This week last year, Myanmar’s poll body officially announced the results of the Nov. 8, 2020 general election, in which the National League for Democracy (NLD) again emerged with a resounding win.
Of 38 million eligible voters, 27 million cast their votes with the NLD winning 920 seats, or 82 percent of the 1,117 contested constituencies. The military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won the second-largest number of seats with 71, followed by the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) with 42.
Of the 87 parties that contested the election, 19 won seats. The NLD, USDP and SNLD won most of the seats, with 17 ethnic political parties sharing 80 between them while independent candidates secured four.
Local and foreign election monitors acknowledged the NLD’s electoral victory and countries including the US, Britain, China and ASEAN members showered congratulations upon Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her ruling NLD for winning a landslide victory in the Nov. 8 election, and committed to boosting their cooperation with the incoming government.
In his message of congratulation, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he was confident that under the leadership of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD would “surely make even greater accomplishments in the lofty cause of achieving national prosperity.”
The military however announced plans to scrutinize and review the electoral process after its proxy USDP claimed massive voter fraud. Military chief Min Aung Hlaing claimed that the review turned up unfair and dishonest practices.
Some two months after the announcement of the election results, the military seized power in a coup, citing voter fraud. It detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and other leaders.
Meanwhile, leaders of pro-military parties that won no seats in last year’s poll were given positions in the regime’s governing body, the State Administration Council. And USDP candidates like U Wunna Maung Lwin and U Khin Yi who served as ministers under U Thein Sein’s government became members of the regime.
U Thein Soe, a former military judge advocate general who oversaw the 2010 election—and ensured the advance vote was manipulated so as to guarantee electoral victory for the military’s proxy USDP—was appointed to lead the junta’s new electoral body. He said the NLD had rigged the 2020 election, and revealed plans to disband the party and put its leaders on trial for high treason.
Some six months after the coup, the regime officially annulled the election results, claiming that over 11 million votes were flawed and that the election had not been free and fair. Independent observers, however, said the election result reflected the will of voters.
Myanmar’s people have continued to call for a return to democracy. Marking the first anniversary of the 2020 election, the US secretary of state on Nov. 8, 2021 reiterated Washington’s call for the military regime to immediately cease violence, release all those unjustly detained, and put Myanmar back on the path toward a genuine and inclusive democracy.
The regime has brought 11 charges against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who faces up to 102 years in prison if convicted on all counts. The regime recently filed additional charges against her regarding alleged voter fraud in last year’s poll.
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