On 1 February, Myanmar’s military seized power after detaining the country's civilian leadership, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint. The coup was staged on the day Parliament was scheduled to hold its first session since the November elections, in which the National League for Democracy (NLD) won a large majority of the body’s available seats. The military and its political allies have since the election raised allegations of fraud, but have not been backed by the electoral commission. Citing the 2008 constitution the military has declared a year-long state of emergency, and says it will hold a "free and fair" election once the state of emergency is over. The coup has reversed the limited political reforms that the military itself installed in 2011 to create a “disciplined democracy”. However, the military seems unable to control or hold back the democratic revolution of Myanmar society that has taken place in the same period. Civil resistance against the coup has been extensive, and the past weeks have seen tens of thousands of people taking to the streets daily to protest the coup, in demonstrations not seen since the “Saffron revolution” of 2007.
In this ASIANET seminar we discuss the events leading to the coup in Myanmar, and explore possible future scenarios. What does the military intend to achieve during the state of emergency? And what will the coup and the widespread civil resistance mean for Myanmar’s democratic future?
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About the panel
Susanne Kempel is an independent researcher.
Marte Nilsen is a senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).
Kristian Stokke is a professor at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography (UiO).