Myanmar is heading towards a very serious Constitutional Crisis with the Army Chief openly declaring that the 2008 Constitution should be given up if it is “not abided by.”
This is perhaps the most explicit and serious threat of action by none other than the Army Chief Min Aung Hlaing himself and this has set alarm bells ringing. The missions of US, UK, EU and other countries have already jointly issued a statement urging the military to stick to democratic norms.
The following points indicate that the Army is up to something. It may be a coup or may be -will redo the counting or even go for fresh elections under Army’s supervision. At any rate all these can be done only by violating the Charter in the Constitution created by the Army for the Army!
The following points give the impression that the Army means business and one may recall the Army Chief’s remarks just prior to the elections- “nothing I won’t dare to do.”
- On 27th Jan, the Army Chief addressed over video links the National Defence University. He said explicitly that the 2008 Constitution could go by the way the previous Charters, if the “law is not abided by.” He then cited historical cases as how Gen Ne Win took over the Government after repealing the 1947 Constitution. He also pointed out that the SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) took over after repealing the 1974 Constitution. He made an ominous threat that he wanted answers from the President on the election fraud and if the Army does not receive them, the military has answers of its own. He described the situation as one of a national crisis.
- On 28th Jan. a meeting between senior Army officers and Representatives of the Government that included two Reps from the Counselor’s office, took place at Naypyitaw to discuss the alleged election fraud. The Military demanded that the Union Election Commission should be abolished and wanted a recount of the votes under the supervision of the Army. It also wanted to postpone the convening of the new Parliament on 1st Feb. These demands were rejected by Suu Kyi.
- On 29th the Military (Tatmadaw) temporarily suspended all military operations till Feb 28, nation wide except those dealing wit Defence and Administrative issues. Was this meant to free the forces to enforce the military coup?
- Armoured Cars of the Military were seen patrolling the streets of Yangon and major regions and the public is alarmed of the pictures appearing in the media.
Sensing a coup, many religious leaders as well as from other social entities have appealed to the Military to follow democratic norms.
The Archbishop of Yangon perhaps made the strongest plea. He said “There is never going to be a military solution for a political conflict. Pursuing military solution leads only to endless war and endless misery. Myanmar has had enough. When a political solution is absent any military solution is fragile.”
Diplomatic missions of US, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, EU and others have issued a joint statement urging the military and all other parties to follow the democratic norms. It said that it looked forward to a peaceful convening of the Parliament and the election of the President.
The UN Secretary General has also expressed his concerns.
The Army’s action could take any form- from a complete take over in the form of a military coup, to recounting of all the votes under its supervision after declaring the present results as null and void, to dismissal of the UEC or even conduct fresh elections.
Anything they may try to do will be outside the Constitution- a charter drafted by them and for them.
It will be a sad day for a country of gentle people with rich resources to be governed once again by ruthless and corrupt entities.