ELECTION 2015
Irrawaddy.org
Latest
MILITARY

Army Chief Repeats Vow to Respect Election Outcome, Pledges ‘No Coup’

Min Aung Hlaing repeated a vow Monday to respect the outcome of the Nov. 8 election, pledging the military would not intervene, regardless of the result.


RANGOON — Burma’s army chief repeated a vow on Monday to respect the outcome of the country’s Nov. 8 general election, pledging that the military would not intervene, regardless of the result.

“There were two coups in the country in 1962 and 1988. They were to fill a power vacuum at that time,” Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing said at a press conference in Naypyidaw on Monday.

“But I personally dislike military takeovers. In short, I have no plans for a military coup [and] the military has no plans for it.”

Min Aung Hlaing also pledged to facilitate a free and fair vote at polling stations in military cantonment areas, while conceding there would be some security restrictions.

“Apart from the restrictions, we will stick to UEC regulations,” Min Aung Hlaing said at the press conference which followed a meeting with members of the Interim Press Council and local journalists.

He did not elaborate on what possible electoral restrictions may be imposed.

During the more than two-hour long meeting, the commander-in-chief fielded questions on a range of topics, including his recent visit to Israel, constitutional amendments, the ongoing nationwide ceasefire process and the controversial appointment of military personnel to civilian departments in recent weeks.

Regarding his trip to Israel earlier this month, Min Aung Hlaing said he discussed Israeli collaboration in helping to upgrade the Burma Army into a “standard army,” cooperation in technology and noncombat related training and on exploring ways to promote the relationship between the nations’ armed forces, according to a press release made available to the media.

The army chief told journalists that constitutional amendments would depend on the stability of the country, the state of the reform process and issues of ethnic conflict. He reemphasized that amendments must be made in accordance with Chapter 12 of the military-drafted charter.

The chapter contains Article 436(a) which stipulates that major amendments must be approved by more than 75 percent of lawmakers, effectively granting veto power to the military which holds a quarter of seats in the legislature.

On the peace process, Min Aung Hlaing expressed confidence that the nationwide ceasefire agreement would be signed soon and said the Burma Army was ready to join as a signatory.

He said recent fighting in northern Shan State was caused by ethnic rebels encroaching on areas under the control of government troops—a charge denied by ethnic armed groups.

On Monday, representatives from the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Restoration Council of Shan State—armed groups involved in ongoing clashes with the Burma Army—told The Irrawaddy that sporadic fighting in northern Shan State was recurring due to government troops entering rebel-held territory.

Regarding the appointment of military personnel to key positions within the bureaucracy, Min Aung Hlaing said the appointments were not initiated by the army but undertaken at the request of relevant ministries, with government approval.

10 Comments
Bamar

Do we have to believe him ? Anyway military has veto power in the parlement. We been lied over 50 years.

Reply
kawthaw

Too early to say. Seems like the army is operating on its own. Wait until after the election.

Reply
tintin

Do you believe what he said? When the time come, he will resign and another idiot (Than Shwe man) will take control of the Min Aung Hlaing and do as Than Shwe said.

Reply
Igor

Even if many people will remain skeptical (as seen in the comments below the article), this is important pledge and I am ready to welcome it.

How I see the situation: Military is well protected behind the fortress of constitution. So it can sit in this fortress, autonomous, self-ruling, confident and strong and see how things will develop on the political scene. Military has more options than anybody else.

In addition to its own strength to exercise repression; and constitutional right to stage the coup, and veto right on any constitutional amendment, military has two more defense lines.

The first defense line which is deployed in the political space are USDP, other proxy parties, and more recently Ma Ba Tha.

But there is one more defense line. Military has deeply penetrated all state institutions by placing many ex-officers in the decision-making positions of those institutions. Military and ex-military has also deeply penetrated economy.

So it feels pretty safe behind those three defense lines: Constitutional Fortress; deeply penetrated state and economy; and spin-offed political players. So even if some of the political spin-offs does not perform well in the elections, military still do not need to rush into 1990-ies type of crackdown. Crackdown will be bad for economic growth and modernization which are desperately needed. It will again push Myanmar too much in the dominance of China.

So better to sit and wait. If USDP, other proxy parties, Ma Ba Tha and coopted ethnic parties will give enough seats in the parliament to elect the military nominee as the next president (be it Thein Sein or somebody else), that is the most desirable outcome.

But even if that will not happen, and NLD will have a say in who is next president and next government, military can sit and wait till the next government exhaust itself.

Next government, whoever it will be, will have damned hard job. Just name it:

– Continue extremely complex peace process
– Manage well-organized religious radicalism
– Manage huge expectations and demands of people who want jobs, salaries, low prices of commodities, electricity, roads, better education, better health etc. etc.

Myanmar military has always been good in winning by being very patient, by being strategic in sitting and waiting.

What is needed – civilian political players need to be strategically patient as well. Post-election government of the national reconciliation which will include NLD, ethnic parties and USDP (military will be there anyhow controlling Defense, Home Affairs, and Border Affairs) is still the best chance for this complex country to move forward.

Reply
Moe

Min Aung Hlaing do not need to coup. Now, he is not only the commander in chief of military, but also quarter of parliament and veto power in his pocket without even need to be elected.That made him a very powerful position in national politics.As long as he belong the cow and receive the share of milk, he is not stupid enough to butcher the cow. Staging coup could irreversible damage to his legacy.

Reply
Norman Hla

Rubbish child soldier ming aung hlaing, puppet monster thein sein, fox than shwe and stone face aung thaung are gang of four for destroying Burma continuously. Nobody would believe child soldier ming aung hlaing who is not efficient and incapable so needs to use jet fighters to suppress all ethnics. Israels and Jew would become money hunger if help bama military thugs. People power and all ethnics do not care if bama military takes coup or not in Burma because all thinks bama private army are nothing but trained for killers on monks, all ethnics, students and own people. All USDP are from bama private army, headed by fox than shwe.

Reply
TinYinThar

Every one is watching the elections – so many players with different interests, domestic as well as international. It would be stupid to blow it all away by using force. I hope both sides understand that clearly.

I agree with all the points Igor / Moe makes. Unity and collaboration is what is needed, no matter who wins in the election. There are a lot of big issues facing Myanmar, and everyone needs to put their heads together and work jointly at solving them.

However, I do have to point out that Norman Hla is still living in the past and spewing unrealistic un-constructive comments. Time to do some homework and read up the lessons below. For lack of better vocabulary or intelligence, you keep referring to the same things over and over again – child solider, fox Than Shwe, puppet, military thugs. Please put some thoughts into comments because you make the same ones in every article. It’s really mind-numbing.

Lesson #1: Please get this firmly in your head. Unless one is truly delusional, Min Aung Hlaing is not a clone of Than Shwe and ASSK is not her father. Whatever the legacy each has inherited, they are different individuals and they are not and will not act exactly the same as their predecessors. Don’t assume that MAH is equally bad as Than Shwe and ASSK is will be equally great as her father – I don’t believe in nepotism.

Lesson #2: In life they say, shit happens and then you die.
Shit happened in Myanmar. You can forever keep mentioning and holding onto the past, you won’t get to where to you go in the future. People say, Myanmar was #1 in the 60’s, richest country in ASEAN. Well unfortunately, I wasn’t born then and I didn’t benefit much. Do I wish I was born in a different country – richer, freer, fairer? Sometimes, sure. Perhaps then I wouldn’t have to work so hard to get out of poverty. Call it fate or whatever you wish, I was born here when the country was already very poor and should I forever cuss and blame the military government or Than Shwe (you mentioned Aung Thaung but you supported ASSK for partnering with Shwe Mann; Aung Thaung’s family and speaker are very tight, do you even know that?) for ruining the country or ASSK for the sanctions, or go back further to Ne Win. etc. Take things for what it is and do the best you can to improve your own situation and others. Only weak and incapable people keep blaming others and the circumstances they are born into FOREVER for their own misery and poor performance and never go anywhere.

Lesson #3: Calling other people bad names only makes one look stupid and juvenile. How do you know MAH is inefficient? Have you met and talked to him? Have you been a solider? In your opinion, all Myanmar soldiers are evil? If there’s no military at all, would Myanmar still have 7 states and 7 divisions? Perhaps northern Shan state will already be China and Rakhine would be part of India – just an exmple. Who knows? Would you bet your life that any other party than USDP would make Myanmar run so efficiently? Perhaps in your dream world but unlikely in real life. Do you think ASSK/NLD is a goddess with a magical wand that she will cure all ills and fix all the problems? Please be reasonable. If I’m a gullible idiot, then I would buy that Disney magic story. What makes you think that ASSK or other potential politicians are not corruptible? Are they gods? Power corrupts people – to varying degrees. Even if the leader of the state has the purest intentions, human beings are highly susceptible to desires and will always think for their own interests. From the top to bottom, there are multiple layers of commands and no leader of the world can give 100% guarantee that any government organization is corruption free. I also don’t believe in un-deliverable promises, either. But politicians over-promise and never delivers. ASSK will be no different. One can aspire to zero corruption but it’s very hard to achieve. Singapore on paper has done it by paying all the ministers S$1 million annual salaries hoping that that would curb their desire to take bribes. To some extent, it has worked. Unfortunately, Myanmar has no $$, it has to come up with other clever ways to control this but again, another problem that’s not easily solvable for Myanmar.

Reply
Mong Pru

NLD doesn’t have a clear stand … it says it trusts Bama military, why? Because NLD was removed from the scene in 1990? NLD has already lost all its trust because it speaks and acts like Bama military team 2. NLD doesn’t have a clear policy for the minorities. For the majority too it failed to stand strong in support of democratic reforms. The military veto … well I don’t understand why should the democratic world believe that it is democracy? The basic flaws int he constitution will never bring true democracy to Burma. It is time the world has totally ignored whatever these uniformed goons have written, spoken and used threats, it is time the world in unison removed these goon from the scene. True to the spirit of global village, Burma must act as decent democracy, rather than military dictated shit!

Reply

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.