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Myanmar junta gov’t eases rules governing political parties

 Published: 15:31, 31 January 2024

Myanmar junta gov’t eases rules governing political parties

Myanmar's military junta has announced a relaxation of rules pertaining to the registration of political parties, as reported by state media on Wednesday, just hours before the expiration of a state of emergency.

The junta assumed control on February 1, 2021, alleging electoral fraud in the 2020 elections, which were convincingly won by the party led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Despite committing to holding fresh elections, the military has consistently prolonged the state of emergency imposed during the coup, engaging in ongoing confrontations with opposition forces across various regions of the country.
The newly issued directive, signed by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, brings about significant changes to the requirements for political party registration. Notably, the minimum membership threshold for parties to participate in national elections has been reduced by half to 50,000 members. Additionally, the order reduces the number of townships that parties must operate in. The announcement, however, does not provide any explanation for the modifications.
Prior to the coup, Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) had achieved overwhelming victories over military-aligned rivals in the elections. Suu Kyi co-founded the NLD in 1988 and secured a landslide win in the 1990 elections, which were later nullified by the ruling junta at the time.
The NLD consistently represented the democratic aspirations of the people in military-controlled Myanmar, registering significant successes over military-backed parties in the elections of 2015 and 2020. The recent changes in political party registration requirements signal a shift in the junta's approach, raising questions about the political landscape as the country navigates its path forward.

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