Parliament wrong to reject meeting on election allegations, says military

The military says a decision by the Union parliament to reject calls for a special meeting on election-rigging allegations was unconstitutional.

A proposal by the military and the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) to discuss the issue in the final days of the current session of parliament was rejected on Tuesday. 

In a statement released on Thursday evening, the military said that the Speaker is supposed to convene a meeting if calls for one are supported by one-fourth of the Union parliament’s members.

Under Myanmar’s military-drafted 2008 constitution, 25 percent of seats in all of the country’s legislatures are reserved for military representatives.

However, the Union parliament rejected the proposal to hold a special meeting during the current session because of concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic.

The military argued that since there is no guarantee the pandemic will be over by the start of the next session on February 1, it is meaningless to use this as a reason for refusing to discuss the election allegations now.

The military and its proxy party, the USDP, have pushed claims of electoral irregularities since the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) won the November 8 election by a landslide.

Soon after the election, the USDP called on the Union Election Commission (UEC) to nullify the NLD’s victory and hold the election again, this time under military supervision.

The UEC rebuffed these calls and has itself become a frequent target of military efforts to cast doubt on the integrity of the election. 

Last week, the President’s Office spokesperson called attempts by the USDP and its allies to overturn the election “political suicide”.

In rejecting calls for a special meeting on the allegations, the Union parliament reiterated that under the constitution, the UEC alone has authority to address election-related issues.

Of the 1,117 constituencies contested nationwide in the 2020 election, the NLD won 920 seats while USDP won just 71.

A new government will be formed next month after the Union parliament begins its next session. 

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