Myanmar’s army launched a coup early on Monday morning against the elected government of Nobel peace prizewinner Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained after early morning raids, along with other officials of her National League for Democracy.
- According to a statement on a military-owned television station, the army seized power in response to alleged “fraud” in the November general elections that credited the NLD with 83% of the vote.
- Power was transferred to army chief Min Aung Hlaing and a state of emergency has been proclaimed for one year.
- After years of military dictatorship, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, slowly embarked on a transition to democracy a decade ago. The military still exercised a major influence: It notably appoints a fourth of Parliamentary seats.
- Aung San Suu Kyi, long an opponent to the junta, was freed in 2010 from years of house arrest to help lead the transition.
- She lost part of her international aura when she defended the Myanmar government against accusations of ethnic cleansing and genocide after the expulsion of 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from the country.
The outlook: The U.S. and the European Union have led the international condemnation of the coup and asked the military to stand down. Myanmar had benefited from the gradual lifting of economic sanctions in the last decade. It is safe to expect calls to reinstate them in the wake of the coup.
The Myanmar coup is also the first international challenge for the administration of U.S. President Joseph Biden and his national security team, and an early test of how he will go about working with his allies to come up with an international response.