Myanmar Military Seizes Power
By The Irrawaddy 1 February 2021
The military’s mouthpiece channel, Myawaddy TV, has announced that acting President U Myint Swe has declared the country to be under a nationwide state of emergency for one year under Article 417 of the 2008 Constitution.
U Myint Swe, a former general, was appointed by the military as Vice President to represent the armed forces in the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government, whose powers were assumed by the military in a coup early on Monday morning.
The broadcaster read out a statement saying that “the country’s legislative, administrative and judicial powers are transferred to the military’s commander-in-chief, in accordance with Article 418 of the military-backed 2008 Constitution, until the actions are taken against [alleged irregularities in] voter list checking and [approval].”
Defending the military’s action to stage a coup, the statement accused the Union Election Commission of failing to address voter list irregularities and said it was forced to act because the government had rejected the military’s demands, including the postponement of the new Parliament, which was slated to convene its first session on Monday morning.
Senior NLD leaders including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint were detained a few hours before the takeover was announced.
The NLD’s chief ministers and ministers in the states and regions were also detained.
NLD lawmakers preparing to attend the opening of the new Parliament today were also arrested. Shortly before they were detained, a number of NLD lawmakers posted video announcements on social media that were apparently prepared ahead of time in anticipation of a possible coup; others livestreamed the arrival of soldiers at a residential compound for lawmakers in Naypyidaw.
Reports have emerged that critics of the military have also been detained.
The Irrawaddy has been unable to contact its bureau chief in Naypyidaw, where communications have been shut down.