Asia

Myanmar claims fraud in nearly one-third of 2020 election votes

NAYPYITAW (BLOOMBERG) – Myanmar’s military-appointed election commission on Monday (July 12) doubled down on claims of mass fraud in last year’s general election, saying it found nearly a third of all ballots were tainted.

The Union Election Commission presented the findings during a press conference in the capital of Naypyitaw following an investigation, which lasted for months, into the 2020 poll that the military used as the basis for overthrowing the civilian government in a coup on Feb 1.

Commissioner Khin Maung Oo said the probe found more than 11.3 million fraudulent votes, citing “a number of irregularities” in advance voting, and noted the previous election commission that certified the poll issued regulations that were “against the law”.

Ms Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won a landslide victory in the election on Nov 8 that was deemed credible by international observers. She and former president Win Myint have been held in detention since the coup.

“We have found that the NLD took advantage of Covid-19 rules and its administrative power so that only their party won the general elections,” Mr Khin Maung Oo said.

The election commission said in May that Ms Suu Kyi’s party would be dissolved over the fraud allegations and its leaders prosecuted as traitors. The army then pledged to hold fresh elections following a state of emergency that could last as long as two years.

Ms Suu Kyi has since vowed her pro-democracy party would continue its work even though she has been formally charged with several criminal offences, including corruption and violating the Official Secrets Act.

Separately, junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said an agreement has been reached to manufacture Russian-made Covid-19 vaccines in Myanmar with the aim of producing five million doses a year. No further details were provided.

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