Myanmar’s military ruler promises to hold an election

Myanmar’s military ruler has promised to hold an election and hand power to the winner.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing was addressing the country on television, as nationwide protests against his coup last week intensified.

The military seized power last Monday, detaining democratically-elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her government, claiming there had been “huge discrepancies” in the November election.

General Hlaing did not say when the new election would be held or give any further details about it.

He made no mention of Ms Suu Kyi but said he had formed a government of “suitable ministers” and that they would create job opportunities and reopen factories, as well as prioritising prevention of the COVID-19 virus.

The junta would form a “true and disciplined democracy”, he said, trying to distance the situation from previous eras of brutal military rule.

Foreign policy would remain the same and countries would be encouraged to invest in Myanmar, he added.

Siobhan Robbins, Sky’s South East Asia Correspondent, said the general was “trying to calm people who we’ve seen on the streets in their tens of thousands”.

“I’m not sure this will stop people going out on the streets but what it might do is give them a little bit of heart that we might not see such a brutal crackdown – but there’s no guarantee of that.”

Protests continued in the cities of Myanmar on Monday, with video from the capital, Naypyidaw, showing water cannon bursts fired at a group of protesters for about five minutes.

Ms Suu Kyi’s government was the first led by civilians in decades, though its power was limited by a military-drafted constitution – a constitution General Hlaing insisted was still respected and followed by the military.

General Hlaing said again that irregularities in the election had been ignored and that the election commission had used COVID-19 as an excuse for restricting fair campaigning.

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