Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Burmese army seizes power after arresting Aung San Suu Kyi

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The Burmese army seized power in a coup, detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior ruling party officials after days of growing tensions over the results of the recent elections.

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, President Win Myint and other members of the ruling National League for Democracy party were arrested Monday morning at their residences in the capital Naypyidaw.

Later in the morning, the Myanmar military said it had taken control of the country and declared a state of emergency for a year, giving power to Min Aung Hlaing, the powerful commander-in-chief of the army.

Residents of the commercial capital Yangon and other cities said service for the country’s four telecommunications companies had been cut short, some internet service providers were down, and terrestrial TV service was limited to the channel. Myawaddy military television station.

The army’s takeover came hours before Myanmar’s newly elected parliament met for the first time in a decade. November 8 election, the results of which challenged the military.

Sean Turnell, an Australian academic who serves as an advisor to Aung San Suu Kyi, confirmed the news agency’s information about the arrests.

“All of the residents of Naypyidaw have been cut off, so it appears the information about Aung San Suu Kyi and the detained president appears to be true,” he told the Financial Times from Yangon.

Countdown to a coup

© Lynn Bo Bo / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

November 4

Burmese Army Chief Min Aung Hlaing accuses Aung San Suu Kyi’s government of “widespread violations” of laws and pre-vote procedures just before national elections

November 8

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy wins 83% of the seats it has under Myanmar’s constitution. The Union Solidarity and Development party, backed by the army, denounces widespread electoral fraud

JANUARY 15

The USDP, having refused to recognize the election results, alleges 94,242 cases of electoral fraud, including alleged irregularities in electoral lists and identity documents.

JANUARY 26

Army spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun warns of coup, electoral fraud charges not addressed

28 january

Myanmar Election Commission dismisses allegations of military electoral fraud

29 january

UN and embassies of several Western governments in Myanmar issue statements opposing any attempt by the military to alter election results

January 30

Army says it will protect 2008 constitution and “act according to the law”

February 1

Burmese Leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Other Government Officials Arrested, Telephone and Internet Services Cut, and Coup Launched

Last week, the Burmese military and Min Aung Hlaing suggested they were ready to launch a coup after complaining about alleged irregularities in the November elections.

The NLD won the ballot by a landslide, securing Aung San Suu Kyi a second five-year term. The army-backed Union Solidarity and Development party was defeated, but refused to recognize the results, with the support of senior military leaders.

As tensions between the government and the military escalated over the past week, Myanmar’s electoral commission has dismissed allegations of electoral fraud by the military. A group of national election observer organizations who followed the vote said that while the process had some flaws, overall “the election results were credible and reflected the will of the majority voters”.

On Friday, the UN and the embassies of several European countries and the United States issued statements claiming to oppose any effort by the Burmese military to overturn the election result.

However, on Saturday the military appeared to move away from the threat of a coup, saying it would respect and protect the constitution.

The coup struck a blow to democratic hopes in an army-ruled country from 1962 to 2011, when Myanmar began its transition to democracy under a constitution that reserved three important ministries and 25% of the Parliament to appointments by the army. The NLD took power in 2016 under a civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Thant Myint-U, historian and author of several books on Myanmar, said Monday’s events opened the door to “an incredibly uncertain future”.

“Myanmar is a country awash in arms, with millions of people in desperate poverty and deep ethnic and religious divisions,” he said. “The possibility of much more bloodshed than what we have seen in recent years is not unimaginable.”

The United States and Australia condemned the military’s actions on Monday. The White House issued a statement in which it was “alarmed” by news of the arrests and said President Joe Biden had been briefed by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan of the situation.

“We continue to affirm our strong support for Burmese democratic institutions and, in coordination with our regional partners, urge the military and all other parties to adhere to democratic standards and the rule of law, and to release those detained today. ‘hui,’ statement said.

The Australian government said it was “deeply concerned by reports that the Burmese military is once again seeking control of Myanmar” in a statement from Marise Payne, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Twitter: @JohnReedwrites



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