Myanmar Army Chief Vows to Safeguard "Landmark" November Elections

A file photo shows Myanmar military commender-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing arriving to meet war victims who fled from the conflict zone at a monastery in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, 15 February 2015. Aung Hlaing said the military will not tolerate any threat to this year's elections. EPA/LYNN BO BO

YANGON (DPA) — The Myanmar military will not tolerate any threat to this year's elections, the army chief said Friday.

"The general election scheduled in November is an important landmark of democracy implementation in our country," Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said.

"We will not tolerate at all any disturbance to stability of the state and rule of law, any pressure or any threat to voting in the general election," he was quoted as saying on state-run television MRTV, in a speech for Armed Forces Day.

But opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said last week that the election would not be free and fair under the current constitution, which allocates 25 per cent of parliament to the military, and effectively excludes her from running for the presidency.

The government of President Thein Sein also been trying to implement a nation-wide ceasefire with regional ethnic rebels, but a few militias have been holding out.

"The governemnt's failure to sign ceasefires with all ethnic armed groups will not harm the election," said Sithu Aung Myint, a political analyst. 

"But how it could be free and fair if the military is still holding a quarter of parliamentary seats?"

 
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