Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint were both arrested in morning raids on Monday by the nation’s armed forces, after widespread allegations that they had committed election fraud.
The official results of the November election in Myanmar, also known as Burma, showed a victory for the liberal National League for Democracy (NLD), which is led by Aung San Suu Kyi. The conservative nationalist Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which is supported by many members of the country’s military, lost several seats.
However, it soon became apparent, according to the military, that massive vote fraud had taken place.
On January 15, the USDP released 94,242 cases of election fraud in six townships, and subsequently called for a new, fair election supervised by the military and the country’s election commission.
“In Shaw Pin Kaing village, an underage girl was able to cast a vote. She is just 16 years old,” said former USDP lower house candidate U Nyunt Saung, who claimed to have been a victim of fraud. “She was forced by her neighbor to go to vote.”
Major General Zaw Min Tun, a spokesman for the Myanmar military, pointed out that a further 8.6 million irregularities in 314 townships had been identified, suggesting that a large number of voters had voted multiple times, and urged the election commission to take action.
General Zaw Min Tun had been calling for the election commission to provide final voter lists for cross-checking, in order to verify whether fraud had taken place or not.
“Not resolving this in line with the law means this is a political crisis,” he told reporters last week.
The weak-willed election commission, which was appointed by the NLD, declined to acknowledge the evidence.
“Weaknesses and errors in voters lists cannot cause voting fraud,” the election commission said in their response.
Ultimately, the military issued an ultimatum to the NLD government for failing to “respect and abide by” the Constitution of Myanmar. General Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of Myanmar’s armed forces suggested that the role of the military was to stop governments abusing the law.
“If one does not follow the law, such a law must be revoked,” General Min Aung Hlaing declared on Thursday in a video address to military officers.
In order to stop the steal, the military ultimately took decisive action on Monday morning against what had been described as “dishonesty and unfairness” in the November election.