Myanmar’s civilian National Unity Government’s (NUG) foreign minister Daw Zin Mar Aung has condemned the Association of World Election Bodies (A-web) for inviting the junta to its summit in South Africa.
The junta on Sunday announced that the regime’s Union Election Commission’s (UEC) chairman Thein Soe and member Aung Moe Myint will attend the fifth A-web general assembly in Cape Town from October 17 to 22 at the invitation of the South African election commission and A-web.
Daw Zin Mar Aung, an elected National League for Democracy MP, wrote that was disappointed by the invitation to the illegally constituted and junta-appointed UEC.
The NLD won landslide victories in the 2015 and 2020 general elections. Domestic and international monitoring groups said the poll was largely free and fair and widely representative of the will of the people.
However, junta boss Min Aung Hlaing seized power, using electoral fraud as an excuse and jailed State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint on an array of charges.
The regime has detained NLD ministers, and lawmakers and prosecuted original UEC members on a variety of charges.
The junta has since formed a new commission and appointed Thein Soe as its head to oversee an election planned for August 2023. The former major general oversaw the 2010 general election, which was widely criticized as a sham.
Daw Zin Mar Aung said A-web’s website says it was founded to spread free, fair, transparent and well-attended elections.
But inviting the representatives of a regime which is responsible for atrocities makes a “mockery of the organization’s vision”, the minister added. She demanded that the invitation be withdrawn.
The Facebook pages of A-web and the South African election commission were flooded with demands for the invitation to be withdrawn, prompting A-web to limit those who can comment on posts.
It said: “We note the comments and the serious matters they raise.
A-web is a non-political and voluntary association of members.”