Election 2020

Myanmar’s Coup Leaders Name a New Union Election Commission

By The Irrawaddy 3 February 2021

YANGON— Myanmar’s military regime has appointed a new version of the country’s Union Election Commission (UEC) to oversee a post-coup do-over vote after rejecting the results of the November 2020 election in which the National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory.

The Tatmadaw’s newly-appointed electoral body includes six members led by chairman U Thein Soe. He is believed to be a former military’s judge advocate general who oversaw the 2010 general election, a poll that was widely seen as rigged. The Irrawaddy couldn’t reach the military for the confirmation.

The junta-run election in 2010 was widely viewed to have manipulated advance votes to ensure power was handed over to the military’s political proxy, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

In that 2010 vote, former major general U Thein Soe’s commission barred international media and foreign observers from covering the election. The NLD and many pro-democracy parties boycotted the 2010 election, citing unfair election laws and rules.

Among the members of this new iteration of the UEC is U Thaung Tin, founder of KMD Computer Group. U Thaung Tin had served as deputy minister for the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology under the quasi-civilian government of U Thein Sein. His appointment to the new UEC has prompted criticism, with netizens urging a boycott of KMD.

The office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services said in an announcement released after the Monday coup that “a free and fair” election will be held and power will be transferred to the winning party.

Several political parties and elected representatives in the 2020 vote called on the military to accept the November election results and release the detained leaders of the NLD.

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