Myanmar’s military regime has revoked the results of last year’s general election, in which the party of now detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory, claiming the poll was “not free and fair” and “not in compliance with” the constitution and the law.
The official cancellation of the election result is little more than another attempted justification by the military of its February coup, and another step in its apparent scheme to dissolve the winning National League for Democracy (NLD) for allegedly committing voter fraud. The junta claims its takeover was necessary as the election held in November 2020 under the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi-led NLD was seriously flawed, pointing to alleged voter list errors.
In the election, the NLD won 920 (or 82 percent) of the total 1,117 elected seats up for grabs nationwide, while the military-backed main opposition party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, only managed a humiliating 71 seats, or 6.4 percent of elected seats.
Despite the regime’s claim, international observers like the Carter Center and local monitoring groups said the polls were free and fair. The Asian Network for Free Elections said the outcome of the vote was “by and large, representative of the will of the people of Myanmar.”
Since the coup, leaders of the victorious NLD, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and others, have been detained.
The announcement by the regime-controlled Union Election Commission (UEC) came after a nearly six-month-long investigation of voter lists and ballot papers in the country’s 315 townships. The review was ordered by coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
In its announcement on Monday, the UEC said it found more than 11 million irregularities in the voter lists, such as the inclusion of people who didn’t have national ID cards as well as vote duplication, with the same ID card numbers appearing on multiple sets of ballots.
“The large number of voter list errors at polling stations was not accidental; they were deliberate acts,” the UEC said.
Furthermore, the UEC accused the NLD of interfering and misusing its administrative power in election and campaign processes “to grab State Power.”
U Thein Soe, the regime-appointed chairman of the UEC and a former major general in the Myanmar military, said in the statement that the 2020 election results were annulled as the vote was not held in compliance with the country’s constitution and electoral laws, and was not free and fair.
A voter in Yangon said the cancellation of the result reflected the regime’s mistreatment of the NLD, which received a popular mandate through the election to rule the country.
“The people will reject the announcement, as they have no faith in the regime,” he said.
Nearly six months on from the coup, the junta has still not succeeded in governing the country, facing resistance, including armed struggles, by people across the country who reject its rule.
Since the coup, the regime has been trying to dissolve the NLD, vowing to take action against those who it says “rigged” the November vote, calling them “traitors”.
While in the process of investigating the voter lists a few months ago, the UEC claimed it had found evidence that the NLD intentionally violated the law to ensure its victory.
Military spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun said at a press conference on May 15 that action must be taken against the NLD under the Political Parties Registration Law and the military-drafted 2008 Constitution, because the party supports the National Unity Government (NUG) and the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), both of which the regime has declared to be terrorist and unlawful associations.
The CRPH represents lawmakers, mostly from the NLD, who were elected in November. The NUG was formed by the CRPH as a shadow government to rival the military regime.
Under the Political Parties Registration Law and the 2008 Constitution, any party with links to terrorists or unlawful associations shall be abolished.
In response to the regime and the UEC’s remark at that time, detained NLD leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said the NLD would be there as long as the people are, because the party was founded for the people.
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