Election 2020

Myanmar’s Military Chief Agrees to Accept Election Result

By The Irrawaddy 8 November 2020

YANGON — Amid concerns over a possible coup due to his attack on the government before the election, military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said he will accept the outcome of Sunday’s nationwide poll.

The military chief earlier said he doubted that the election will be free and fair, citing missteps by the Union Election Commission (UEC) and saying he will be very cautious about accepting the election outcome, unlike in 2015. Before the remark, his Office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services first waded into election matters with a statement criticizing the government for the UEC’s mishandling of preparations for the election, as the commission is formed by the civilian government.

As relations between the civilian government, led by the National League for Democracy, and the military continued to sour over the election through the week, politicians, observers and diplomats have raised concerns over post-election chaos and violence that could give the military a pretext to take control.

“I will accept an election result that reflects the people’s will,” Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing told reporters on Sunday, after casting his ballots in Naypyitaw’s Zeyathiri Township.

He added that he voted for the party that could work together with the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s military, and protect ethnic identity and religion.

The deputy military chief, Vice Senior General Soe Win, and other commanders and their families also cast their ballots along with the commander-in-chief.

Military personnel and their families cast ballots at a polling station outside their bases in Mandalay. / Zaw Zaw / The Irrawaddy

In this year’s election, military personnel and their families are voting at polling stations outside their military compounds for the first time as the Parliament abolished the setting up of polling stations inside military camps, a move which was welcomed for improving transparency in the election process.

U Tun Win, a military relative in Myitkyina, said he was pleased to cast his vote this time as the polling stations for service personnel and their families are no longer in military compounds.

“I am glad I could cast my ballot with freedom for the party I support,” he said, praising the party’s administrative performance in recent years.

Another military relative in Myitkyina, Daw Hkwang Nang, said she voted for the party which will be good for the country.

“I hope it will continue to secure its victory this year,” she said.

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