23/04/2021

THAILAND DAILY

NEWSPAPER / MAGAZINE / PUBLISHER

military-coup-in-myanmar.-aung-san-suu-kyi-held-with-scores-of-leading-political-figures-arrested-by-troops 

Military coup in Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi held with scores of leading political figures arrested by troops 

The United States, through White House spokesperson Jen Psaki, has issued a stern warning to the coup makers saying it will ‘take action’ unless civilian rule is restored. The move follows persistent military claims of widespread fraud in the November 8th election which the ruling party won in a landslide.

Myanmar was plunged into chaos on Monday with the military staging a coup justified under a constitutional provision allowing the declaration of a state of emergency. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi was detained along with scores of members of the ruling National League for Democracy Party.

military-coup-in-myanmar-aung-san-suu-kyi-held
The Commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar armed forces, General Min Aung Hlaing (left) has assumed power under a one year state of emergency after a Vice President declared a constitutional crisis. This came as scores of politicians were detained by the military including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (right).

On Monday morning, it appeared the military in Myanmar or the Tatmadaw had taken power in the country in what appears to be a coup.

The move began with the arrests of key political leaders including the country’s revered State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, followed by a large number of other officials associated with the ruling National League for Democracy Party which won a landslide in a General Election last November, an outcome that has, in recent weeks, been openly disputed by the country’s military.

Second election since the return to democracy

It was the second election since the country returned to some form of democratic rule after the first poll in 2015.

Since 2010, the Myanmar military had worked with Aung San Suu Kyi to forge a convoluted new constitution in which, it maintained control over key ministries and 25% of parliamentary seats while specifically denying her the role of President.

After the November 8th election, it appeared that the National League for Democracy had won 396 seats in the House of Representatives, far more than the 322 seats needed to form a government

Coup comes just days before a new government was to be formed in complex parliamentary votes

The military’s move, on Monday, comes just ahead of parliamentary meetings to elect a new administration under a complex mechanism due to Myanmar’s status as a Union of states. It follows a week of heightened speculation about the possibility of a coup in the country.

It is understood that the military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party had only won 33 seats in an election which saw a 70% turnout among the country’s voting population of 37.3 million people.

National League for Democracy spokesperson told a reporter he was waiting for soldiers to arrest him

A spokesperson for the National League for Democracy on Monday explained what was going on. ‘I received internal reports about our state counsellor and the president being taken by the military. As far as I was informed, Shan State’s Planning and Finance Minister U Soe Nyunt Lwin, Kayah state’s NLD chairman Thaung Htay and some NLD representatives of the Ayeyarwady region’s parliament have been detained,’ Dr Myo Nyunt told the Chinese news agency Xinhua. ‘Two members of the Central Executive Committee of the party were taken and I am also waiting to be detained as I was informed by our members that my turn will come shortly’

75% of the internet not working

Later, amid patchy communications throughout the country with a 75% reduction in internet connectivity, especially in Yangon and the capital city Nay Pyi Taw, the military announced on the armed forces TV channel that a state of emergency has been declared for one year and that the Commander-in-chief of the Army, Min Aung Hlaing, would assume power.

Army Vice President declared a constitutional emergency after the President was detained

The military is attempting to justify its position by claiming a military Vice President, taking on the role of Acting President, had invoked a constitutional provision to declare a state of emergency on the basis of widespread fraud in the November election.

It is understood that representatives from the United States, European Union and the United Nations have all dismissed such claims as did the country’s Election Commission.

However, last week, amid a backlash and warnings even from the diplomatic corps in the country as its intentions became plain, the military issued a statement saying it found ‘the process of the 2020 election unacceptable’. 

White House rejects the power grab

At the White House, spokesperson Jen Psaki issued a blunt statement on the developments within the Southeast Asian country on Thailand’s western border: ‘The United States opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition, and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed.’

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner whose reputation was tarnished in the western world over the Rohingya crisis had begun to look elsewhere

Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her resistance against the military and was detained by the junta under house arrest for 15 years between 1989 and 2010.

She was part of a brokered deal with the regime which ran the country for nearly 50 years from 1962, to return it from the military’s grip to some semblance of civilian rule.

However, the popular State Counsellor at home, saw her reputation in western countries tarnished by her carefully calibrated position on the alleged persecution and genocide perpetrated by the military on the Muslim Rohingya population.

This, according to informed sources, had led her to look more and more towards China and India in recent years as it looked like Myanmar was forging a path towards greater democracy on its own terms.

Well known Burmese historian has a sinking feeling: ‘The doors just opened to a very different future’

Commenting on what happened on Monday the grandson of former Myanmar UN Secretary-general from 1961 to 1971 General U Thant, Thant Myint-U, a historian and writer who himself has worked with the UN and on the Myanmar peace process between the military and civilian leaders, issued a downbeat analysis of events unfolding in his country on social media: ‘The doors just opened to a very different future. I have a sinking feeling that no one will really be able to control what comes next.’

Join the Thai News forum, follow Thai Examiner on Facebook here
Receive all our stories as they come out on Telegram here

Further reading:

Call from Washington hints at a bigger role in US foreign policy plans in the Asia Pacific region

US Ambassador resigns as Biden Presidency starts with growing tensions with China over Taiwan

More assured Biden Presidency to test Bangkok as US Chinese tensions expected to remain in play in Asia

Political experts fear Biden Presidency could turn very sour for Thailand after US Senate resolution

Prime Minister rules out dialogue with the ‘mob’ who he accuses of threatening to disrupt Bangkok

Protest leader ‘Penguin’ warns of the ‘smell’ of a coup and urges followers to take to the streets if it happens

Escalating danger and violence on the streets as protests turn uglier with 3 demands still pursued by activists

Coup again ruled out by Prawit as reconciliation is sought but with growing calls for Prayut to go

Chiang Rai MP shocks parliament in Bangkok by slashing himself in an outcry at police force action

Water cannon used to fend off Bangkok protesters as police uphold the strict new emergency laws

Prime Minister and Budget director issue strong warning about the legally stalled 2020 budget

Vital ฿3.2 trillion spending bill could be sunk after former Democrat MP raises valid legal concerns

Opposition will not put the ฿3.3 trillion 2020 budget bill in danger but plans to scrutinise it

Revived protest ends in Bangkok as severe state of emergency is declared and protest leaders arrested

Fears of a crackdown on protest grow overnight as PM warns parents to get loved ones out of zone

Rally’s march on Government House surprises officials with a larger turnout and police in retreat

Police arrest 21 protesters in Bangkok attempting to block the road to be used for planned Royal motorcade

Smaller crowd expected at rally on Wednesday as police gear up security cordon with checkpoints

Police say students have no permission to protest as army chief warns that security will be upheld

New army chief takes the helm this week amid growing tensions and rising public apathy toward politics

Criminal charges likely against student leaders as mysterious ‘People’s Party’ plaque goes missing

Students submit a reform petition to the Privy Council, call for a General Strike in Thailand on October 14th

March on government to go ahead on Sunday as rally organisers appear to focus on the monarchy reform plans

Western foreigners being blamed by ultra-right for this latest wave of radical student protests

Raised concerns for the defiant student protest being planned for next Saturday and Sunday

Exasperated PM loses patience with press corps over ‘distorted’ online speculation of a coup amid tensions

Army chief denies and rejects rumours of a likely coup as the country faces crisis on key fronts

Shock resignation of Minister of Finance a sign of more politics being demanded in government

Thailand stuck in a ‘vicious cycle’ which will lead to further military coups says leading academic

New ministers take the reins in a formal audience with King Rama X & Queen Suthida at Dusit Palace

New cabinet lineup in Royal Gazette but economic damage now extending into parts of the property market

Warning signs in new banking and employment reports as virus crisis hits Thailand’s bottom line hard

Thailand may have to live with the virus but can recover in two years says outgoing central bank chief

June export figures show a 23% decline on last year but the economy will recover by end of 2021

Prime Minister indicates that the cabinet reshuffle will be complete very shortly with no problem

Somkid ready to bow out of government as September cabinet reshuffle seems to be on the cards

Plans to relaunch tourism from China thrown out as conflicting reports emerge of a new swine flu virus threat

Election of a new ruling party leader, shifts focus now to the future of the economics czar Somkid and his team

Banks ordered to cease dividends and shore up balance sheets on fears of loan quality erosion due to slump

Thai economy in even greater peril as Covid 19 shutdown appears to have had a bigger impact than expected

Election of Prawit as Palang Pracharat leader will see more grassroots politics in government

About the Author

Carla Boonkong is a magazine writer who writes extensively about woman’s issues in Thailand. One of her key subjects is the story of Thailand’s growing influence in the world and the role played by Thai women in the process. She is now a staff writer with Thai Examiner.com in Bangkok. Son Nguyen is an international writer and news commentator specialising in Thai news and current affairs. He commenced working with the Thai Examiner News Desk in May 2018.

Comments

be the first to comment on this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Take Me Top