On the annulled election in Myanmar
A year after the 2020 general election, politicians and voters are talking to The Irrawaddy about the regime’s cancellation of election results and the disastrous impact of the military takeover.
Through The Irrawaddy November 10, 2021
Myanmar held general elections on November 8 last year. Almost three months after the vote, the military seized power, citing electoral fraud as the reason for their coup. The military subsequently annulled the 2020 election results, even though independent election observers agreed the ballot reflected the will of the Burmese people.
More than nine months after the coup, Myanmar is sinking into chaos with fighting taking place across the country between civil resistance groups and junta forces.
Representatives of political parties that won seats in the 2020 election and people who voted in the poll recently shared with The Irrawaddy their take on the situation a year after the election.
U Kyaw Htwe, Central Executive Committee Member, National League for Democracy
It has been a year since last year’s election. Anyone can see that the country is in the throes of a coup. No one, including the coup plotters, their subordinates, soldiers, security forces and government employees, is comfortable. It’s reality.
The whole country has lost its hopes and its future. This has resulted in socio-economic deprivation and people’s mindsets have changed. And now we see a new set of values emerging.
Sai Nyunt Lwin, president of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy
Before the elections, the country was on the brink of collapse. A year after the elections, the country fell into it. I don’t know if we still have hope. What I do know is that we have to work to find hope. We have to work together and figure out how to overcome it. There are various issues. Now people are trying to solve political problems by military means. It’s worse and it’s a cause for concern.
But if we sit back and do nothing, things will only get worse. We have to find a way and do our best. It is a pity that the election results were canceled. All the parties that won the 2020 election did not cheat. There may have been fraud. But not all parties cheated.
U Tun Aung Kyaw, Political Policy Steering Committee Member, Arakan National Party
The annulment of the 2020 election results is tantamount to a reversal of the democratization process that was moving forward with momentum before the ballot.
It is undeniable that the hopes of the public have been dashed. I was elected to the upper house. I honestly believe that the elected officials in Rakhine State were elected in a fair and legal manner. [Rakhine] people voted, despite various difficulties, in the hope of democracy.
If an institution is accountable and responsible, it has the responsibility to revise the votes, in order to show respect for the will of the people. And he is responsible for announcing the votes as valid if they have been cast in accordance with the law. Corn [the military] wielded tremendous power to undo all results. It is against the law.
Thus, all national peoples have the responsibility to demand according to the law that such a thing does not happen again in the future, and the elected officials also have the responsibility to raise the matter when the time is right.
Daw Hnin Hnin Hmwe, Deputy Secretary General 1, Democratic Party for a New Society
The military seized power citing alleged electoral fraud. Everyone knows that the whole country, except the military, does not accept this assertion. The armed revolution emerged in different parts of the country because people were forced to take up arms in self-defense after the military brutally suppressed peaceful anti-coup protesters.
It is only when we win this revolution that people can rebuild their lives. It is undeniable that people voted overwhelmingly for the National League for Democracy (NLD). There may have been weaknesses in the procedures and some aspects of the [NLD government’s] Union Election Commission. But it is a political question and therefore the military should not intervene. But the military took power, which is totally unacceptable.
Ko Min Zin, voting for the first time
I have the impression that our votes were insulted. One year after the election, the most important thing I lost is my freedom. I can’t live my life the way I want to. I cannot speak freely. I feel like someone is listening while I’m talking on the phone now.
I have the impression that the atmosphere is not sure now. I have the impression that this is not normal. I want to get back to a normal life as soon as possible.
Htar Htet Htet, former winner of a beauty contest who joined the armed resistance against the regime
It has been a year since the election. Last year, despite the COVID-19 epidemic, I planned to resume my gymnastics classes and my acting career. I thought that I could have a happy and peaceful life with my family, go on a trip and be free. I never dreamed that these things would happen in my life and force me to join the resistance. But that’s the story. When you step into the future and take a look back at your past, what you have done is your story. Everyone must write the best of their history.
These are unforgettable memories for me to be in places I thought I would never visit, to meet people I thought I would never meet.
First-time voters were very excited [about the 2020 election]. They were even more excited than we were when we first voted. Young people were crazy about the feeling of voting for the first time. And they had placed great hopes in their future. We feel that our hopes have been destroyed.
A year after the elections, the country is deteriorating in all respects. Many people have lost their jobs, their homes and their families and now they are even losing their future. We feel like everything was destroyed as the country took steps for a better future. I feel disappointed and devastated that everything was ruined just when the opportunity to earn a better income was about to present itself to us.
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