Conflicts & War

Myanmar junta enacts tough law on political parties ahead of elections

Bangkok, Jan 27 (EFE).- The military junta, which has ruled Myanmar since seizing power in a coup almost two years ago, has enacted a strict law on political parties that threatens to quell opposition in the general elections scheduled to be held before August this year.

The law, published Friday in the official newspaper The Global New Light of Myanmar, decrees that an organization “declared as an unlawful association or terrorist organization” or those that “are in contact with the said organization or providing support to them either directly or indirectly” will not be registered as political parties.

This provision, also applicable to individuals, implies a de facto veto of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of ousted and imprisoned leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the elections held in November 2020.

The Myanmar junta justified the coup, citing alleged electoral fraud in the now-annulled results of those elections.

In addition, the law establishes that parties that want to take part in the polls must have at least 100,000 members within 90 days of registering for the elections and have funds worth at least 100 million kyat ($45,500), which is 100 times the amount stipulated by the previous law, enacted in 2010.

After the promulgation of the law, parties registered under the previous regulation have a period of 60 days to register under the new legislation.

Since the coup, the Myanmar authorities have harassed dozens of NLD members, sentenced dozens more to prison, and executed a former NLD lawmaker in July for allegedly carrying out acts of terrorism.

Many of the most prominent NLD officials who escaped jail are in exile or live in hiding within the country.

Some have formed a parallel National Unity Government (NUG), designated a terrorist group by the military.

The leader of the military junta, General Min Aung Hlaing announced that elections will be held on a yet-to-be-specified date before August this year.

Many analysts view the move as an attempt by the junta to gain legitimacy before the international community. EFE


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