In what wasn’t clearly defined, the Myanmar military has hinted that it may extend its ongoing state of emergency order for as long as two years.
The spokesman of the military, a top official of the military, Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun revealed this to Aljazeera during a weeklong tour of Yangon and Naypyidaw that ended on April 6.
Since coup February 1 military coup, Myanmar’s generals have largely stayed out of the limelight, secluded in the country’s ghost town capital of Naypyidaw amid the deadly crackdowns suppressing anti-coup protests.
Perhaps, in a move to showcase the military’s control of an increasingly desperate situation, the junta invited selected news outlets including CNN and Aljazeera on the tour organised by controversial military PR man Ari Ben-Menashe, to provide insight into the outlook and workings that has been shut out of the rest of the country.
Zaw Min Tun, though with emphasis on the military’s message of righteousness for seizing power and installing itself, noted during a conversation with the Globe that they would allow Myanmar to return to some form of civilian rule with no timeline given.
However, the General walked back the initial timeline of one year, suggesting the military could extend its ongoing state of emergency order for as long as two years.
“Within one year we are trying to stabilise the country, but if we can’t we will have to extend it six more months. And after that, another six months but that is it,” Zaw Min Tun said, referencing the maximum extension permitted by the military-drafted 2008 constitution.
“So two years maximum and after that, we will invite international actors to monitor a free and fair election.”
He also told the Southeast Asia Globe journalist that all political parties would be permitted to stand in any coming election. But he refused to answer when asked whether that promise would include the now-detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party, which has been charged with allegations of corruption and election rigging.
Zaw Min Tun refused to comment on the release of Aung Suu Kyi.
“I don’t have any comments on the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi or whether she is allowed to run in the upcoming elections, it depends on what she did in the past. If we find that she did bad things she will be punished,” Zaw Min Tun said.
“The NLD as a whole is also part of this ongoing interrogation but it will take time. For example, if someone has committed murder it will take time to determine if they are guilty.”