Reacting to a call by President Joe Biden’s newly installed Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Myanmar’s military has promised “a free and fair election” in 12 months.
In an article on an official military website summarising a meeting of the new junta, commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing was quoted as saying the coup was necessary to preserve “genuine discipline-flourishing multiparty democratic system”.
The military seized power on Monday in a coup against the democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD) party, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who the generals accuse of rigging the vote.
The junta’s statement gave no time-frame for elections, but a spokesman said earlier that the current state of emergency would last until 2022.
Suu Kyi has been detained along with other senior NLD members, including Myanmar President Win Myint.
The generals made their move hours before parliament was due to sit for the first time since the NLD’s landslide win in a November 8 election that was viewed in Myanmar and overseas as a referendum on Suu Kyi’s fledgling democratic government.
“We call on Burmese military leaders to release all government officials and civil society leaders and respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on November 8,” Secretary of State Blinken said.
Again in 2021! History is about to be repeated like in 1988. We couldn't let it happen again,guys, please help us in spreading what's happening in Myanmar.
– Military announces seizure of power
– Suu Kyi and other civilians arrested #SaveMyanmar #Myanmar pic.twitter.com/U0Gb2wzgg2
— Dae Kusae (@DKusae) February 1, 2021
“The United States stands with the people of Burma in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development. The military must reverse these actions immediately.”
His call for the troops to return to their barracks was echoed on the other side of the Atlantic by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“I condemn the coup and unlawful imprisonment of civilians, including Aung San Suu Kyi, in Myanmar,” Johnson said on Twitter.
“The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released.”