mandag 1. februar 2021

Myanmar's coup: Why now - and what's next?

Myanmar's military has announced it has taken control of the country, a decade after agreeing to hand power to a civilian government. The coup has sent a shudder of fear through the country, which endured almost 50 years of rule under oppressive military regimes before the move towards democratic rule in 2011. The early morning arrests of Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians were all too reminiscent of days many hoped they had left behind.

For the past five years, Suu Kyi and her once-banned National League for Democracy (NLD) party led the country after being elected in 2015 in the freest and fairest vote seen in 25 years. On Monday morning, the party should have begun its second term in office. But behind the scenes, the military has kept a relatively tight grip on Myanmar (also known as Burma), thanks to a constitution which guarantees it a quarter of all seats in parliament and control of the country's most powerful ministries.

Which raises the question why did it seize power now - and more to the point, what happens next?