Chairman of Myanmar Military Govt’s Election Body Says NLD’s Win Invalid

By The Irrawaddy 26 February 2021

YANGON—The chairman of the military-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC), U Thein Soe, said the results of the 2020 general election, which brought a landslide victory to the National League for Democracy (NLD), were invalid.

The UEC met representatives of political parties in Naypyitaw on Friday in the first such meeting since Myanmar’s military staged a coup on Feb. 1. After the coup, the military formed a new commission to hold a new election, claiming that November’s vote was marred by fraud.

“The chairman of the new commission said the State Administrative Council [of the military regime] had taken control of the three branches of power, and confirmed that the results of the previous election are no longer valid,” said U Kaung Myint Htut, the president of the Myanmar National Congress Party, who was present at the meeting.

So far, the UEC has not made any official announcement about the election result, however.

At the meeting, the chairman repeatedly claimed that there were errors in the voter lists and that fraud had been committed in the November general election. U Kaung Myint Htut said some of the party representatives at the meeting asked what action would be taken against the NLD government for alleged vote rigging, according to some who attended.

Some party leaders even urged the UEC chairman to take action against political parties, including the NLD, that boycotted the meeting.

The UEC’s decision was condemned by not only NLD lawmakers ousted by the coup, but also members of other political parties.

Daw Khine San Hlaing, an elected MP and an NLD executive member, told The Irrawaddy that the declaration that the election result was invalid was illegitimate, as it came from the regime.

“As long as people recognize us as their representatives, we will be elected MPs. People’s recognition is what’s most important,” she said.

Gumgrawng Awng Hkam, the vice chairman of the Kachin State People’s Party (KSPP), said he did not accept the decision, as the SAC was acting inappropriately. The party sent one representative to attend the UEC meeting.

Even though he himself lost his race for a seat to his NLD rival in the 2020 election, the vice chairman said that while there might have been the odd irregularity here and there, that did not amount to mass, nationwide electoral fraud.

“Political parties must take a firm stand that the previous election is legal. The NLD’s victory was real,” he said.

Elected NLD lawmaker U Thein Tan said lawmakers elected in November have been recognized both domestically and internationally.

“We don’t accept any actions or words from the coup regime, as they would be unlawful.”

Of the 91 registered political parties in Myanmar, 53 including the military proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party, attended Friday’s meeting. Thirty-eight parties did not attend.

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