In the latest preparation for a general election, Myanmar’s junta-appointed Union Election Commission is calling for bids to supply polling equipment.
In the tender announcements in junta-controlled newspapers, the commission invites bids for plastic ballot boxes, voting booths, pens, envelopes, ballot papers, ropes, ink and badges. The deadline for submissions is October 30.
Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing told Russian news agency RIA last month of a possible delay to the planned election next year.
He said it is too early to discuss a possible delay because it was around five months until emergency rule expired and a decision had to be based on the economic recovery and security situation.
Under the military-drafted 2008 Constitution, the chief of the armed forces can impose emergency rule for one year and renew it twice for six months. Emergency rule has already been renewed twice and will expire on February 1 next year. The election must be held within six months of that date under the Constitution.
However, the regime is still struggling with nationwide armed resistance which is expected to escalate after the rainy season.
The acting president of the civilian National Unity Government Duwa Lashi La called it a fraudulent election to prolong military rule.
He called on the people to block plans for the rigged election through all means.
Holding an election is part of the junta’s five-point roadmap released after the 2021 coup. The regime has been amending electoral law and plans to replace the current first-past-the-post electoral system with proportional representation. The change is seen as favoring the military and its allied political parties by stopping the National League for Democracy from winning a landslide like in 1990, 2015 and 2020.
The military’s proxy and allied parties suffered humiliating defeats in the 2020 general election. Those parties will contest any junta election and the regime will presumably ensure they form a coalition.
It is widely believed that Min Aung Hlaing wants to be “elected” president and will probably be nominated for the presidency by the military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party, which recently elected his key ally as leader.