Myanmar military junta leader pledges to restore democracy

Bangkok, Aug 1 (EFE).- Myanmar’s military junta leader Min Aung Hlaing on Sunday pledged to restore democracy in the country when the situation stabilizes and expressed willingness for mediation from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

I guarantee the establishment of a union based on democracy and federalism,” Hlaing said, without giving any dates for an election, during a speech on state broadcaster MRTV.

It has been six months since the military seized power in Myanmar through a coup and imprisoned several political leaders, including the Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto ruler at the time.

In this regard, he stressed that free and fair elections were the vital foundation of a multi-party democracy and recognized the need for restoring it, but did not divulge any specific dates for the elections.

The military justified the coup, which ended a democratic process they had designed a decade earlier, on grounds of alleged electoral fraud in the November elections in which Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide like it had done in 2015.

During his speech, General Hlaing also expressed willing to accept ASEAN mediation, in line with the agreement reached with the other nine nations of the bloc during the April summit in Jakarta.

“Myanmar is ready to work on ASEAN cooperation within the ASEAN framework including the dialogue with the ASEAN Special Envoy in Myanmar,” he said.

In the five-point consensus agreed with ASEAN in April, the junta leader also pledged to stop violence against civilians.

Following the imposition on military rule, Myanmar has seen an uprising by the people, resulting in a brutal crackdown by the authorities, which has caused at least 939 deaths and has resulted in the arbitrary arrest of 6,990 opponents of the regime, according to the nonprofit Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. EFE


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