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Myanmar army pledges new elections, power transfer following coup

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A group pf Myanmar activists chant slogans during a protest outside the United Nations university building in Tokyo on February 1, 2021 following a military coup in the country by a general after arresting civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior officials. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)

Myanmar’s army said Monday it will hold fresh elections and hand power to the winning party once a year-long state of emergency has elapsed, hours after carrying out a coup.

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“We will perform real multi-party democracy… with complete balance and fairness,” a statement on the army’s official Facebook page said.

The military claims last year’s election, which saw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy win in a landslide, was riddled with massive voter fraud.

Unable to accept the result, the army staged a coup early Monday.

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The statement was issued hours after the army took power, detaining de facto leader Suu Kyi, declaring a state of emergency and appointing ex-general Myint Swe as acting president.

It said that power will be transferred to the winning party after “holding a free and fair general election and the emergency provisions period is complete.”

According to Myanmar’s constitution — scripted by the army — a nationwide state of emergency can be declared for up to a year.

But given the coup and the army’s near-total control of the country, that timeframe is within their power to change.

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