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‘People won’t accept a sham election’: Myanmar's UN envoy on military junta’s planned election

While a general election has been promised, critics have questioned whether it will be free and fair.

‘People won’t accept a sham election’: Myanmar's UN envoy on military junta’s planned election
The military junta has no legal authority and the people “will definitely not accept” its planned election later this year, Myanmar's UN ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun told CNA.

NEW YORK: Myanmar's military regime has no legal authority, and its plans to seek legitimacy by having a national election is likely “a sham”, said the country’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Kyaw Moe Tun. 

A junta-imposed state of emergency has been extended by another six months, after which the Constitution states that authorities must set in motion plans to hold fresh elections.

While a general election has been promised, critics have questioned whether it will be free and fair.


The military has “no kind of legal authority”, said Mr Kyaw Moe Tun in an interview with CNA. 

“They are illegal. They are illegitimate,” he added. “So whatever the election they are going to organise, the people will definitely not accept it. So that is why we always say that this election they are going to organise is a sham election.”

The career diplomat, who had previously served in Indonesia, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States, urged the international community to step up pressure on the military regime and end the violence in the country. 

Two years have passed since Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup and toppled the elected civilian government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, alleging massive fraud during elections won by her party in 2020.

Since then, more than 2,000 pro-democracy civilians have been killed battling the military junta. More than 1.4 million people have also been internally displaced since the coup, according to the UN.

“Killing, arrests, aerial bombings... There are massacres across the country. So we need to stop them,” said Mr Kyaw Moe Tun.

“So we urge the international community to help us. But until now, we have not had any decisive action from the international community in particular. Even though the UN Security Council adopted a resolution, it is very mild.”


The UN Security Council adopted its first resolution on Myanmar in 74 years on Dec 21, demanding an end to violence and urging the junta to release all political prisoners, including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. 

“We urge all the relevant stakeholders to implement all the provisions contained in the resolution,” said the ambassador. 

“We also urge the international community to make it happen. For example, the end of the violence, immediate release of all the political prisoners.”

Twelve members of the council voted in favour of the resolution. China and Russia, which have supported Myanmar’s military leaders, abstained from the UN vote, along with India. 

“It is very clear they are not with the military 100 per cent. That is a good sign for the people of Myanmar,” said Mr Kyaw Moe Tun of the abstentions. 

“I would like to urge China and Russia to listen to the people of Myanmar. We need help from all countries, whether near or far, but especially those who are our neighbours. 

“We urge them to listen to the people, pay attention to the aspirations of the people who are longing for a restoration of democracy, who are longing for a democratic union.”


Mr Kyaw Moe Tun also called on the current ASEAN chair Indonesia to engage with all the relevant stakeholders. 

The Southeast Asian bloc had agreed a five-point consensus to end hostilities in 2021, but there has been little sign of the junta implementing the plan, which includes an end to violence.

“Of course we need to wait and see how Indonesia will address the issue. They made a statement that they are willing to engage all relevant stakeholders, that is very encouraging for us,” he said.

“Once you engage with everyone, you will understand better, you will know better, that is the way you can find a solution.”

Meanwhile, the ongoing war in Ukraine in the past year has moved the world’s attention on developments there, with the West giving billions in military aid to the country.

While the international community should pay attention to the situation in Ukraine, they should also show their support for Myanmar, urged Mr Kyaw Moe Tun.

“At the same time, we hope that the international community will not forget the people of Myanmar, (and that) they will put more attention on the people of Myanmar.”

Source: CNA/ca(fk)


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