Election Commission responds to military’s criticism, says will of voters must be respected

Facing mounting pressure from the military over its handling of last year’s election, the Union Election Commission (UEC) released a statement on Thursday defending its position.


Citing the country’s military-drafted constitution, the UEC said that it was obliged to respect the outcome of the election, regardless of the military’s objections.


“According to the constitution, the wishes of the people cannot not be negotiated or compromised by any individual or organization,” it said.


“Doing so would contradict the wishes of the public that voted,” it added.


The statement comes a week after the military issued one of its own claiming that it had found repeated irregularities that “indicate the possibility of vote rigging.”


In that statement, the military called on the UEC to resolve the issue, adding that it was not enough to argue that the commission’s decisions on the election are final.


Since then, the military has continued to call for a full investigation into alleged irregularities, despite a lack of evidence of widespread wrongdoing.


In recent days, it has also raised the stakes of its feud with the UEC.


On Tuesday, a military spokesperson refused to rule out a coup if the Tatmadaw’s claims that it had found 8.6 million irregularities in voter lists were not addressed to its satisfaction.


A day later, the armed forces commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, raised the possibility of repealing the constitution if others don’t abide by it.


The remark was taken by many as further evidence that the military was prepared to overturn the result of the November 8 election by force unless its claims were taken seriously.


For its part, the UEC has urged those with concerns about possible election fraud to seek remedy through the proper legal channels.


At the same time, it has dismissed allegations of massive vote-rigging, saying that while there may have been problems with voter lists, it would have been impossible for anyone to vote more than once.

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