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SNLD submits to junta election monitor audit

The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) has finally granted permission to the junta’s Union Election Commission (UEC) to investigate the party. 

The military had threatened to dissolve the SNLD, which won 42 seats in the state’s 2020 elections, if it did not submit to the UEC’s inspection. The reason the party granted permission to the regime is unknown.

The junta’s Ministry of Information announced that the UEC had investigated the SNLD to determine “whether the party’s members followed UEC rules and kept track of party funds and property, savings, maintenance, usage, audition and liquidation and other procedures under UEC laws” at a branch of the Shan State Election Commission office from June 30 to July 3.  

The junta said it had previously conducted similar inspections of 85 political parties “under UEC rules” since Aug. 2021 and is working to investigate a remaining seven — one of which is the NLD, Burma’s forming ruling party.

The junta has, since the coup, called on political parties to provide their party records and submit financial audits, warning that it will take action if groups refuse to do so.

The UEC — Burma’s electoral monitor, hijacked by the military after Feb. 2021 — recently announced it would extend deadlines set for the NLD to submit to its inspections. 

The National Unity Government — formed by ousted lawmakers, many of whom were drawn from the NLD — has repeatedly urged citizens to boycott elections mooted by the SAC for 2023. The military, which has arrested over three quarters of the NLD’s Central Executive Committee since the coup, has pledged to the international community that the ballots will be “free and fair”.

The military has used Burma’s 2020 elections as one way of justifying its violent coup, claiming that polls were marred by mass fraud. Since the coup, scores of politicians and administrators have been hit with politically motivated charges relating to electoral fraud. Independent observers have consistently stated they believe that voting in the election was not characterized by irregularities.

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