vote, without giving further details.
This announcement, while the state of emergency was supposed to expire on January 31 at midnight, comes during a difficult period for the army, contested on a military level to an extent not seen since the putsch.
This is a “totally expected extension for a crumbling regime”, analyzed independent expert David Mathieson.
The generals declared a state of emergency after dislodging elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power, beginning a period of repression against supporters of a return to democracy.
The army justified its action by claiming fraud during the 2020 legislative elections, won hands down by the party of the Nobel Peace Prize winner. Baseless accusations, according to human rights groups.
Defeats of the army
Since then, the state of emergency has been renewed several times, in a context of widespread civil conflict in several regions, between the army and its political and ethnic opponents.
The Myanmar Constitution of 2008, written by the army and which the junta claims to respect, requires the authorities to organize a vote within six months following the lifting of the state of emergency.
A coordinated offensive by three ethnic groups at the end of October inflicted an unprecedented series of setbacks on the junta in Shan State (north), a region close to the Chinese border.
The alliance composed of the Arakan Army (AA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance (MNDAA) and the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) notably took control of two strategic trade routes with China, Myanmar's main economic partner.
Thousands of troops surrendered and some fled to India and China, prompting unusual criticism from army supporters.
Talks under the auspices of Beijing have made it possible to establish a ceasefire in this area, to the advantage of the coalition of insurgents who have retained their captures, but the fighting is rage in other parts of this Southeast Asian country.
The defeats inflicted on Naypyidaw have galvanized the armed pro-democracy groups who continue their assaults, despite summary means facing an army supported by China and Russia.
More than 4,400 people have been killed in the post-coup crackdown and 25,000 others have been arrested, according to a local monitoring group.
The junta has accused its enemies, whom it describes as “terrorists,” of killing more than 6,000 civilians.
The clashes have displaced more than two million people across the country since the coup, according to the United Nations.