In November, Myanmar's state election commission said that it would prosecute former leader Aung San Suu Kyi and 15 other key political figures for alleged election fraud.
The statement was made Tuesday in Myanmar's state-run Global New Light newspaper and other official media outlets.
Union Solidarity and Development Party, which is backed by the army, suffered unexpectedly significant losses. Allegations of massive vote fraud were the military's primary justification for seizing control on Feb. 1 and deposing Suu Kyi's government. Following a huge election victory, her National League for Democracy party was set to enter its second five-year term in office.
Independent observers, such as the Asian Network for Free Elections, found no evidence of significant anomalies in the elections. However, they condemned several areas.
The Union Election Commission's action might result in Suu Kyi's party being dissolved and barred from participating in a new election promised by the military within two years of its takeover. However, dated Monday, the commission's warning did not specify the statutes under which the accused would be prosecuted.
In May, the new chairman of the election commission, installed by the military, stated that his agency would consider dissolving Suu Kyi's former ruling party for alleged electoral fraud and charging its leaders with treason. According to Commission Chairman Thein Soe, an inquiry revealed that the party colluded illegally with the government to gain an electoral advantage.
Following its assumption of power, the military replaced members of the election commission that verified the results of last year's poll. Additionally, it jailed members of the previous panel and allegedly coerced them into declaring election fraud, according to allegations in independent Myanmar media.
The new commission declared the results of last year's election illegitimate.
The commission's fresh notice stated that Suu Kyi, former President Win Myint, other prominent members of her party, and the commission's previous head were "involved in electoral processes, election fraud, and lawless actions" in connection with the polls.
It accused 16 people of committing illegal acts, including compelling local election officials to obstruct military polling booths, threatening such officials in connection with advance voting for voters over 60 years old, clearing local election officials to approve voter lists that included ineligible voters, and interfering with campaigning to favor Suu Kyi's party.
Suu Kyi is already facing trial or charges in about a dozen criminal cases, all of which would almost probably exclude her from standing for office again if convicted. Several of her closest political friends have also been tried or are being prosecuted. Suu Kyi's allies and independent human rights organizations claim that the cases are fabricated to tarnish her and her party while legitimizing military rule.
Dissolving Suu Kyi's party would be consistent with a regional trend toward the dissolution of popular political parties perceived as a danger to ruling administrations.
The Cambodan Supreme Court dissolved the Cambodia National Rescue Party, the country's only credible opposition group, in 2017 ahead of a 2018 general election.
Thailand's Constitutional Court dissolved the newly founded Future Forward Party in 2020, even though the party had gained the third most seats in the lower house in the 2019 general election.
Both the Cambodian and Thai courts based their findings on particular law infractions, but their acts were generally interpreted as reflecting political influences.