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Military Coup in Myanmar

After the result of the elections in Myanmar, parliament session was about to get started on 1st of February. Commander-in-chief of the defense services Min Aung Hliang, proclaimed year-long emergency in the nation. The basis of which were improper conduct of elections in a large number of seats. The question which arises is that of constitutionality of emergency laid down under article 417 and 418 of the constitution. And, the reason due to which these circumstances came up.

To understand the constitutionality of the decisions, we need to have a quick recap of the political scenario of Myanmar. After independence from the British in 1948, democratic elections were held in the year of 2010. Constitution was framed in a manner which highly benefited the military backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), as it gave reserved 25% seats in the parliament to the military.

In the year of 2010, National League of Democracy (NLD), did not participated in the elections resulting in the victory of USDP. When democratic elections with multiple parties took place in 2015, NLD came out as the winner. USDP had a clear headstart in order to form government but were able to secure only 33 seats in 2020 elections. NLD on the other hand, had to win the election by securing at least 332 seats. In the 2020 elections, NLD won more than 50%(396) seats.

Emergency was then imposed on the basis of fraudulent elections. The basis of which were void. The same allegations had been checked and passed by the election commission. According to article 417 of the constitution of Myanmar:
If there arises or if there is sufficient reason for a state of emergency to arise that may disintegrate the Union or disintegrate national solidarity or that may cause the loss of sovereignty, due to acts or attempts to take over the sovereignty of the Union by insurgency, violence and wrongful forcible means, the President may, after coordinating with the National Defense and Security Council, promulgate an ordinance and declare a state of emergency. In the said ordinance, it shall be stated that the area where the state of emergency in operation is the entire Nation and the specified duration is one year from the day of promulgation.

In the above case, emergency can only be imposed by the president. However, commander-in-chief solely declared order for the same taking the unconstitutional way. Article 418 of the constitution of Myanmar gives the power of the president along with major offices to the army mainly the commander. In the above scenario, citizens of the nation suffered the most. They gave 80% of their votes to NLD, in hope of a democratic government which can make situations better from previous government in power.

Therefore, it can said that this a clear case of military coup. Military coup is nothing but the infringements of the rights which the individuals deserve just not in a democracy but any other sovereign nation in modern times.

Reason behind the emergence is clear, when any side in a democracy has a reservation of 25% seats, it is not unexpected from it to play by the rules in tough situations. In Myanmar, the side is military, which makes conditions more heinous for democracy to sustain. Democracy is not about reservation of seats, its about the independence available to the people to choose their leaders absolutely. Such a constitution could not have stated as one favoring democracy when it had a clause providing a humongous benefit to one side. This was not the democracy people came for.

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