YANGON — Myanmar’s military has questioned whether the rejection of its call for a special parliamentary session before the newly elected assembly convenes is constitutional.
A total of 203 lawmakers, including 160 unelected military appointees, 36 Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) lawmakers, four Arakan National Party members, two independents and one National United Democratic Party member on Monday submitted a proposal calling Speaker T Khun Myat to convene a special session to resolve electoral fraud claims before the new parliament sits on Feb. 1.
T Khun Myat rejected the proposal on Tuesday, saying the military and USDP attempt to take electoral fraud claims to Parliament is “not relevant”. He said election disputes are not resolved in Parliament as the Constitution grants the Union Election Commission (UEC) the final decision.
He added that alleged malpractices filed with the election sub-commissions will be resolved by the UEC and the procedures are still taking place.
A statement released on Thursday night by the military-run Tatmadaw True News Information Team said the call for a special session was constitutional.
In reference to the former junta’s national convention to draft the Constitution, it said parliamentarians have the right to call the House Speaker to convene a special session and the Speaker has the constitutional duty to convene a session if a quarter of lawmakers make the request.
U Thein Than Oo, a renowned lawyer on the elected 11-member Bar Council, said the Speaker’s rejection follows Article 80 and 81 of the Constitution which defines which issues shall be resolved by regular or special parliamentary sessions.
After suffering a heavy defeat in the November general election, the military proxy USDP claimed the election was marred by mass fraud. After the USDP cried foul over the election, a military probe alleged voter-list irregularities, saying errors could have resulted in millions of fraudulent votes.
Their attempt to take electoral fraud claims to the Parliament came as the latest push to challenge the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) landslide victory.
NLD spokesman Dr. Myo Nyunt told The Irrawaddy on Friday the party has nothing left to say about the election complaints.
“We strictly followed the law and we will continue to do so,” he said.
Regarding growing political tensions between the military and the NLD over the election, he said: “If the laws are respected and the will of the public is put first, we hope we will be united at the end of the current controversy.”
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