The Burmese army confirmed, on Saturday, its respect for the constitution, reflecting the statements of its commander in chief that raised fears of a coup.
«Tatmadaw [nom officiel des forces armées birmanes] Respect the current constitution […] On Saturday, the army said in a statement clarifying that its commander in chief had been misunderstood, “and we will respect the law by defending it.”
“The organizations and the media misinterpreted the commander’s speech and framed it from their point of view,” the Burmese military continues.
For several weeks, the powerful Burmese military denounced several irregularities during the legislative elections in November, which were overwhelmingly won by the National League for Democracy (LND) 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, in power.
Tensions rose on Tuesday when an army spokesman did not rule out the possibility of a coup.
The next day, Army Chief General Min Aung Hling – arguably the most powerful person in the country – said that repealing the 2008 constitution might be “necessary” under certain circumstances.
His comments – translated into English and published in the magazine Myawadi, Run by the military – sending shock waves through the fledgling democracy.
The last dissolution of the Burmese constitution dates back to 1988, when the military restored the ruling junta after a popular uprising.
The general’s comments on the constitution, although not directly raising the possibility of a coup, alarmed more than a dozen foreign diplomatic representatives as well as the United Nations, while smaller political parties called for a dialogue between Aung San Suu Kyi and the military.
The army estimated that there were 10 million cases of fraud in polling stations in November and is asking the Electoral Commission to publish voter lists for verification.
For its part, the commission denies any fraud, recognizing the existence of “gaps” in the lists.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, which has been criticized internationally for its handling of the Rohingya Muslim crisis but remains loved by the majority of the population, won a landslide victory in November.
This was the second general election since 2011, when the military junta that had ruled the country for half a century was dissolved.
Nevertheless, the military maintains very important power, as it controls three main ministries (Interior, Defense, and Borders).
“The priority now is to protect Myanmar’s incredibly narrow road to democracy,” said historian and author Thant Myint Yu.
“But it is also important to find a solution to the current crisis that does not compromise the prospects for peace in the future,” he told AFP.