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The sudden change of wind and cloud What is the future direction of Myanmar’s political situation?

The Central Counter-Terrorism Committee of Myanmar has declared organizations such as the Myanmar People's Defence Forces a terrorist organization

Myanmar flag. Picture/Beijing News Network.

 February 1, the Myanmar military detained state senior government officials Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President Wen Min. 

Subsequently, the Myanmar military announced a one-year state of emergency for the country under article 417 of the Myanmar Constitution, and appointed U Min-sui as interim president.

As soon as the news came out, it attracted the attention of public opinion.

On the afternoon of the 1st, the Myanmar military issued a televised statement saying that after the end of the national emergency, Myanmar will resume general elections and state power will be transferred to the newly elected political parties.

Myanmar’s military statement also said that during the implementation of the national emergency, the Federal Election Commission will be reformed to re-verify the general election process last November.

In response, Wang Wenbin, spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “We have noticed what happened in Myanmar and are learning more about the situation.

China is a friendly neighbor of Myanmar, and we hope that all parties in Myanmar can properly handle their differences and maintain political and social stability under the constitutional and legal framework.

Many people are concerned: What will happen to Myanmar’s political situation next?

The electoral dispute is the trigger.

It dates back to the general election held in Myanmar on November 8, 2020, when the NLD won an overwhelming victory.

Of the 476 federal seats, the NLD won 258 seats in the Wolesi Jirga (the lower house) and 138 seats in the House of Peoples (Upper House), a total of 396 seats, while the former pro-military ruling party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (Gongfa Party), only got 33 seats in the Federal Parliament, and the minority party Shan Democratic Union, if The Founding National Party won 15 and 8 seats respectively, becoming the third and fourth largest party in the Federal Parliament.

Before and after the election results, the Myanmar military and Gongfa Party have been accusing the election of unfairness and large-scale electoral fraud. 

Myanmar’s military and Gongfa Party accused the election of being “unfree and unfair” and that there were problems such as confusion in identity verification, repeated voters voting, and voting for others during the election process.

The Electoral Commission denied the accusations of the Myanmar military and the Gongfa Party.

Subsequently, the Myanmar military and the NLD held consultations on the issue of election fraud, but in the end, the two sides were too different.

On the eve of the new National Assembly, the military began to take over power.

Daw Aung San Suji. Picture

The complexity of “two-government system”

According to the 2008 Constitution of the Union of Myanmar, Myanmar implements the presidential system, adopts the form of political organization that separates executive, judicial and legislative powers, and improves national autonomy.

At the same time, the 2008 Constitution guarantees the power and status of the army, stipulating that the military personnel hold a quarter of the seats at all levels of parliament, and the leadership of the interior, defense, public security and border affairs departments in the cabinet will be nominated by the commander-in-chief of the army, which guarantees the core political influence of the army in Myanmar.

In terms of government composition, Myanmar is actually a “two-government system”, that is, a system of elected governments and military personnel to share power.

In foreign affairs, economic and other aspects, the current government has a say, but the military has a say in defense, security and internal affairs.

To a large extent, the stability of the “two-government system” depends on the power coordination between the Myanmar government and the military.

Once the coordination between the two sides is insufficient or fails, political changes may occur.

What is the future political situation?

Now, the Myanmar military has announced that it will re-election after the state of emergency, and pressure from ILD supporters and international public opinion will also be an important factor in the direction of Myanmar’s political situation.

On the one hand, the NLD is calling on the people to protest and demonstrate, and it is difficult for the Myanmar military to ignore the support rate of the NLD in Myanmar.

On the other hand, the Myanmar military has to solve the problem of “reconvalence”.

There are still two possibilities for Myanmar’s political situation in the future: one is that military personnel will end the state of emergency ahead of schedule, compromise with NLD and form a coalition government under strong pressure at home and abroad; the other is to reopen general elections as announced by the military.

In the short term, the army will play a vital role in Myanmar politics.

In the medium term, it remains to be tested whether Myanmar’s political situation is going to Thailand or Indonesia.

In addition, Myanmar, as a member of ASEAN, changes in the political situation may attract the attention of ASEAN countries.

Although ASEAN adheres to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, Myanmar’s political changes are likely to bring new variables to the ASEAN integration process.

It is hoped that all parties in Myanmar will properly handle their differences within the legal framework and return to stability as soon as possible.

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