On February 1, Myanmar’s military detained senior minister Aung San Suu Kyi, President Wen Min and other political figures. Subsequently, the Burmese military announced a one-year state of emergency for the country in accordance with Article 417 of the Burmese constitution, and appointed Wu Minrui as the interim president.
As soon as the news came out, it aroused the attention of public opinion.
On the afternoon of January 1, Myanmar’s military issued a television statement saying that after the end of the state of emergency, Myanmar will hold a general election again and the state power will be transferred to the newly elected political parties.
Myanmar’s military statement also said that during the implementation of the state of emergency, the Federal Election Commission will be reformed to re verify the election process last November.
In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said: “we have noticed what happened in Myanmar and are learning more about the situation. China is Myanmar’s friendly neighbor. We hope all parties in Myanmar can properly handle their differences and maintain political and social stability within the constitutional and legal framework. ”
Many people are very concerned about: what will the political situation in Myanmar change next?
The election dispute is the fuse
It goes back to Myanmar’s election on November 8, 2020, when the NLD won a landslide victory.
Among the 476 federal seats, the NLD won 258 seats in the house of people (lower house) and 138 seats in the house of Nationalities (upper house), with a total of 396 seats, while the former ruling Pro military party, the Federal Consolidation and Development Party (Gongfa party), won only 33 seats in the Federal Parliament. The ethnic minority parties, the Shan Democratic Alliance and the Rakhine National Party, won 15 and 8 seats respectively, becoming the third and fourth largest parties in the Federal Parliament.
Before and after the election results were released, the Myanmar military and the Gongfa party have been accusing the election of unfairness and large-scale election fraud. Myanmar’s military and the Communist Party of China accused the election of being neither free nor fair. There were problems in the process of identity verification, repeated voting and voting for others.
The Election Commission denied all the accusations made by the Burmese military and the Gongfa party. Subsequently, the Myanmar military and the NLD held consultations on the issue of election fraud, but in the end, the differences between the two sides were too big. On the eve of the new parliament, the military began to take over power.
&The complexity of “dual government system”
According to the constitution of the union of Myanmar in 2008, Myanmar implements the presidential system and adopts the political organization form of separation of executive, judicial and legislative powers to improve national autonomy.
At the same time, the 2008 constitution guarantees the power and status of the military, stipulating that the military occupies a quarter of the seats in all levels of Parliament, and the election of the leaders of the internal affairs, national defense, public security and border affairs departments in the cabinet will be nominated by the commander in chief of the military, which guarantees the core political influence of the military in Myanmar.
From the perspective of government composition, Myanmar is actually a “dual government system”, that is, the system in which the elected government and the military share power. In terms of foreign affairs and economy, the current government has the right to speak, but in terms of national defense, security and internal affairs, the military has the right to speak.
To a large extent, the stability of the & quot; dual government system & quot; depends on the power coordination between the Myanmar government and the military. Once the coordination between the two sides is insufficient or fails, the political situation may change.
What is the future political situation
Now, Myanmar’s military has announced that it will re elect after the state of emergency, and the pressure of domestic NLD supporters and international public opinion will also be an important factor in Myanmar’s political situation.
On the one hand, the NLD is calling on the people to protest and demonstrate, and it is difficult for the Myanmar military to ignore the support rate of the NLD in Myanmar. On the other hand, the Myanmar military has to solve the “aftermath” problem.
There are still two possibilities for the future political situation in Myanmar: one is that under the strong pressure at home and abroad, the military will end the state of emergency ahead of schedule, compromise with the NLD and form a coalition government; the other is that the general election will be held again according to the announcement of the military.
In the short term, the military will play a vital role in Myanmar’s politics. In the medium term, it remains to be seen whether Myanmar’s political situation will move towards the Thai model or the Indonesian model.
In addition, as a member of ASEAN, Myanmar’s political changes may cause ASEAN countries’ concern. Although ASEAN pursues the principle of non-interference in its internal affairs, changes in Myanmar’s political situation are likely to bring new variables to the process of ASEAN integration.
It is hoped that all parties in Myanmar will properly handle their differences within the legal framework and return to a stable state as soon as possible.
Xu Liping (researcher, Institute of Asia Pacific and global strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, director of Southeast Asia Research Center)