Burma

Amid Coup, Myanmar's NLD Lawmakers Form Committee to Serve as Legitimate Parliament

By The Irrawaddy 8 February 2021

YANGON—As nationwide protests against the military coup gained steam across Myanmar, a committee representing elected members of the Union Parliament from the National League for Democracy (NLD) on Sunday condemned the military takeover as a “criminal act” and the military regime’s cabinet as illegitimate.

Formed by NLD MPs elected to office in November’s poll, the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) refused to recognize the military regime’s cabinet and said the military overthrow of the civilian government by force of arms was a violation of the provisions of Chapter 6 of the Criminal Law. The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw is Myanmar’s Union Parliament. It was dissolved by the military following Monday’s coup.

After forming the CRPH, the NLD lawmakers notified UN diplomats and international parliaments that they should contact the committee to discuss government business, and not the military regime. The CRPH would conduct the regular functions of the Union Parliament, it said.

The CRPH said the military coup was a criminal offense against the Union government.

It praised members of the Myanmar public who have joined anti-coup rallies and urged them to continue and remain unified.

Mass protests against the coup have spread nationwide, not only in Burmese dominated regions but also to the ethnic-dominated states of Kachin, Shan, Karen and Chin. Protesters are demanding an end to the military regime, and the release of detained national civilian leaders Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, as well as senior members of the NLD and prominent activists.

Anti-coup protesters face off with police on the second day of nationwide protests against the military coup in Yangon. / The Irrawaddy

Thousands of civil servants across the country have joined the civil disobedience movement to show their opposition to the military regime.

The CRPH said the strength of public opposition to the military coup demonstrated that the military’s claim of electoral fraud lacked any basis in fact.

It said the military’s unlawful actions were motivated by the personal interests of some military leaders.

The military staged a coup on Feb. 1 just hours before the new NLD-dominated Parliament was set to convene, claiming it was forced to act over what it called electoral fraud in the Nov. 8 general election and the civilian government’s failure to address the issue.

The CRPH also thanked the ethnic parties and ethnic armed groups that have expressed opposition to the military coup.

It said all citizens, regardless of race or religion, should be able to overcome the obstacles to the establishment of the federal democratic union to which they aspire.

“There is a great need for mutual understanding and cooperation among political forces [in opposing the coup],” the CRPH said.

On Friday, the committee advised UN representatives and the legislatures of foreign countries of its stance that the government led by President U Win Myint is the official government of Myanmar.

The lawmakers said the illegitimate coup staged by military commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing is unconstitutional, adding that it “does not revoke the legitimate authority entrusted to us by the people.”

Demonstrating their rejection of the military’s coup and cabinet, elected state and regional lawmakers have been sworn in at mobile parliamentary sessions starting from Sunday.

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