Meeting Between Myanmar Govt, Military Fails to Resolve Crisis Over Election

By The Irrawaddy 29 January 2021

NAYPYITAW—A meeting between representatives of the government and the Myanmar military (or Tatmadaw) held in Naypyitaw on Thursday in an effort to overcome the current political crisis ended without a breakthrough.

Sources with knowledge of the meeting told The Irrawaddy that the Tatamdaw expressed its distrust in Myanmar’s election body, the Union Election Commission, and asked the government to abolish it. It also asked the government to recount all votes in the Nov. 8 general election with the military’s assistance and to postpone the incoming Parliament, which is scheduled to convene on Monday. The two sides were unable to reach any agreement, however, as State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi reportedly rejected all of the demands.

The government sent two aides of the State Counselor to the meeting, while the Tatmadaw was represented by senior military officers.

The meeting came as political tensions between the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) and the military reached alarming levels this week as the armed forces refused to rule out a military coup if its demand for an investigation into alleged electoral fraud was not met.

Police provide security at the Naypyitaw City Development Committee Guesthouse. / Thiha Lwin / The Irrawaddy

Following the NLD’s landslide electoral victory, the military launched a probe into the voting process after its proxy, the main opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), blamed its heavy defeat at the polls on voter fraud. The military and the USDP have since complained that their calls for an investigation into the election and the UEC have fallen on deaf ears.

Hundreds of police have been deployed to the administrative capital, Naypyitaw, and security has been beefed up at the Naypyitaw City Development Committee Guesthouse, where lawmakers elected to the incoming Parliament are lodging.

Meanwhile, the public has been alarmed by photos of the Tatmadaw’s armored vehicles driving along the streets of Yangon and other regions on Tuesday, which have gone viral on social media.

In a videoconference with cadets at the National Defense College on Wednesday, Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said: “The Constitution is the mother law for all laws. So, I’d like to note we all need to abide by the Constitution. If one does not follow the laws, such laws must be revoked. I mean if it is the Constitution, it is necessary to revoke the Constitution. If one does not follow the law, the Constitution must be revoked.”

His remarks have raised public concerns about a possible coup. Foreign diplomats have also expressed their concerns about the escalating political tension in Myanmar.

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