On 21 February 2021, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on recent development of Myanmar in which the Ministry stated that the Tatmadaw has assumed the responsibilities of State unavoidably in accordance with the State Constitution.
However, some International Organizations, foreign countries, media outlets failed to comprehend the current event taken place on 1 February 2021 and underscored that event as a military coup. They have also portrayed a state of unrest as anti-military dictatorship movement.
As a matter of fact, the Tatmadaw has initiated the democratic transition of Myanmar since 2011. In 2003, the Tatmadaw laid down the Seven-Step Road Map and the current democratic transition was a result of that initiative. The Tatmadaw invited people’s representatives and held the National Convention. Based on its outcomes and principles, the State Constitution was adopted in 2008. In accordance with the State Constitution (2008), the first General Election was held in a free and fair manner in 2010. As the result, the Tatmadaw was able to undertake peaceful transition of the multi-party democratic system. The Tatmadaw rendered all-out assistance to hold similar elections in 2015, by-elections in 2012 and 2017 respectively.
The Tatmadaw is an architect of multiparty democratic transition in Myanmar and always rendered unwavering support for a development of disciplined and mature democracy. The Tatmadaw is always vigilant against the derailment of democratic system in order to keep it on the right track.
Having found the irregularities of the voter lists of the election which was held on 8 November 2020, the Tatmadaw systematically scrutinized the voter lists.
The results of scrutinizing the voter lists which were approved by the previous Union Election Commission (UEC) have shown that the voter lists of 10,482,116 (over 10.4 millions) would lead to vote rigging. According to the officially released voter lists by the previous UEC, there were 38 million eligible voters. Among them, there are about 10 million voter lists which would lead to vote rigging. Therefore, 25% of eligible voter lists would lead to vote rigging.
When the potential vote rigging was found, the Tatmadaw and political parties asked the previous UEC to address the issue. But the UEC rejected their demands and did not respond to the findings of the Tatmadaw. The UEC also failed to disclose and explain the official voter lists.
Hluttaw representatives of the Tatmadaw and political parties sent a letter to the Speaker of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw to hold a Special Session of the Hluttaw to resolve the elections related issues through dialogue in accordance with the State Constitution. Their request was rejected.
In fact, the Speaker of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw must hold the Special Session when at least 25 per cent of the Hluttaw Representatives called for the Special Session. Under these circumstances, the Tatmadaw sent a letter to the President to hold the meeting of National Defence and Security Council to discuss the issues in accordance with the State Constitution. The request was refused and the meeting was not convened.
Thus, the Tatmadaw has sent a personal letter to the authoritative person who could make final decision. A representative from the Government discussed the issue with the Tatmadaw and the Tatmadaw explained the situation to him. Even the representative of the Government showed the understanding of the situation and reported back to the decision-maker. But the Tatmadaw did not receive any reply.
Therefore, the Tatmadaw requested again to hold the National Defence and Security Council’s meeting. The Tatmadaw received the following reply that “President and the Hluttaw have no mandate to resolve the issue; this issue is related only to the UEC, and the matter should be settled with the UEC”.
Attributing to the leading role of The Tatmadaw in national politics, it has the responsibility to uphold and strengthen in its effort to prevent the derailment of democratic system. The lifeblood of democracy is based on free and fair electoral processes, thus, the Tatmadaw pointed out its finding in accordance with the laws. Moreover, the Tatmadaw tried to resolve the issues through dialogue, which is one of the means of political culture.
Relating to the issue of electoral fraud, while the application for the writ of Mandamus and writ of Quo Warranto to the Supreme Court was in pending, there was an attempt to hold the new Hluttaw session. The President also failed to discharge his constitutional duties to resolve election disputes which was serious breach of the State Constitution. And he failed to comply with the duties assigned by the laws and committed other cases which violated existing laws. Due to these circumstances, the Vice-President-1 was appointed to the vacant post of President as an Acting President in accordance with Section 73 (a) of State Constitution. The Acting President discussed the situation of the country with the National Defence and Security Council and declared the State of Emergency and transferred the state power to the Commander-in-Chief of the Tatmadaw.
While some countries used forceful measures to address violent protests, the State Administrative Council is exercising utmost restraint to avoid the use of force in managing the violent protests systematically, in accordance with domestic and international laws in order to keep minimum causalities.
Unlike military coups taken place in other countries, the State Administrative Council did not abolish the State Constitution and is complying with it and other existing laws. It has not exercised excessive use of force against the disturbances and unrest. The form of the State Administrative Council’s governance is different from the type of military administration and the composition of it starting from central to local administrations includes civilians and national races. An overall picture of the situation has clearly shown that the State Administrative Council took the responsibilities of the State in accordance with the State Constitution in order to maintain the situation of the country throughout the period of the State of Emergency.
After fulfilling the provisions of the State of Emergency in accordance with the State Constitution, the State Administration Council will hold free and fair general elections and will hand over the State responsibilities to the winning political party.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Nay Pyi Taw
Dated, 28 February 2021