Myanmar’s military-controlled election commission has announced that the party of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be dissolved for failing to re-register under a new electoral law, according to state television.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) party was among 40 political parties that failed to meet the ruling military’s registration deadline for an election, Myawaddy TV said in an evening bulletin on Tuesday.
In January, the military gave political parties two months to re-register under a strict new electoral law ahead of fresh polls it has promised to hold but which its opponents say will be neither free nor fair.
The NLD has said it would not contest what it calls an illegitimate election.
“We absolutely do not accept that an election will be held at a time when many political leaders and political activists have been arrested and the people are being tortured by the military,” Bo Bo Oo, one of the elected lawmakers from Suu Kyi’s party, said on Tuesday.
In November 2020, the NLD had won a landslide victory in the country’s parliamentary elections. But less than three months later, the army carried out a coup and jailed Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Nobel laureate, 77, is serving prison sentences totalling 33 years after being convicted in a series of politically tainted prosecutions brought by the military. Her supporters say the charges were contrived to keep her from actively taking part in politics.
Army justifies the coup
The army justified the coup by saying there was a massive poll fraud, though independent election observers did not find any major irregularities.
Some critics of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who led the takeover and is now Myanmar’s top leader, believe he acted because the vote thwarted his own political ambitions.
No date has been set for the new polls. They had been expected by the end of July, according to the army’s own plans.
But in February, the military announced an unexpected six-month extension of its state of emergency, delaying the possible legal date for holding an election.
It said security could not be assured. The military does not control large swaths of the country, where it faces widespread armed resistance to its rule.
More than 3,100 people have been killed and over 20,000 arrested since the coup, according to a local monitoring group.
Myanmar’s military has been accused of indiscriminate killings of civilians as it engages in major offensives to suppress the armed resistance opposed to its takeover of the government two years ago.