Political crisis looms in Myanmar over military coup threat

Yangon Myanmar, Jan 29 (efe-epa).- Myanmar is mired in a political crisis amid the threat of the country’s army carrying out a coup before the new parliament takes office Monday.

Members of the National League for Democracy, the ruling party, met Thursday night with representatives of the army, but could not reach any agreement to overcome the crisis, sources close to the Government told EFE, while the embassies of the European Union and several Western countries called Friday for democracy to be respected.

Rumors of a coup have intensified since Tuesday when military spokesman Zaw Min Tun refused to rule out the army’s seizure of power after denouncing alleged irregularities in the Nov. 8 elections.

The following day, Army Chief Min Aung Hlaing, said in a speech to military personnel that the constitution should be abolished if it is not complied with, interpreted as a veiled threat in a country ruled by a military dictatorship between 1962 and 2011.

The Electoral Commission has denied electoral fraud in the November elections, won with an overwhelming majority by the National League for Democracy (NLD) – led by Aung Sang Suu Kyi – with 83 percent of the legislature’s 476 seats.

The European Union’s Delegation and several embassies, including the British, American, Australian, rejected “any attempt” to alter the electoral results or “prevent” the democratic transition.

“We urge the military, and all actors in the country, to adhere to democratic norms,” ??they said in a joint statement.

Alleged irregularities were first denounced by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the former government formation created by the previous military junta before it’s dissolution.

The USDP was the big loser in the elections, winning only 33 seats, and refused to accept the results, even calling for new elections organized by the army to be held.

The military, who drafted the current constitution in a roadmap to achieve a “disciplined democracy,” have great powers in the country, since they hold 25 percent of the seats in parliament and the influential Ministries of the Interior, Borders and Defense .

Despite the setback from the USDP, the army chief affirmed a few days after the vote that the results should be accepted, when the NLD’s victory was already known.

The Carter Center – an organization created by former US President Jimmy Carter that sent observers on election day – issued a statement in November saying “voters were able to freely express their will at the polls and elect their representatives.” He criticized the constitutional system and denial of the vote to some ethnic minorities.

Suu Kyi’s electoral victory demonstrated her great popularity in Myanmar, despite her bad international reputation for policies against the Rohingya minority, many of whom are denied citizenship and vote, among other rights. EFE-EPA


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