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Myanmar

Suu Kyi detained by military amid Myanmar coup fears

President and other leaders also detained in early-morning raids as NLD spokesman appeals for calm

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: February 01, 2021 12:37 AM GMT

Updated: February 01, 2021 01:00 AM GMT

Suu Kyi detained by military amid Myanmar coup fears

State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD won a landslide victory in November's election. (Photo: AFP)

Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar's governing National League for Democracy (NLD) party, has been detained by the military as fears grow of a coup in the conflict-torn country.

President Win Myint and other leaders were also "taken" in the early hours of Feb. 1, NLD spokesman Myo Nyunt told the Reuters news agency.

"I want to tell our people not to respond rashly and I want them to act according to the law," he said, adding that he also expected to be detained.

Telephone and internet lines in capital Naypyitaw have been cut, the BBC reported.

Soldiers also visited the homes of chief ministers in several regions and took them away, family members said.

In November’s general election, the NLD won enough seats to form a government, but the army says the vote was fraudulent.

Myanmar was ruled by the military until 2011. Suu Kyi spent many years under house arrest.

The newly elected lower house of parliament was due to convene for the first time on Feb. 1 but the military is expected to force a postponement.

Soldiers are on the streets of Naypyitaw and Yangon, the main city.

In a press conference on Jan. 26, Myanmar’s military spokesperson refused to rule out the possibility of a coup to deal with what he called “a political crisis.”

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The army alleges there were 8.6 million cases of voter fraud nationwide during the general election.

The army and its affiliated Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) have ramped up pressure on the election commission over alleged widespread voter fraud.

However, neither the military nor the USDP has presented any evidence of voter irregularities.

Military chief General Min Aung Hlaing said on Jan. 28 that the 2008 constitution is the mother of all laws and should be respected, according to the army-run Myawaddy newspaper. He warned that in certain circumstances it could be necessary to revoke the constitution.

The latest tension highlights the fragility of the power-sharing agreement among the Suu Kyi-led civilian government and the military, who have been at odds on numerous issues, including amending the 2008 constitution that was drafted by the military.

The 2008 charter mandates that a quarter of all parliamentary seats must be reserved for the military. It also gives them control of key portfolios like interior, defense and border security.

There is also a provision that grants military MPs the power to veto any proposed charter changes, especially any amendments that would curb their political power.

The constitution also bars Suu Kyi from becoming president because she married a foreigner. However, she has led the country via the specially created role of state counselor and is also foreign minister.

The NLD won a second landslide victory in the Nov. 8 election by securing more than 82 percent of all 1,117 contested seats.

The USDP, composed of several former military officials, won only 71 seats nationwide and has refused to accept the results of the vote.

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