NLD Must Act to Avoid Another Coup: USDP Spokesperson

By Htet Naing Zaw 17 September 2018

NAYPYITAW — Amid growing concerns of an impending coup staged by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army) as a result of recent political circumstances, the opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has said that the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) has a responsibility to avert one.

“It depends on the policies and actions of the current government. It is [the NLD’s] responsibility to implement the right policies and provide leadership to prevent a reverse in the transition period,” USDP spokesperson U Nanda Hla Myint told The Irrawaddy.

The country is facing racial and religious conflicts and is under greater international pressure, he said. As well as an economic crisis, the rule of law has weakened with peace nowhere in sight, he added.

More than two years into the NLD’s administration, people are starting to worry that the country’s democratization will reverse, he said.

Unlike President U Thein Sein’s administration, the NLD-led government lacks cooperation, said U Nanda Hla Myint.

“[The NLD-led government] consults no one and cooperates with no one. If it thinks highly of itself and acts without regard for the opinion of others, then the situation that people dread may reoccur any time,” he said ahead of an International Democracy Day event, which fell on Saturday.

The Union Parliament on Saturday observed International Democracy Day with an event around the theme of “oversight.”

U Aung Kyi Nyunt, a central executive committee member of the NLD, said: “Nothing has happened yet, and there is no point in finding someone to blame for a coup which has not yet happened. There is nothing to worry about.”

Democracy is about cooperation according to the wishes of the majority, and not about the majority doing as they like whether it is right or wrong, said military representative of the Upper House of parliament Colonel Than Htike during the event to mark International Democracy Day.

“All have to cooperate to ensure right and fair democratic practices in order to bring about national development. This can’t be done by an individual,” he said.

Whether the country will reverse or not depends on the management of the government, said U Nanda Hla Myint, adding that the military-drafted 2008 Constitution states that the Tatmadaw has to protect the country if its sovereignty is at risk.

“It will mainly depend on cooperation, effort and the leadership of the government to avoid it. But if that happens [that the national sovereignty is threatened], the Tatmadaw, being the last fort, can’t just stand by. If it stands by, it would be to blame in the country’s history,” he said.

The Tatmadaw has staged two coups—the first in 1962 by the late dictator General Ne Win, and the second by late General Saw Maung on the instruction of General Ne Win in 1988. In 2010, a general election was held in accordance with the military-drafted 2008 Constitution and power was transferred to their hand-picked president, ex-general U Thein Sein.