Who’s Who in Myanmar’s Coup — Radio Free Asia

Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, has been Myanmar’s civilian chief since March 2016 after her National League for Democracy (NLD) gained 2015 elections by a landslide. Prohibited by a military-drafted structure from turning into president as a result of her two sons are overseas nationals, she was put in in the custom-made place of state counselor.

Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of Burmese independence hero Aung San, and was two years previous when he was assassinated. After many years residing overseas, she was thrust into politics when her return residence coincided with a pro-democracy rebellion in 1988. She subsequently led the NLD to a landslide win in 1990 elections, solely to have the army nullify the outcomes and put her beneath home arrest for 15 years between 1989 and 2010.

After turning into state counselor in 2016, lawmakers from her celebration proposed democratic adjustments to the 2008 structure, written by a former army authorities, however have been met with resistance by army MPs who management 1 / 4 of the seat of parliament and might veto constitutional adjustments that threaten their political energy.

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi waits for the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier than a bilateral assembly on the Presidential Palace in Naypyidaw, Jan. 18, 2020. Credit: AFP

Once thought-about a “democracy icon” by the worldwide neighborhood, Aung San Suu Kyi earned scorn and condemnation for her refusal to denounce a violent military-led crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in 2017. Though the marketing campaign of terror left hundreds useless and compelled greater than 740,000 others to hunt refuge in neighboring Bangladesh, she defended the army’s actions as a crucial counterinsurgency in opposition to Muslim militants who carried out lethal assaults on police outposts.

The actions in opposition to the Rohingya introduced genocide-related costs in opposition to Myanmar on the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the U.N. court docket which settles disputes between nations, and an investigation into alleged crimes in opposition to humanity by the army on the International Criminal Court, a separate court docket that tries people.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who led Myanmar’s protection at an ICJ listening to in December 2019, caught firmly to her protection of the army for the violence meted out in opposition to the Rohingya, which included killings, mass rape, torture, and village burnings. She requested the ICJ to drop the case and rejected U.N. and different worldwide proof out of hand.

European organizations revoked Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom awards, whereas the U.S. Holocaust Museum rescinded a prestigious human rights award. There have been even calls to cancel the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1991. But Aung San Suu Kyi stays massively in style inside Myanmar, and was key to her celebration securing one other landslide victory in November 2020 elections.

On Feb. 1, she and others in her political circle, together with President Win Myint, arrested by the army because it launched a coup.

Win Myint, speaker of the decrease home of Myanmar’s parliament, leaves after the brand new decrease home parliamentary session in Naypyidaw on Feb. 1, 2016. Credit: AFP

Win Myint, 69, turned president in March 2018, per week after the resignation of his predecessor Htin Kyaw over well being considerations, and he held the place till his pressured removing from workplace in the Feb. 1 army coup.

Before parliament elected him as president, Win Myint has served as speaker in the decrease home since 2012. He was appointed a vice chairman previous to his elevation in an indication that he had been tipped for the presidency.

The shut aide and loyalist of Aung San Suu Kyi studied geology in Yangon and later turned a High Court senior legal professional in 1981 and a lawyer of Myanmar’s Supreme Court. Four years later he turned a High Court advocate.

He was a part of a democracy rebellion in 1988 and was briefly jailed by the army junta. After he was free of jail, Win Myint gained a parliamentary seat in Ayeyarwady area’s Danubyu township in the 1990 elections — the primary multiparty elections since 1960. The elections have been swept by Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD, however the army junta refused to acknowledge the outcomes and successfully dominated till 2011.

As the nation started democratic reforms, Win Myint a decrease home seat representing Ayeyarwady area’s Pathein constituency in 2012 by-elections and later turned secretary of parliament’s rule of legislation committee. He was elected as a decrease home lawmaker representing Yangon’s Tamwe township in normal elections in 2015. A 12 months later, he turned speaker of the decrease home, a place he held till 2018.

Myanmar’s army chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing arrives for a ceremony marking the 71th anniversary of Martyrs’ Day in Yangon, July 19, 2018. Credit: AFP

Min Aung Hlaing, 64, rose steadily by way of the ranks of the nation’s highly effective armed forces to turn into the commander-in-chief in 2011, simply as Myanmar started its democratic transition after many years of harsh army rule and worldwide isolation.

He studied legislation at Yangon University in 1972-1974 earlier than getting into the Defense Services Academy, a coaching floor for future officers for all three branches of Myanmar army, and rose steadily by way of the ranks.

When Aung San Suu Kyi got here to energy in 2016, the reserved senior normal turned extra concerned in politics beneath the civilian-led authorities, posting photographs, statements, and his conferences with overseas dignitaries on Facebook. He gained a whole lot of hundreds of followers till his social media account was eliminated following the military’s brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state in 2017.

In 2019, the United States imposed sanctions on Min Aung Hlaing and three different army officers for the violence in opposition to the Rohingya, which left hundreds useless and drove 740,000 different throughout the border and into Bangladesh. U.N. investigators stated the crackdown was carried out with “genocidal intent.”

Under Min Aung Hlaing’s command, the army has additionally clung firmly to its political affect. During Aung San Suu Kyi’s first five-year time period, the army rejected strikes by the ruling National League for Democracy to amend the military-drafted 2008 structure, which grants army lawmakers 1 / 4 of parliamentary in order that they have veto energy over adjustments to the constitution. The structure additionally bars Aung San Suu Kyi from turning into president.

Despite the state counselor’s protection of the army over the genocide allegations, tensions between Aung San Suu Kyi and Min Aung Hlaing have solely intensified in the previous two years and got here to a head after the government-appointed election fee rejected army claims of huge vote fraud in November 2020 elections that noticed the army’s proxy celebration droop to a humiliating defeat.

In the times earlier than the army’s power-grab, Min Aung Hlaing had issued veiled threats of a coup, however he nonetheless caught the nation and the worldwide neighborhood unexpectedly on Feb. 1 when a brand new parliament was as a result of convene. With his coup, he upended a decade of democratic reform and deepened the pariah standing of the armed forces he instructions.

Myanmar Vice President Myint Swe attends a ceremony on the Presidential Palace in Naypyidaw, March 30, 2016. Credit: AFP

Myint Swe, 69, is a former normal who served for the previous 5 years as first vice chairman after his nomination by army bloc in parliament. He was put in Feb. 1 as appearing president after prime figures in the NLD-led authorities – together with President Win Myint — have been arrested and army seized energy in the coup.

Giving a semblance of constitutionality to the army takeover, Myint Swe then formally transferred energy to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, so the military chief has management over all branches of presidency for one 12 months.

Myint Swe is an ethnic Mon ex-army lieutenant normal who additionally served as appearing president after the resignation of former president Htin Kyaw in March 2018. Before that, he served as chief minister of Yangon area from March 2011 to March 2016.

Like Min Aung Hlaing, Myint Swe is a graduate of the Defense Services Academy and rose by way of the ranks of the military. As a brigadier normal, he commanded a light-weight infantry division in 1997. He served as commander of Myanmar’s Southeastern Command and likewise as a member of the of Myanmar’s former army junta.

He subsequently turned commander of the Yangon Command and was promoted to main normal. In that place, he had members of the family of former dictator Ne Win arrested in 2002 after an alleged coup conspiracy was uncovered, then oversaw a 2004 purge of the army intelligence faction of former prime minister Gen. Khin Nyunt, and put down the pro-democracy Saffron Revolution in 2007.

Myint Swe went on to function chief of army safety affairs in 2004 and have become chief of the Bureau of Special Operations–5 in 2006. He was criticized for his actions after Cyclone Nargis, a lethal tropical cyclone that hit Myanmar in May 2008 and was the worst pure catastrophe in the nation on document. Myanmar’s army leaders got here beneath heavy fireplace for initially resisting large-scale worldwide support to cope with the disaster.

Myint Swe can also be recognized for his harsh dealing with of activists in the run-up to the flawed 2010 normal elections, in which an NLD boycott resulted in a sweeping victory for the pro-military USDP celebration.

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