Myanmar Junta Fines Election Officials for Alleged Fraud Over 2020 Poll

By The Irrawaddy 4 February 2022

Myanmar’s junta is pressing ahead with prosecuting the election sub-commission heads and members who oversaw the 2020 general election for alleged electoral fraud. The 2020 poll was won in a landslide by the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) Party.

In the latest case on Friday, a junta court fined 12 election sub-commissioners from the Shan State capital Taunggyi 10,000 kyats each under the broadly-defined Section 130(a) of the Penal Code, which criminalizes contravening certain provisions in the constitution and any law enacted by Parliament.

The fines come after a January 14 announcement by the regime-appointed election commission to prosecute almost 2,500 people for alleged electoral fraud, including the NLD-appointed chairpersons and members of the Union Election Commission (UEC) and district and township level election sub-commissions. All face potential fines or jail terms.

Among those who face prosecution are detained President U Win Myint, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and state and regional chief ministers.

The Myanmar military has claimed that the NLD government engineered its victory in the November 2020 general election through widespread voter fraud, despite local and international observers stating that there was no major irregularities. The junta annulled the election results after last year’s February 1 coup. Former UEC chairman U Hla Thein and several election commissioners were arrested after the coup.

Officials and members of the NLD-appointed township sub-commissions have rejected the military regime’s accusations of mass irregularities on voter lists.

They said the voter lists were compiled using data from the General Administration Department (GAD) and the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population. They added that election officials worked to correct all errors and inaccuracies by rolling out the lists on two occasions prior to the election.

Electoral fraud charges have only been brought against civilian election commissioners, according to sources, despite the fact that former military officers, GAD and immigration staff were also involved in the commission and election process.

One election sub-commissioner from Sagaing Region said that some commissioners in the region have been hit with fines, while others have been charged and are awaiting trial.

“It is totally inappropriate. We willingly volunteered so that the election could go off smoothly. Most of us are retired, including professors and judges who have lived their entire lives with dignity and free of blemishes. But they insulted us like that,” an election sub-commission member said.

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