Election 2020

Ex-Military Generals’ Party Broke Law, Myanmar Election Commission Says

By Zue Zue 10 December 2020

YANGON—Myanmar’s election body said the Democratic Party of National Politics (DNP) led by former military generals breached the Political Parties Registration Law by “unlawfully” criticizing it.

The DNP released statements on Nov. 6 and Nov. 9 claiming electoral fraud in the Nov. 8 general election and accusing the chairman and members of the Union Election Commission (UEC) and officials of its sub-commissions at different levels of failing to perform their duties as specified in the 2008 Constitution and the Election Commission Law, and of violating other laws.

The UEC said the wording of the statements amounted to threats against election officials and disrespect for the electoral process, adding that the party must file complaints about electoral malpractice and fraud in line with the country’s election laws and bylaws.

The election body also accused the party of disrespecting the election laws and bylaws, and the Political Parties Registration Law and bylaw.

Citing Section 402 of the 2008 Constitution, the commission said its decision is final and conclusive when it comes to election procedures. Under Section 86 of Myanmar’s election laws, the UEC and its subcommissions shall not be interrogated by any court regarding their actions and decisions under the election laws.

Under Section 24 of the Political Parties Registration Law, the UEC can either suspend a party for three years or abolish it if the party fails to follow the Political Parties Registration Law, bylaws, procedures, notifications, orders and instructions or any provision of existing laws.

U Nay Win Naing, program director at The Fifth Pillar, an election monitoring group, said, “The UEC has issued a warning now. If the party breaches existing laws or attempts to distort the election results in the future, it may even be abolished.”

DNP chairman U Soe Maung earlier said he filed a complaint against the UEC at the Supreme Court of the Union, and the court has reportedly accepted the case. However, U Nay Win Naing said the reports that the Supreme Court had agreed to hear the case had not been confirmed. And except for writs, complaints cannot be filed directly with the Supreme Court, he said.

The Irrawaddy was unable to obtain a comment from DNP chairman U Soe Maung.

The DNP was registered with the UEC in May 2019. It fielded candidates in over 100 constituencies in the Nov. 8 general elections, but did not win a single seat.

The party is led by U Soe Maung, who served as President’s Office minister during the U Thein Sein administration. He was a close confidant of former military regime leader U Than Shwe, and served as the military’s advocate-general before becoming President’s Office minister. He was also a member of the military commission that drafted the 2008 Constitution.

Another senior figure in the DNP is U Lun Maung, a former military officer who served as auditor-general in U Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government until he was asked to leave the post in 2012. He has since run a restaurant in Mon State’s Bilin Township and kept a low-profile.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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