Military chief Min Aung Hlaing vows to accept election results after public spat with government 

Tatmadaw commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing promised to respect the result of the election after casting his vote in Naypyitaw on Sunday, despite his recent spat with the government over comments he made questioning the credibility of the poll.

Speaking to reporters as he left the polling station in Zeyar Thiri township, the Senior General said: “I’ll have to accept the people’s wish and the results that come with it. There’s no denying it.” 

“We need to think about the public’s feelings and concerns and aim to console them,” he added. “This is very important for me. To ease the pain of citizens and what they’re feeling. It’s a must.”

Asked which party he voted for, he said: “A party that prioritises nationalism, religion, and education. And the party that prioritises our three main national causes.” 

He added: “I voted for a party that would work well with us. I completely believe it’s a group of people that can create a better future.”

Zeyar Thiri township is where Than Htay, the chair of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, is competing for a seat. 

General Sein Win, the defense minister, told Myanmar Now before casting his vote that he hoped for results that would be best for the country.

This week Min Aung Hlaing suggested in a media interview that the Union Election Commission and the government had not done enough to ensure a free and fair election and should “be careful”.

The comments will raise eyebrows among rights groups, who regard a 2008 constitution written to preserve the military’s political power as one of the main impediments to free and fair elections in Myanmar. 

The President’s Office hit back at Min Aung Hlaing’s comments by claiming he had violated the constitution and the Civil Services Personnel Law by expressing a political affiliation.  

“Civil services personnel must be free from political affiliation,” said the Office’s spokesperson, Zaw Htay,  during a press conference. 

The military responded that protecting the constitution was one of its key duties, and said the commander-in-chief’s position came with as much power as a vice president’s. The spat led some to speculate about a possible coup. 

Min Aung Aung has also drawn the ruling party’s disapproval by instructing soldiers to provide assistance to voters with food and transportation to polling stations.

An NLD spokesperson told Myanmar Now that the party objected to the military’s plan, which would involve stationing plainclothes soldiers at polling stations.

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