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Article

1 Feb 2021

Author:
Russell Goldman, The New York Times

Myanmar’s Coup, Explained

1 February 2021

The military of Myanmar overthrew the country’s fragile democratic government in a coup d’état on Monday, arresting civilian leaders, shutting off the internet and cutting off flights.

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Parliament was scheduled this week to hold its first session since the country’s Nov. 8 elections, in which the National League for Democracy, the country’s leading civilian party, won 83 percent of the body’s available seats.

The military refused to accept the results of the vote....

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The military on Monday detained the leaders of the governing N.L.D. party and Myanmar’s civilian leadership, including Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, along with cabinet ministers, the chief ministers of several regions, opposition politicians, writers and activists.

The coup was effectively announced on the military-owned Myawaddy TV station when a news presenter cited the 2008 constitution, which allows the military to declare a national emergency. The state of emergency, he said, would remain in place for one year.

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The military said it had handed power to the army chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.

The move prolongs the power of General Min Aung Hlaing, who is supposed to age out as army chief this summer. His patronage network, centered on lucrative family businesses, could well have been undermined by his retirement, especially had he not been able to secure a clean exit.

Under the former power-sharing agreement, General Min Aung Hlaing presided over two business conglomerates and was able to appoint three key cabinet members who oversee the police and border guards.

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