Myanmar coup: What happened? What’s next?

Myanmar
Image Courtesy: CBS news

On Monday, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the chief of Myanmar armed forces led a military takeover of the parliament in Naypyidaw and arrested Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in a series of raids. It is not clear where they are being held.

Following the allegations of widespread fraud in the parliamentary elections there were weeks of tension between the armed forces and the government. This subsequently led to the Myanmar coup. Reports suggest that the parliamentary elections were not backed by the electoral commission made by the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

A state of emergency has been imposed which is expected to last 1 year. A Myanmar army spokesperson said that there will be a re-run of the elections but no extensions can be ruled out.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has once again been pushed into military rule. After the British rule, the country was ruled by the military for nearly 49 years. In 2011, democratic reforms led by Aung San Suu Kyi ended the military rule.

Meanwhile, Myanmar’s National League for Democracy party called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other detained leaders today.

A document posted on the party’s official Facebook page reads, “Release all detainees including the president (Win Myint) and the State Counsellor (Suu Kyi). We see this as a stain on the history of the State and the Tatmadaw”.

India has noted the developments with deep concern. The Ministry of External Affairs have issued a statement that reads, “We have noted the developments in Myanmar with deep concern. India has always been steadfast in its support to the process of democratic transition in Myanmar. We believe that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld. We are monitoring the situation closely”.

The White House was quick to respond as well. “The US is alarmed by reports that Burmese military has taken steps to undermine country’s democratic transition, including arrest of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi & other civilian officials in Burma. President Biden has been briefed by NSA,” White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

On the other hand, US President Joe Biden has asked the Myanmar military to relinquish power immediately while also ordering a review to consider reimposing those sanctions that were lifted during the nation’s transition to democracy.

“The international community should come together in one voice to press the Burmese military to immediately relinquish the power they have seized. The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy,” Biden said in his statement, adding, “The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action. The United States will stand up for democracy wherever it is under attack.”

Myanmar’s transition to a democratic nation from the military rule was considered a huge success story of the Obama administration where Biden served as vice president.

However, following the arrest of the iconic democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy that the United States stand for seem to be in grave danger.

Biden has called on other nations to stand with Burma (Myanmar) and will work with its partners to support the restoration of democracy.

“The United States is taking note of those who stand with the people of Burma in this difficult hour. We will work with our partners throughout the region and the world to support the restoration of democracy and the rule of law, as well as to hold accountable those responsible for overturning Burma’s democratic transition,” Biden said in a statement.

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