Myanmar Junta to Dissolve Suu Kyi’s Political Party, Report Says

Myanmar’s junta-appointed election authorities will dissolve the political party of detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a local news outlet reported, all but ensuring the army and its proxies will win an election planned for next year.

Thein Soe, chair of the Union Election Commission, said Friday the National League for Democracy would be dissolved due to allegations of fraud during last year’s election and its leaders would be prosecuted as traitors, local news outlet Myanmar Now reported. The NLD won a landslide in the vote, which was deemed credible by the international observers.

Suu Kyi, who has been confined to her home since the Feb. 1 coup, has been formally charged with six criminal offenses including incitement and violating the Official Secrets Act.

The announcement comes one day after reports emerged that the junta in February lifted the mandatory retirement age of 65 for its leaders, according the Irrawaddy. That would allow army chief Min Aung Hlaing, 64, to continue in his post. He now serves as chairman of the State Administration Council formed during the coup, making him Myanmar’s de facto leader.

Any move to disband Suu Kyi’s political party would show further defiance to the U.S. and its allies, Europe and even Southeast Asian neighbors that have tried to broker a dialogue with opposition groups. Security forces have killed more than 800 protesters and arrested more than 5,300, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Following the coup, the army pledged to hold fresh elections following a state of emergency that could last as long as two years. Western governments have imposed sanctions on top military leaders and their families in response to the junta’s takeover.

Myanmar’s military has struggled to wrangle control of the country since the coup due to a widespread civil disobedience movement comprising students, civil servants and even diplomats. The unrest has sent the economy into freefall, with persistent work stoppages disrupting business and foreign investors spurning the country.

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