The world has witnessed extreme anarchy of democracy announced in Myanmar. On the morning of 1 February 2021, when the democratically elected members of the country’s ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), were deposed by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military). The State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other political leaders were got arrested. The arrest instruction was given by the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Min Aung Hlaing. Instantly all the networks and social media activities were slowed down. Even the television media didn’t have the right to serve out the updated news. The Military had announced that the country is under emergency for the next one year. The administration of the country will be led by the militaries again.
Myanmar in its 70 years’ history of independence, almost 50 years were under the surveillance of the militaries. The people of Myanmar had a soft corner for the Tatmadaw and this endurable state provoked the militaries to be oppressing and perverse. Probably this situation was the worst of all times in Myanmar’s history. After this declaration, the citizens started opposing the declaration. The civil servants started the civil disobedient movements, common citizens started protest activities against the military admin.
In the Parliamentary Elections 2020, Aung San Suu Kyi and her political party won by a large margin. According to Min Aung Hlaing, the main reason behind the great victory of NLD was nothing but a voting fraud case. The military claimed that in the voters’ list they have found many irregularities. They found many people have voted more than one time. But Union Election Commission(UEC) rejected these allegations. Still, the military denied the UEC and overthrew the NLD government.
The countrymen didn’t have a guess about this coup. In fact, it’s not that there was always a democratic equilibrium position before this coup. According to a premium guest post, before 1st February 2021, the military had a press conference with this election issue. There they were asked that were they preparing for a military coup. The spokesmen classically replied, “We don’t say the Tatmadaw will take power. We do not say it will not as well.” Even the spokesmen noted, “The Tatmadaw is protecting the 2008 constitution and will act according to the law.”
Though there were other third-party observers, they didn’t claim any type of election fraudulent cases against NLD. So, what was the main reason behind the coup? To know the basic reason, we need to go to the core of Myanmar’s history to 1947.
The history behind the coup:
Myanmar, also known earlier as Burma. The nation was under British rule like India. During World War II, Japan occupied Burma. A local army fought against Japan with the help of the allies(US and UK). Thus they got back control over Burma again. The leader of the local army was Aung San. He was hailed as ‘The Father of the Nation’. Since then the citizens have a soft corner for the military in Myanmar.
Like India, there are also many complexities in Myanmar. It has over 130 ethnicities. 70% of the citizens of Myanmar belong to the Bamar ethnicity. All the top political leaders or powerful military people belong to the Bamar ethnicity. All of these ethnicities had their own group leaders. Once all the group leaders from the ethnicities signed an agreement under the supervision of Aung San to build a strong and united nation. But there was a condition that all it would be a federal nation. And non-Bamar ethnicities also could govern their own internal areas. But before the country was getting its formal independence, there happened a mishap. Aung San got assassinated.
From 1948 to 1962 Myanmar was a democratic nation. But the federalism was unsung there. As a result, the Bamar-centric government was always involved in internal fights with the other ethnic groups. Even this torrid atmosphere is still present in Myanmar. Then the first military coup happened in 1962 when the military stated that the nation was under threat due to the insurgencies and complete control by the military was necessary. This started a military rule in Myanmar for the next 50 years. After the first coup, the military took all the controls of the private properties. They expelled the foreigners and made Myanmar an isolated country. That is how the economy was struggling in Myanmar wherein the other countries it was growing up. The whole country was facing a tremendous downfall due to the lacking of international relations.
On 8th August 1988, Myanmar experienced its largest pro-democracy protest. Many students revolted against military rule. These protests are known as the ‘8888 Protest’. Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of Aung San decided to organize a party against the military. For her protest acts, she was kept home arrested for the next 20 years. Aung San Suu Kyi was very much influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. So, she initiated a non-violent struggle. As a result, she was awarded the great ‘Noble Prize’. This attracted the citizens and she gained acceptance.
In 2015, Aung San Suu Kyi won the parliament election. Being a State Counselor she formed her new government. The economy started getting upraised gradually. Citizens were very much optimistic. But the situation didn’t remain the same for a long as the situation became unhealthy. She became more authoritarian, business communities were unsatisfied with the economy as it was slowing down. She took some wrong steps which the citizens didn’t like. On the other hand, the military could feel the power in spite of not being a ruler.
This was the context for the 2019 elections in the country. Aung San Suu Kyi was unpopular among the non-Bamars and even among the other foreign countries. It was a perfect position for the Myanmar military. In fact, they were gaining the position where Aung San Suu Kyi was in many controversies.
Reasons behind the coup:
As stated in the previous lines that Aung San Suu Kyi was criticized, the military thought to throw out NLD. But the situation was just the opposite. In fact, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party has beaten their 2019 election results. They even dominated the districts that were primarily occupied by the military. This was a matter of shame for the military. Aung San Suu Kyi was growing popular among even the non-Bamar and the Bamars. The military thought this growing fame might create a revolt against them.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s government proposed a bill to reform the constitution which was designed by the military. It was a matter of fear as if the constitution gets changed, all the power the military has will be displaced. Though without the 25% vote in the parliament NLD government can’t change the constitution, still the military didn’t like that Aung San Suu Kyi has raised this topic.
Thirdly, it seems China is supporting the military for the coup. But according to the experts, it is not true. As the relationship between Aung San Suu Kyi and China is satisfactory, this reason is baseless.
Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Min Aung Hlaing is retiring this year. Some experts said that behind this there is a personal interest of Commander-in-Chief. He has fear as after his retirement he might be arrested due to the Rohingya genocide case. Wherein the situation doesn’t take place and for the continuation of the military influence over Myanmar, there is a significant relevance of this coup.
Whatever the reason is, we must realize, this coup can’t be compared with the other coups that took place in Myanmar. Now the economic and political expectations of the citizens are different. They are aware of a free democracy and free economy. That’s why they will never accept this so easily. We can just hope for the early recovery and progress of the neighboring country.