Myanmar Unites in Opposition to Junta Election

By Hein Htoo Zan 2 February 2023

Despite extending military rule for another six months, Myanmar’s regime still insists it will hold a general election without providing any timeframe.

Resistance groups have been targeting attempts to prepare for an election since preparations started last month.

In areas of Sagaing and Magwe regions, where the junta is no longer in control, voter registration cannot be conducted by the junta.

Armed resistance groups and activists tell The Irrawaddy how they are resisting the junta’s election plans.

Vivienne, spokeswoman for the Yangon District People’s Brigade

The Yangon District People’s Brigade logo

We have had several regimes trying to retain power with sham elections. This time it is our responsibility to stop the same malpractice.

Our core ambition is to uproot the dictatorship and support the establishment of a genuine federal democracy. As armed revolutionary fighters, we will use weapons too. You will see how we will prevent the election as we cannot give the details of our plans.

Except for the military-linked parties, why would anyone else take part in a sham election? If other parties continue ignoring the people’s will, they will be recorded in history as traitors and have no reputation.

The international community must know this is an illegitimate election. More than 50 million people oppose it. We only accept the outcome of the 2020 general election. Foreign countries should stand together with us.

If this election is held successfully, our situation will worsen.

Our group was formed to protect the people and to get our power back. We will always avoid harming innocent civilians in our operations. This does not include Pyu Saw Htee militia members, who are trained and armed by the regime, and anyone working for the junta.

Ko Nan Lin, co-founder of the University Students’ Union Alumni Force and spokesman for the General Strike Coordination Body

Ko Nan Lin, co-founder of the University Students’ Union Alumni Force and spokesman for the General Strike Coordination Body

There is growing opposition to the election plans in resistance strongholds. Our slogan is, “We’ll fight the illegitimate and sham election with the power of the people.”

An election needs public participation so we will organize and encourage the people to refuse to cooperate.

The political parties planning to run should know we don’t want more enemies. Our common enemy is the junta.

But we will condemn any group that props up the dictatorship. The people will see them as enemies. Those parties shall be punished by the people.

We are unsatisfied with the policies of neighboring countries. We need international support and for foreign countries to know it is a sham election to enable military rule to continue.

U Nay Zin Lat, Kantbalu Township MP, Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw member and Kantbalu People’s Defense Force commander

U Nay Zin Lat, the Kantbalu People’s Defense Force commander

The junta is preparing to collect voter lists in Kantbalu. This is a sham election and explain to them that we need to stand together bravely.

Our township has over 300 villages and the junta controls about 50 of them. We do not have to respond to the election with violence at the moment.

People are not interested in the election at all and do not want to vote.

A political party depends on public support and if they take part in an illegal election, they will suffer in the long run.

The international community will not recognize the election because it is just an escape route for the regime.

Amara, spokeswoman for the Myaung Women Warriors

The Myaung Women Warriors logo

We have to work harder to break junta control in Myaung Township. Its administration cannot operate already and we have to prevent the regime from holding a sham election in our township. We will protect the people when they oppose the election.

Successive dictators have exploited our country since 1962. It will continue. They are our common enemy.

Parties contesting the election will become a common enemy too. I want to remind it.

Foreign governments must not support this terrorist regime. Our history shows how previous dictators have held fake elections. If they respect fairness and freedom they should exert pressure on the junta. They should send more support to the resistance.

We all respect Acting President Duwa Lashi La. We need to protect the people. We shall always prioritize their safety.

Every day we share precise conflict information with residents. We will guard anyone opposing the junta’s election.