The Situation in Myanmar
This morning, Military officials in Myanmar (also known as Burma) confirmed that they had executed a coup d’etat, seizing power from State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government. The National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in democratic parliamentary elections back in November, defeating the military backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and returning to government with increased majorities across the board.
During the election, the USDP began to make public allegations of voter and electoral fraud on a massive scale. According to the BBC, the military claimed to have found ‘millions of irregularities’ in the election, mirroring many of the complaints made by President Trump following his defeat in the US. Claims of any such fraud have, however, been rejected by the Union Election Commission (UEC), who said that the election could not have been ‘more transparent’ and had been undertaken ‘fairly and freely’.
The Financial Times reported that, after initial tensions over the result last week, Military leader Min Aung Hlaing seemed to acquiesce to the democratically elected government over the weekend, saying that the armed forces would abide by the constitution. On Monday morning, however, the meaning of this statement became painfully clear when the military, citing article 417 of the constitution, took control of the nation and detained political leaders in a successful coup d’etat, Myanmar’s first against a civilian government since 1962. Among those who were detained were Aung San Suu Kyi, chairperson of the NLD and de facto leader of Myanmar, and her political ally, President Win Myint.
Aung Sun Suu Kyi: Hero of Democracy?
Daughter of decorated independence fighter General Aung San, Ms Suu Kyi has long been a popular figure in Myanmar. Between the years of 1989 and 2010 she spent a total of almost 15 years in detention as a result of her activism and attempts to further the cause of democracy in the nation during a time when the military held power. Indeed, her peaceful resistance and commitment to democracy earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
However, her international image was tarnished when, having led the NLD to power in 2015, her…