Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Myanmar’s military unhappy about upcoming election

Aung San Suu Kyi’s election commission is at odds with the military over 'mistakes' in voter lists.

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The eyes of the world are currently glued to the US presidential race, but other countries are having their own important elections too.

Myanmar is holding its general election on Nov 8 in what will be only the second democratic vote since the end of iron-fisted military rule in 2011.

Even in 2020, the army retains significant powers under the constitution including control of key ministries like home affairs.

Voting is planned to occur in all constituencies, except seats appointed by or reserved for the military.

Polls will take place in all townships, including those in areas considered conflict zones, such as Rakhine, Shan and Kachin states.

However, Myanmar’s army chief said on Tuesday that the civilian government is making “unacceptable mistakes” in the run-up to Sunday.

Issuing his second warning about potential bias, commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing told the Popular News Journal that the military is the “guardian” of the country and is watching preparations closely.

The general said some opposition parties have complained about irregularities, citing error-strewn voter lists which exclude many people.

“There is no problem for normal mistakes, but some are unacceptable mistakes. They have had a lot of time to do corrections,” he said. “We told the election commission we want a free and fair election.”

On Monday, a military statement had accused the election commission of “widespread violation of the laws and procedures of the pre-voting process”.

Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s government controls the election commission, but the military and civilian government have been at odds over various issues for months, including constitutional reform.

“I said in 2015 that we would accept the result by the election commission as long as it was free and fair. However, for now, we are in a situation where we need to be cautious,” Min Aung Hlaing said.

The 2015 election was only the second considered at least semi-democratic in the country since 1960. The first was in 1990 and was declared invalid by the military.

Since gaining independence from Britain in 1948, the country has most often been controlled by either totalitarian dictatorship or military junta.

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