The Myanmar military junta’s nationwide terror campaign against the people of Myanmar has rapidly plunged the country into an unprecedented political, human rights, and humanitarian crisis following the military’s coup attempt on 1 February 2021. Despite being targeted and terrorized by the military junta, the people’s Spring Revolution, together with the Ethnic Resistance Organizations (EROs), continues to gain momentum in its fight for federal democracy. As the junta’s illegal failed coup approaches its fourth year, EROs and the people’s resistance forces have not only vastly expanded their operational territory and inflicted severe damage to junta-controlled civil administration mechanisms, infrastructure, supply lines, and the morale of junta troops, but they have also established representative institutions and locally led civilian governance structures, administrations, and service provision in the country’s liberated areas. On the other hand, in retaliation, the military junta – as it continues to lose territorial control and is unable to gain international recognition and legitimacy – has intensified its war crimes and crimes against humanity against Myanmar’s people, more widely and systematically than ever before, as a form of collective punishment. As such, the military junta’s sham election plan represents one of the junta’s hallmark strategies to attempt to reverse its losses, appeal for legitimacy, regain control over the country, and once again clutch Myanmar’s people in its grip.
This briefing paper seeks to analyze the military junta’s road to seek legitimacy through a long-planned sham election, providing a holistic view of the junta’s current groundwork amidst its rapid losses to the resistance movement. There are four main sections: the failed coup and the formation of the people’s resistance movement; the military junta’s groundwork for the sham election; the domestic rejection of, and foreign governments’ mixed responses to, the junta’s sham election plan; and the junta’s failure to seize nationwide control of the country and the resistance movement’s fast-growing operational tempo. The paper further proposes key recommendations to the international community to completely denounce the military junta’s illegal and calculated sham election plan. Instead, the world must actively support the people of Myanmar in their quest for genuine federal democracy, sustainable peace, freedom, and justice.
The paper draws on desk research, including reports and statements by election observers, local humanitarian responders, local media, and civil society organizations from mid-2020 to January 2024.
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 Following the Myanmar military’s attempted coup in 2021, the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) that have joined the Spring Revolution and resisted the military junta are now called Ethnic Resistance Organizations (EROs).