Esteemed national people in the Union,
The Tatmadaw is an organization that holds the high opinion “People are the parents” while following the leading role in national politics steadfastly and adhering to the provisions of the 2008 Constitution. First, I would like to say that the Tatmadaw could implement the “multiparty democracy system” aspired by the people in successive eras through some forms of political cultures such as negotiation, law and regulations.
Free and fair elections are fundamental to strengthen the democratic system. In my 2020 New Year Message to the country, I said that “the Year 2020 is an important year for the country. It is important to strengthen the multiparty democracy system this year with the holding of the election.” For ensuring free and fair elections and for prioritizing the national interest sincerely in the politics, I said during the 3rd anniversary of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement on 15 October 2018 that “Nothing is as important as the ethnic affairs and the national interests, and only the politics with sincerity and fairness”. During the 4th meeting of Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong, held on 20 August 2020, I also said that the concept “no one is above the law” in establishing the democratic system as a fundamental rule in laying the democratic foundation, and “no one or no organization is above the national interest in state-building and national building”. These concepts of the Tatmadaw are aimed to foster the multiparty democracy aspired by the people.
On the way to the multiparty democracy, our country has already organized the elections and by-elections four times in 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2020. Despite some common controversies in the polls, except in 2020, the Union Election Commission could solve the arguments in free and fair manners, pleasing both sides involving in the arguments and leading to the democratic way. In 2020 General Election, the UEC censored policy speech of political parties before being broadcast on the MRTV, a wide range of announcement for advance voting with the reason of COVID-19 outbreak and the lack of fair canvassing for votes. Such situations were controversial manners before the elections. Meanwhile, the Tatmadaw managed to ensure correct voter lists of Tatmadaw personnel at the front lines and in duties outside the respective military depots and units for more than 90 days. The UEC announced voting of Tatmadaw members and their families at the polling stations outside the military depots and units. The Tatmadaw followed this announcement, and we all cast votes at the respective polling stations together with the people.
A series of controversies happened after the general elections. There were 84 political parties contested in the 2020 General Elections. A total of 217 letters of complaint were submitted. The UEC failed to take the complaints into consideration for many times. Political parties sought the assistance of the Tatmadaw, which is taking part in the leading role of national politics. The Tatmadaw then checked the voter lists and found 10,482,116 (over 10.4 million) fraud votes with overlapping in different townships, regions and states and some forms of possible irregularities. It was also found 11,943 ineligible voters under 18-year of age, 4,648,270 (over 4.6 million) voters without national scrutiny cards and18,356 centenarian voters. The voter lists of UEC were also inconsistent. Its announcement on 25 July 2020 mentioned the number of eligible voters was 37,572,521 (over 37.5 million), and 38,529,198 (over 38.5 million) on 2 October. After the elections, the reports of township election sub-commissions to township Immigration and Population offices have shown the 39,277,214 (over 39.2 million), eligible voters. The different figures were to be reconsidered. According to the population theory based on the actual number of people in the 2014 census, the number of persons with 18-year old and above on 1 October 2020 was estimated at 36,693,659 (over 36.9 million). However, the number of eligible voter lists announced by the UEC after the elections were more than 39.2 million. It was over 5.4 million persons more than the figures of immigration and population ministry in October 2020, and over 2.3 million persons more than the estimated figures from the population calculating technology. These are pragmatic situations. It is advised to follow the pragmatic figures, rather than emotion if we have a genuine desire for discipline-flourishing democracy and development of the country.
In reviewing the elections in 2015 and beyond, the voter turnouts in 2015 were 69.63 per cent, and it declined to 50 per cent in 2017 by-elections. The voter turnout in the election of the Yangon City Development Committee in 2018 was 14 per cent. It was also announced there were 71.06 per cent voter turnouts in 2020 General Election.
A survey of post-2015 elections has shown that about 69.63 per cent of the country’s population voted in the 2015 General Election. In the 2017 by-election, the number of voters has decreased to 50 per cent. In 2018 Yangon City Development Committee Election, just over 14 per cent of the eligible voters cast their voters in the election. In the 2020 General Election, about 71.06 per cent of eligible voters reportedly cast their votes in the General Election. Unlike from other General Elections, the 2020 General Election was held amidst Covid-19. Review it.
It is found how people viewed the administration and management of the authorities. No Vote campaigns against the 2020 General Election also occurred. Where ever I visited, I urged the eligible voters to cast their votes in the General Election as I believe that a free and fair election is the lifeblood of the multi-party democracy system.
Authorities concerned for voting fraud are under investigation now. Incorrect voting results and the results came out from the statistics which can be fraud can bring obstacles for the strengthening of a democratic system aspired by the people.
The Tatmadaw, in accordance with the 2008 Constitution, has demanded the Union Election Commission, Hluttaw and the President to settle the voting fraud issue. However, they all failed to carry out their responsibilities. Until the last minute, the Tatmadaw upheld the negotiation process in line with the law. The situation was also reported to the people and the world through the press conferences of the Tatmadaw. Authorities concerned failed to take their responsibility and accountability. Therefore, we announced the state of emergency and have taken the responsibility of the State in accordance with the 2008 Constitution.
After the formation of the State Administration Council, we have already announced the five-point Road Map on 1 February. Let me report the five points and our undertakings to the ethnic people.
(1) To carry out necessary measures, including reformation of the Union Election Commission and inspecting the voting lists in accordance with the law. A new UEC has been formed, and the voting lists are being inspected. We will release the findings as soon as possible. What a terrible point is that UEC said it announced the third voting list. But, when we inspected the third list practically, still we did not find it. If we find it, we can approve it. We have found that the third voting list is the reproduction of the second voting list.
(2) To continue the preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic with added speed and effective ways. We are doing it practically. The second vaccination has been successfully conducted. Whichever challenges we face; we will tackle them together with the people. We systematically continue to manage the COVID-19 fund donated by the people. I also invite further donors. We will spend the fund in fighting the disease beneficially and effectively. We will speed up the efforts for prevention and treatment on the disease. We will continue to get further vaccines. We will continue vaccination, without leaving anyone, including people in the rural areas and monks. I would like to request the entire people to cooperate and participate in this drive.
(3) To remedy the economy damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic with possible ways as soon as possible. Twenty-four hours after I took the responsibility of a chairman of the State Administration Council, I, together with the members of the council, met with the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and chairmen of private banks and discussed for recovery of our country’s economy. We welcome and invite domestic and foreign investments. I would like to say that we welcome cooperation from our country’s partner countries and interested countries. We will follow the existing agreements in accordance with the law. We will work on giving permits to businesses which have been approved in policy by the previous government as soon as possible. As our country is relying on agriculture and livestock breeding, we will focus on the development of this sector through the resumption of export as quickly as possible.
(4) Works are being carried out to obtain eternal peace throughout the nation, according to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). Our strong desire is to attain lasting and sustainable peace in the entire country. We will continue implementing towards it without fail. The Tatmadaw Peace Talks Committee was extended on 1 February. We shall perform our responsibility to achieve eternal peace in as many ways as possible while taking over the State. We invite collaborative participation of the EAOs and all nationalities in this practical implementation.
(5) State power will be handed over to a winning party according to the democratic norms after the state of emergency provisions have been carried out to hold a free and fair multiparty democracy general election. The State Administration Council was formed with 16 members—eight senior military officers, including me, and eight nationalities’ and political parties’ leaders. Union ministers have also been appointed with their competencies in the respective sectors. The states/regions, districts and townships administration councils have been set up with local elders relevant administrative personnel. That is different from the previous 1962 and 1988 Tatmadaw governments. We are taking the State responsibility based on unavoidable reasons. We shall perform the duties in accordance with the provisions stipulated for the state of emergency in the Constitution. We shall build a genuine and disciplined democratic system. I like to stress the emergence of a clean government according to the multiparty democratic system.
There will be no change in the foreign policy, government policy and economic policy of the country during the periods we are temporarily taking the State responsibility. We shall carry the same path as before. Foreign policy is also keeping in line with the 2008 Constitution. We shall continue establishing friendly relations amongst world nations. I will repeat it. We shall continue establishing friendly relations with all countries. We invite foreign investments. In this regard, I like to reaffirm that there would be any possible effect as the foreign investments will be implemented under the existing laws. Business people are urged not to take opportunities in such an unlawful way. The 2008 Constitution was emerged out of constitutional conventions composed of over 700 representatives from eight stratum of life for many years to build a multiparty democratic system. We will unwaveringly defend the Constitution and multiparty democratic system. Pagodas and religious buildings have also been reopened nationwide today for the convenience of the public. I’m pleased to announce that all citizens should observe the COVID-19 rules and regulations. For students’ education, we shall also reopen schools in the earliest possible times according to the COVID rules. Students, our future generation, can prepare to get back to schools. We will make our utmost efforts for smooth transportation and communication links if they are not contrary to the rule of law. We shall create employment opportunity within the country and reopen the factories and workplaces following the COVID-19 protocols. We will start repatriating our nationals stranded abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue receiving the displaced persons in Bangladesh in accord with the bilateral agreement. Resettlement work for the internally displaced persons from IDP camps will also be implemented immediately.
In conclusion, in collaboration with the people, Tatmadaw has been taking the leading role in national politics during the 10-year multiparty democratic system. Now we are building a genuine and disciplined multiparty democratic system. The State Administration Council employs collective coordination and problem-solving tactics to perform Myanmar political, cultural and historical duty. I would like to request all ethnic national people to view pragmatic figures rather than emotion and work together.
Thank you all.