The election and Any Other Clear Alternatives  

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – October 15 Scenes
MoeMaKa, October 16 2022

The election and Any Other Clear Alternatives  

Regarding the elections to be held by the military council in 2023, reactions within the country and comments from some powerful countries are gradually emerging. The military council has spoken of this path since the military coup in 2021, and some see the election as a way to reduce the political pressure that will come on the coup military council.

Some may see that as a way of solving things politically. Comparing the situations at the time of the coup in 1962, 1988 and 2021, the promise to hold the election, the fairness and freedom of the election etc., it seems to be evaluated from various perspectives whether it is a possible promise or a deception.

At the time of the 1962 military coup, power was seized from the situation where democracy had developed to a certain extent, and there were fragmentations of political parties, personal rivalry among politicians, some of the politicians and parties who tried to use the army. General Nay Win, Commander-in-Chief at the time, took advantage of the politicians outside the military and some military leaders with political aims and seized power. Neither the western group, which was in a neutral standing during the Cold War, nor the eastern group saw him as an enemy, and they regarded it as a purely domestic affair. Then, he tried to transform the military coup into a legitimate government under the title of Socialism, which was popular at that time.

At that time, U Nu, the leader of the ousted Clean Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (Clean AFPFL) government, was released after being detained for a certain period. After that, U Nu went abroad on the pretext of pilgrimage and made a strategy for armed revolt against U Ne Win. After nearly a decade, the attempt to overthrow the military coup government by armed revolt was slowed down and stopped. In addition to issues such as policy commitment, relations, and self-controlled territory with ethnic armed groups, according to international strategies, if a civil war does not coincide with local geopolitics and interests, it should be said that there are factors that do not provide practical help.

The 1988 military coup cannot be fully claimed as a coup, but it can only be said that the country’s power was retaken after giving a few weeks of freedom. At that time of the coup, the promise to hold a new election was given, but it did not guarantee how fair the election would be.

The 1990 election was fair to a certain extent, but failure to implement the results of the election caused the inability to escape from the political crisis that lasted almost three decades. The civil war continued, and it can be said that there were not many attacks, explosions, and assassinations across the country as in this 2021 coup.

The election promised by the coup army after the 2021 military coup may probably be held around the middle of 2023. It seems necessary to evaluate whether this election is a political exit of the military council or whether the military council will hold elections with the intention of deceiving the rest of the political forces. And if we don’t accept the election and reject it enough to not have to consider it, we need to have a political alternate path that matches the actual situation, in other words, a strategy to be able to follow our own path.

In today’s news, Melissa Brown, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific Bureau, commented that it is not yet time for Myanmar to hold another election.

Duwa Lashi La, Acting President of NUG, recently said, “On our side, we are working to respond realistically to the 2023 military council election. We will consider going beyond the level of destroying the 2023 election without fail, opposing it, and not recognizing it.” 

I believe for the NUG, military’s election meaning nothing to them because NUG has completely chosen the armed revolt path, whether elections are held or not. 

Rather than reacting to the election, I think it is important to be able to implement to forward the armed movement and to be in a position to threaten the military council. That path needs to have a defined  target dateand be a clear path.