EXPLAINER: Why is the army taking management in Myanmar?


JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Myanmar’s army has staged a coup, detained chief Aung San Suu Kyi and different senior politicians and brought management of the nation beneath a one-year state of emergency. Here are some doable the explanation why the army has taken over now:


The announcement on military-owned Myawaddy TV cited Article 417 of the nation’s structure, which permits the army to take over in occasions of emergency. The announcer mentioned the coronavirus disaster and the federal government’s failure to postpone November elections throughout the pandemic had been causes for the emergency.

The army drafted the structure in 2008 and retains energy beneath the constitution on the expense of democratic, civilian rule. Human Rights Watch has described the clause as a “coup mechanism in waiting.”

The structure additionally reserves key Cabinet ministries and 25% of the seats in Parliament for the army, a portion that limits the facility of a civilian authorities and rules out amending the constitution with out army help.

Some consultants expressed puzzlement as to why the army would upset its highly effective establishment, however others famous the looming retirement of Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who has been commander of the armed forces since 2011.

“There’s internal military politics around that, which is very opaque,” mentioned Kim Jolliffe, a researcher on Myanmar civilian and army relations. “This might be reflecting those dynamics and might be somewhat of a coup internally and his way of maintaining power within the military.”

The army has assigned Vice President Myint Swe, a former army officer greatest identified by the worldwide group for cracking down on the 2007 monk-led common protests identified abroad because the Saffron Revolution, as head of the federal government for one yr.

Immediately after he was named president, Myint Swe handed energy to the nation’s prime army commander, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.


In November elections, Suu Kyi’s occasion captured 396 out of 476 seats within the mixed decrease and higher homes of Parliament. The state Union Election Commission has confirmed that end result.

But the army since shortly after the elections has claimed there have been thousands and thousands of irregularities in voter lists in 314 townships that might have let voters solid a number of ballots or commit different “voting malpractice.”

“But they haven’t really shown any proof of that,” Jolliffe mentioned.

The election fee rejected the claims final week, stating there was no proof to help them.

The army takeover got here on what was to be the primary day of the brand new Parliament following the elections.

Instead, Suu Kyi and different lawmakers who would have been sworn into workplace had been detained.

A later announcement on Myawaddy TV mentioned the army would maintain an election after the one-year emergency ends and would flip over energy to the winner.


Telecommunications got here to a near halt within the morning and early afternoon. In the capital, web and telephone entry gave the impression to be blocked. Many folks elsewhere within the nation who might nonetheless entry the web discovered their social media accounts had been briefly suspended.

Barbed wire highway blocks had been arrange throughout Yangon, the most important metropolis, and army items started to appear exterior authorities buildings similar to City Hall.

Residents flocked to ATMs and meals distributors, whereas some retailers and houses eliminated the symbols of Suu Kyi’s occasion, the National League for Democracy, that usually adorn the streets and partitions of the town.


Governments and worldwide organizations condemned the takeover, saying it units again the restricted democratic reforms Myanmar has made.

“This is an extremely crushing blow to efforts to present Myanmar as a democracy,” said Linda Lakhdhir, a legal adviser at Human Rights Watch. ”Its creditability on the world stage has taken an enormous hit.”

Watchdogs fear an additional crackdown on human rights defenders, journalists, and others vital of the army. Even earlier than the present army takeover, journalists, free speech advocates and critics of the army usually confronted authorized motion for publicly criticizing it.

A U.S. senator raised the chance the United States might once more impose financial sanctions, which the U.S. lifted when Myanmar was transitioning to civilian rule.

Myanmar’s army leaders “must immediately free the democratic leaders of Myanmar and remove themselves from government,” mentioned Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “If not, the United States and other countries should impose strict economic sanctions, as well as other measures” in opposition to the army and army leaders, he mentioned.

Former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson mentioned the Biden administration and different governments ought to act swiftly to impose sanctions. He additionally questioned Suu Kyi’s capacity to steer given her protection of the army’s actions in opposition to ethnic Rohingya Muslims.

“Because of Suu Kyi’s failure to promote democratic values as Myanmar’s de facto leader, she should step aside and let other Myanmar democratic leaders take the reins with international backing and support,” Richardson mentioned in an announcement.

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