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Myanmar polls and events that led to military coup and detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, others

In the first coup since 1962, Myanmar's military Monday detained Aung San Suu Kyi and others in early morning raids and announced a state of emergency for a year.

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New Delhi: Myanmar’s military Monday took control of the country after detaining civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians in early morning raids — the first coup d’etat since 1962

This comes hours before the newly-elected Parliament was due to meet for the first time since last year’s elections, which had delivered a landslide victory to Suu Kyi’s ruling National League for Democracy (NLD). 

The results, however, had been contested by the military.

Myanmar’s military-owned Myawaddy TV Monday announced a state of emergency while echoing the force’s allegations of mass voter fraud in the recent polls. 

“Although the sovereignty of the nation must derive from the people, there was terrible fraud in the voter list during the democratic general election which runs contrary to ensuring a stable democracy,” it said in a statement

Power has now been handed over to commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, while former general Myint Swe, who was serving as vice-president, will now serve as acting president. 

India’s External Affairs Ministry has expressed concern over the situation calling for the “rule of law” and the “democratic process” to be upheld. 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also “strongly” condemned the military detention. The US had Sunday warned Myanmar’s military officials that it would “take action” if they proceeded with the coup.

ThePrint looks back at the elections and the circumstances that had led to the coup.

Also read: DIY lockdowns and barricades: How Myanmar’s poorest took virus fight into their own hands

Military disputes 2020 election results

The Myanmar military’s actions are the result of its contention that there were 8.6 million (around 86 lakh) irregularities in voter lists in 314 townships, which could have let voters cast multiple ballots during the elections on 8 November, 2020.

Suu Kyi’s NLD had bagged 396 of the 476 seats in the combined lower and upper houses of Parliament, far above the 322-seat threshold needed for a majority. 

The NLD had also fared better than its 2015 performance when it bagged 348 seats in the polls. The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won only 33 seats in 2020 — down from 40 seats in 2015.  

The military is also allotted 25 per cent of total seats in line with the military-drafted constitution of 2008 while voting was cancelled in several places denying almost 1.5 million (15 lakh) people the opportunity to participate in the process. 

The NLD had been working towards limiting the role of the military in the allotment of parliamentary seats: down to 15 per cent after the 2020 election, 10 per cent after 2025 and 5 per cent after 2030. Aung San Suu Kyi had proposed a constitutional amendment for it early last year but failed. 

On 11 November, the USDP demanded a re-run of the election in cooperation with the military after alleging errors in voting lists and poor-quality ballot boxes and envelopes. 

Before the poll, Army Chief Min Aung Hlaing, to whom power has now been transferred, had accused the government of not doing enough to ensure a free and fair election but had after the vote promised to respect the election result. 

November’s polls were only the second time Myanmar had held general elections since the end of military rule in the country in 2011.  

Also read: India discusses Rohingya refugees issue with Myanmar as Bangladesh’s ‘close neighbour’

Lead-up to a military coup

Fears of a coup began to mount early last Tuesday when a military spokesperson declined to rule one out if accusations of voter fraud in November’s elections went unaddressed. 

Military chief Min Aung Hlaing had last Wednesday warned that the constitution could be revoked if laws are not properly enforced. 

On Thursday, the Union Election Commission, which conducted the elections, rejected allegations by the military of voter fraud. 

Foreign embassies of Western nations including the US and European Union released a joint statement Friday addressing fears of a coup ahead of the scheduled parliamentary session.

“We affirm our support for Myanmar’s democratic transition and efforts to promote peace, human rights, and development in the country,” the statement said. “We look forward to the peaceful convening of the Parliament on February 1 and the election of the President and speakers.”  

Myanmar’s military denied stifling the democratic transition Sunday and had warned the foreign powers “not to make unwarranted assumptions about the situation”.

Last week was also marked by many protests in Yangon, Mandalay and other townships. Some protests were held by NLD supporters who backed the election commission and others were held by pro-military demonstrators.

Early morning raids, disrupted phone & internet services

All those fears came true early Monday morning. 

Apart from Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate whose image has been dented after she was made to face genocide charges in 2019 over the military crackdown of Rohingya refugees, state Counsellor President Win Myint, prominent activists, journalists and chief ministers of 14 states and regions were also detained in the early morning raids, reported Myanmar Now

Residents of major cities including commercial capital Yangon have complained of disruptions in phone, mobile data, television and internet services, while banks have temporarily halted their services. Yangon’s international airport has also been shut, say reports.

The military plans to clarify voter fraud and hold another round of general elections after the period of emergency.

Also read: No immediate reason for Dhaka to be concerned on CAA-NRC, says Bangladesh foreign secretary


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  1. Myanmar military takes over control of the country on 1 February 2021 for one year.
    According to news reports , Myanmar military took over control of the country on 1 February 2021 for one year. In the November 2020 election , party led by Aung San Suu Kyi had won landslide , which was disputed by opposition party by alleging fraud in the election. News reports said that Myanmar’s first Vice President Myint Swe has been appointed acting President. These developments have evoked sharp responses from some of world leaders. There were news reports of ultimatum by opposition parties in Pakistan during December 2020 asking Imran Khan to resign by 31 January 2021.
    In the context of these developments , it may be apt to refer readers to this Vedic astrology writer’s one of predictive alerts in the following article published at last year 2020 on 26 November :-
    “ Major worrisome potential of concerns during 10 January to 13 February in soon coming year 2021 for vulnerable world and India as well , calling for more care and appropriate strategy”.
    The predictive alert corresponding to change in the government during the period covered in the prediction reads like this :
    “( B ). ( 1 ). Now , soon after opening out of new year 2021 , from about 10 January to 13 February , 2021 , the planetary movements are capable of being read as follows :-
    Where vulnerable , a civil war or change in the government appears to be imminent , may be around mid-December 2020 even. Pakistan looks to be closer to this reading of planetary impacts. Some other vulnerable countries across the globe look to be witnessing woeful times. In short , this period appears to be a time having potential to weakening or loosening of balance , human beast can rise and race fast to eat up whosoever it considers its opponent”.
    This writer’s predictive alert for more care and appropriate strategy appears to be indicative meaningfully, the aforesaid details suggest.
    Link to reach the article published on 26 November 2020 :-

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