Irrawaddy Election Commission Forced To Plead Guilty To Fraud

By Network Media Group
Thursday, March 10, 2022

The junta-appointed district court convicted the township-level electoral commission for the 2020 general elections of fraud and fined each of its members $6.

Last month, the district court sued the commission for violating Article 130-a and reached a guilty verdict in early March.

“Military-appointed Maj Zaw Lwin Oo threatened my father, a former member of the Pyapon Township Election Commission, to admit fraud, saying if my father didn’t do so, they’d harm him and my family,” his daughter told NMG on condition of anonymity.

The other members were also threatened by the police to plead guilty and pay a fine or face a heavy penalty.

“The military junta gave us the 10,000 kyat (to pay the fine). All we’d to do was confess in court and they wouldn’t arrest us,” said another member of the commission also requesting anonymity.

After the confessions were recorded, three court hearings were held before the sentence was handed down.

After the 2020 election, the commission denied the military’s allegations of fraud to the press. It acknowledged some errors in the voter registry but these were corrected in accordance with the regulations.

“If there were errors in the voters’ roll, it’s the fault of the General Administration Development (GAD) and immigration officials. We cannot wipe the ink off the thumb, so a voter cannot cast their ballot twice,” a teacher who worked at a polling station in Bogalay told NMG. The teacher has since joined the civil disobedience movement against the dictatorship.

To justify the overthrow of the democratic government a year ago, the military junta falsely accused the election commission appointed by the National League for Democracy of fraud. The commission has 15 members: 12 are civilians and the rest GAD and immigration officials from the military. The regime has only condemned the civilian appointees.