Military not ruling out potential coup . . .
Major General Zaw Min Tun, a spokesperson for Myanmar’s military, or Tatmadaw, has refused to rule out the possibility that the Tatmadaw would take power while defending the military’s active role in ensuring the fairness of elections. During a press conference Tuesday, Tun also said that the military would uphold the law and employ constitutional means to investigate potential voting fraud in Myanmar’s November 2020 general elections. The Tatmadaw claims to have uncovered approximately 8.6 million cases of voter fraud and is supported in its demands for an investigation by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which is the primary opposition to the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD).
Negative reactions to election outcome widespread but unsurprising . . .
The post-election reactions of the USDP and the military, particularly the military’s refusal to rule out the use of force, may be harmful to the legitimacy of Myanmar’s democracy, but were altogether unsurprising given the NLD’s attempts in 2020 to pass a bill that would reduce the military’s share of seats in parliament. Furthermore, voting did not occur in several conflict-ridden areas, a move the Union Election Commission UEC justified on the grounds of preventing risks to citizens. Several parties representing minority groups whose populations are concentrated in those regions where voting did not take place are also contesting the election results and support the opposition’s demands for a thorough investigation.
Ruling party unfazed . . .
Members of the ruling NLD seem relatively unconcerned by the allegations of fraud and the military's potential use of force. An NLD spokesman said that coups were not constitutional while NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi has not responded publicly to the claims of voting fraud, likely because parliament can be convened even if all members of the opposition USDP boycott. Only half of all members are required for parliament to be convened, and the NLD holds sufficient seats for parliament to reconvene. However, the seriousness of the COVID crisis, slow economic development, and the resentment of ethnic minorities may culminate in a serious backlash against the ruling party in the coming year.