Yangon (ElevenMedia/ANN/AFP) – Myanmar’s interim President Myint Swe has transferred full authority in the administration of the country to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing – hours after the military has seized powers.
The announcement was made by military-owned media Myawady, citing the Constitutional Section 417, declaring a state of emergency and transfering power of law making, governance and judicial rights to the military as per by-laws of Section 418.
The announcement said the move to declare an emergency was needed to preserve the “stability” of the state, accusing the country’s election commission of failing to address “huge irregularities” in the November election.
The military said it would hold a “free and fair general election” after the emergency is over.
The news that the military had seized power broke early morning of 1st February, followed by widespread cuts in telecommunication lines as well as internet services.
The communication upheaval led to Myanmar Banks Association announcing temporary closure of all banks which also saw a run in cash withdrawals from panic customers in the morning.
There were also massive queues of panic buyers outside of supermarkets and vendors that sell essential foodstuff such as rice, oil and more.
The military has detained former President Win Myint, former State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as well as several state ministers who are top level leaders of the ruling party National League for Democracy (NLD). Their whereabouts cannot be confirmed.
It also comes after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the powerful military that stirred fears of a coup in the aftermath of an election the army says was fraudulent.
The NLD said Ms Suu Kyi called on the public not to accept a coup by the military and urged them to protest.
“The actions of the military are actions to put the country back under a dictatorship,” the NLD said in a statement which carried Ms Suu Kyi’s name. “I urge people not to accept this, to respond and wholeheartedly to protest against the coup by the military.”
Phone lines to the capital Naypyitaw were not reachable and state TV went off air hours before Parliament had been due to sit for the first time since the NLD’s landslide election win in November, viewed as a referendum on Ms Suu Kyi’s fledgling democratic government.
Soldiers took up positions at the city hall in the main city of Yangon, and mobile Internet data and phone services in the NLD stronghold were disrupted, residents said.
Internet connectivity had also fallen dramatically, monitoring service NetBlocks said.