30 March 2023
The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) strongly condemns the Myanmar junta’s mass dissolution of political parties in Myanmar, including the National League for Democracy (NLD), which has been at the forefront of democratic aspirations of the people of Myanmar. The move by the junta is another blatant attempt to suppress opposition voices and undermine the will of the people, following its unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 elections won by the NLD.
On 29 March 2023, the junta-appointed Union Election Commission announced the dissolution of 40 political parties through an official announcement published in state media. This announcement came after the introduction of a new Political Party Registration Law in January 2023 that requires existing political parties to re-register within 60 days or face dissolution. Furthermore, parties that compete nationwide must recruit 100,000 members within three months, establish offices in at least half of the country’s 330 townships, and contest in at least half of all constituencies.
The new law fails to meet international standards in respecting the rights of political parties to organize and run in elections by disproportionately limiting their freedoms of association. Any conditions placed on political parties and candidate registration should be reasonable and not discriminatory. These heavy restrictions imposed by the junta will only exacerbate the crisis in Myanmar, leading to further violence and unrest.
This latest move by the junta is part of a wider campaign of repression against political opposition, including the arbitrary detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and others, as well as the execution, torture and extrajudicial killings of lawmakers. The junta’s continuous crackdowns and preparation for a potentially violent “election” are all indications that the military junta is not interested in genuine democracy.
ANFREL reiterates its support to the people of Myanmar in their struggle for a return to civilian rule. We urge the junta to immediately reverse its decision to dissolve the NLD, release all political prisoners, and engage in a meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders to restore democracy and ensure the protection of human rights in Myanmar.
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