Myanmar in Crisis

Published on 1 February 2021 at 09:17

The seizure of power by Myanmar military's follows weeks of tensions with civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her government.


Ms. Suu Kyi and other leaders were taken into custody by the military on the same day as the first new parliamentary session was due to be held since a national election last November.


Ms Suu Kyi remains an immensely popular figure in Myanmar despite her international reputation being deeply tarnished over a crackdown on the country's stateless Rohingya minority in 2017.


Suu Kyi’s “National League for Democracy” party won in a landslide poll in last years election, winning by an even greater margin than the 2015 vote which brought the former Nobel laureate to power.


However the country's military, which has ruled the country for the majority of the last 60 years, claims that the vote had many irregularities.


The military claim to have uncovered over 10 million cases of voter fraud. They have demanded the election commission release voter lists for cross-reference.

Tensions began after General Min Aung Hlaing - the head of the military gave a speech warning that the country's constitution could be "revoked" if it is not respected.


Last week tanks were also briefly deployed on the streets of commercial hub Yangon, the capital Naypyidaw and elsewhere, along with protests against the election result by pro-military supporters.


The army has declared a ‘state of emergency’ and says it will take power for one year.


Myint Swe, a former general and the current vice president of Myanmar, is set to become the acting president for the following year.


A statement was read out on the military-run ‘Myawaddy’ TV which was signed by Myint Swe, claimed control of the "legislation, administration and judiciary" was to be handed over to Min Aung Hlaing - returning Myanmar to the military rule familiar to so many in the country.


Myanmar, the name given to Burma after independence from Britain in 1948 has been ruled by military regimes for most of its recent history.


In 1962 a civilian regime was overrun by General Ne Win, claiming that the regime was not competent enough to govern.


The country was placed under military control for the following 26 years but General Ne Win stepped down in 1988 after nationwide protests against economic stagnation and authoritarian rule broke out.


Following these protests, a new group of military officials took charge, stating that the country needed a return to law and order.


Finally in 2011 the leader of Myanmar - General Shwe stepped down, and subsequently handed over power to a government, which consisted of retired generals after adopting the country's constitution.


The constitution which was established in 2008, carved out a powerful ongoing political role for the military, giving them key control of the interior, border and defence ministries.


Any changes in the military state needed the support of military politicians, who control in Myanmar made a quorum of one quarter of seats in the country's parliament.


Its guarantee of military power made the constitution a "deeply unpopular.”


Ms Suu Kyi has been trying to change the charter since winning the 2015 election; with very little success.


During the last term Suu Kyi circumvented a law that prevented her from assuming the presidency by opting for the de facto leadership role of "state counsellor" instead

Add comment


There are no comments yet.