The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) published an updated report on the situation in Myanmar. During May 17-23, many events took place. However, armed clashes between soldiers of the military junta and massive civilian resistance troops occurred in various regions.
Military versus civilian resistance forces
Opposing to a military coup, adding to the fierce fighting between the military and ethnic soldiers before the 2021 coup, civilian resistance forces were involved in gun clashes with military forces. It was noted that from various media referred to by ANFREL, military forces faced resistance from the Kachin Independent Army (KIA), Karen National Union (KNU), Free Burma Ranger Karenni (FBRK), Chin Defense Force (CDF), Chinland Defense Forces, and People’s Defense Force (PDF).
Armed clashes between the military and civilians took place in Kayah state, Mindat Township in Chin State, Phekhone in South Shan State, Moebyel and Mu Se Townships in Shan State, as well as in Loikaw, Phasaung, Demoso, Moebyel and Bawlake. As a result, the military junta cut water supplies, and many residents fled to the forests.
The military also raided villages, including Thalin Village in Kani Township, Sagaing Region, and Si Thar Village in the Magway Region. The village head and administrative officials were the targets of both parties. Village heads who supported the Junta government were victims of attacks by civilian soldiers, while village heads who were anti-military coup were subjected to military violence.
It was also reported that the military recruited Rawang ethnic based in Kachin State to fight against KIA and PDF.
Meeting with the UEC
On May 21, the Junta-formed Union Election Commission (UEC) held a meeting with political parties in Nay Pyi Taw. 59 political parties joined, not including the National League for Democracy (NLD) Party, the National League for Shan Democracy, the Arakan National Party, and the Democratic Party for a New Society. During the meeting, the chairperson of the UEC, a military junta, announced that it would disband the NLD because it had committed election fraud.
Narratives of cheating by the NLD continue to broadcast by the junta. Through the state-owned newspaper, Myawaddy, the Junta accused the NLD of getting financial assistance from the International Foundation for Election System (IFES) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) to win the November 2020 elections.
Sanctions against counter-democracy corporations
May 17, Britain announces sanctions on Myanmar Gems Enterprise (MGE), a distributor of jade and precious stones, for its support of the military junta. MGE is considered to have a role in subverting Myanmar democracy and is responsible for violence and human rights violations against the Myanmar people.
According to the Political Prisoners Assistance Association (AAPP), as of May 23, 818 people had been victims of the Junta killings. 4,296 people are currently detained and 95 people have been sentenced.
Previously, 1,822 prisoners had been issued on bail. However, 20 people were sentenced to death.
The federal democracy is echoed by the Shan State Restoration Council. According to the Council, only by forming a federal state based on a democratic political system can peace in Myanmar be created.
No different from the wishes of the council, the leader of the junta, Min Aung Hlaing also said that Myanmar should take the form of a multiparty federal state. This will be pursued within one year.
The results of the Myanmar Election are recognized by ANFREL and the European Union
ANFREL’s election observation report did identify that the postponement of the election, the deprivation of the rights of Rohingya and other ethnic minority voters in the Myanmar elections in November 2020. However, overall, the election represented the wishes of the 27.5 Myanmar people who had cast their votes. All parties should acknowledge the results of the Myanmar Election.
Following ANFREL, the European Union also released a statement recognizing the results of the Myanmar elections. These elections are monitored by domestic and international election observers. No massive electoral fraud can void the election results.