Our opinions upon the upcoming election? Temporary suspension of issuing passports

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – January 02 Scenes
MoeMaKa, January 03, 2023

Our opinions upon the upcoming election? Temporary suspension of issuing passports

There are only a few months left to announce the election, which is expected to be held in August 2023. There are some options to choose from; whether the military council will really hold an election, whether it will be a repeat of another state of emergency, or whether it will blatantly declare a military coup and continue by abolishing the 2008 constitution.


It is generally concluded that the military council expects the situation to resemble that of the 2010 election by stating that the 2008 constitution is not repealed and holding the re-election. Looking at the New Year’s speech given by the leader of the military council on January 1st, he said that he would also try to hold the election in the ethnic areas without any gaps. If you look at this point, holding elections is the only way to try to reduce the pressure on the military council, and the election does not mean that the military will lose its power, but it is a plot that the USDP party (Union Solidarity and Development Party), led by retired generals from the military, will work to gain power.


In the past year of 2010, the junta held an election and tried to make themselves elected so that they could announce that they were a semi-civilian government and show the world that they gained power through an election. U Thein Sein’s government, which won the election and formed the government mostly comprised of members of the USDP party, did not gain the trust of the international community at the beginning, but later on, it was accepted by the international community through steps to reform.


However, the background situations of the 2010 election and the election that will be held in 2023 are different. During the 2010 election, the military was able to hold on to power, and there were no such widespread armed conflicts in the country. At the time of the 2023 election, armed conflicts are not confined to the border areas, but are taking place along the strategic north-south roads and waterways in the middle and upper parts of Myanmar.


It is a time when there are widespread anti-coup underground movements, which are generally called urban guerillas in the cities, that will disturb the military administration, and when there are many regions, townships, and villages that the administrative mechanism does not reach.


There are also doubts about the fact that elections will be held under these conditions. However, the military council will use the upcoming election to deceive the international community, expecting that the international pressure will be reduced to a certain extent and to show it has gained power through the election domestically. This election will also be an opportunity to make them legitimate politically. It is too early to say whether it will actually succeed or not, but it is true that the world situation is not the same as the background situation in 2010.


As for the international community, rather than holding elections in Myanmar or not, they want the atrocious acts in Myanmar to end, such as killings, arrests, and torture of civilians using weapons.


They are conducting the act, which is called “A Kyan Phat Hmu’ in Myanmar and “violence” in English, where they use force to bully and threaten brutally and use power to arrest and kill civilians and burn down civilian houses. The international community is pushing and applying pressure to end these acts.


There is no dispute and is clear that the NUG will not recognize the election. But it is necessary to give more instructions on how to act to civilians and political parties not related to the military council who are unable to refuse but are likely to participate in the election. These days, we can see that there are preparations in states and divisions to collect and confirm the population by taking consensus on the ground. It is also seen that civil organizations and charity organizations are being called to help in taking the population census by the military council. It will be necessary to discuss and decide what the attitude will be towards these activities and towards the political parties that will participate in the election after the announcement of the election date. 


Another piece of news for today is that today, on January 2, the day the office reopens in 2023, it was announced that the passport issuing process that has thousands of people queuing up every day to apply for passports will be temporarily suspended. 2,500 to 3,000 people were applying for passports daily in Yangon alone, and various cities of state and divisional headquarter were also issuing passports.


Economic decline, job scarcity, and the increased risk of being arrested as a result of the armed conflict have caused young people to go abroad to work. According to research done by the International Organization for Migration called IOM, about 40,000 Myanmar nationals are leaving to work abroad every month.