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Myanmar military denies coup threats

Myanmar’s military denies its chief is threatening to stage a coup over complaints of election fraud, saying the media has misinterpreted his words.

Political tension in the Southeast Asian nation soared last week after a spokesman for the military, which had ruled Myanmar for five decades, said a coup could not be ruled out if its complaints of widespread fraud in November’s election were ignored.

The commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, told senior officers in a speech Wednesday the constitution could be revoked if the laws were not being properly enforced.

Adding to the concern was the unusual deployment of armoured vehicles in the streets of several large cities.

Saturday’s statement from the military, known as the Tatmadaw, said “some organizations and media” wrote without foundation that the military threatened to revoke the constitution.

The statement said Min Aung Hlaing’s speech was taken out of context and was actually an observation to senior officer trainees on the nature of the constitution.

The ruling National League for Democracy party captured 396 out of 476 seats in the November 8 election, allowing it to form a government led by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi for another five years.

The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won only 33 seats.

The military has publicly complained several times of electoral fraud and called on the government and Union Election Commission to review the results.

It has said it has found 8.6 million irregularities in voter lists in 314 townships that could have let voters cast multiple ballots or commit other “voting malpractice”.

The election commission said there was no evidence to support the fraud claims.

Parliament’s new session is set to open Monday in the capital Naypyitaw.

The military ran Myanmar for some 50 years before beginning a transitioning to democracy in 2010.

The current constitution ensures the country’s generals maintain considerable influence in the country’s affairs by guaranteeing them a quarter of the seats in parliament and control of a number of key ministries.

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