Myanmar’s military junta has held talks with three ethnic armed groups about holding elections in rebel-held areas, said one of the group’s spokesmen. Leaders of the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), United Wa State Party (UWSP), and the National Democratic Alliance Forces – have largely avoided escalating the conflict that has dominated the country since the February 2021 military coup – State media reported on Friday that the meetings will take place in the capital Naypyidaw over several days. A spokesman for his SSPP, which administers the northern Shan state territory, said the military “requested to hold free and fair elections in our region.”For our part, we have no intention of opposing their choice,” a spokesperson told Agence France-Presse.
The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar also reported on talks between ethnic leaders and military leaders. A UWSP spokesman did not respond to AFP’s request for comment on the meeting. The Myanmar military held talks with five smaller ethnic rebel groups last month, after which they issued a joint statement supporting the government’s election plans. There are about 20 ethnic rebel groups in Myanmar, and for decades they have fought each other over autonomy and control of the lucrative drug trade and natural resources in the border areas that fund the armed groups. , also fought with the national army.
The holding of general elections is widely seen as an attempt to normalize the military’s takeover of power through the ballot box and bring about results that ensure that the generals take the lead. We have spent the last two years trying to undermine the opposition. The military takeover of 2021 has reversed nearly a decade of progress toward democratization after 50 years of military rule. Thousands were arrested, including democratically elected former leader Aung San Suu Kyi. She was sequestered by the military, and after constant court hearings, she was sentenced to her 33-year prison term on corruption charges. Her supporters and independent analysts say the trial against Aung San Suu Kyi will damage her reputation and prevent her from voting in elections previously announced by her army in August this year.