Myanmar's military removes 24 ministers and deputies, names 11 replacements in new administration

Myanmar's military removes 24 ministers and deputies, names 11 replacements in new administration

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing says the UN has no right to interfere in Myanmar's sovereignty
Myanmar's military chief General Min Aung Hlaing. (File photo: AFP/YE AUNG THU)

YANGON: Myanmar's military on Monday (Feb 1) announced a purge of Aung San Suu Kyi's democratically elected government, removing 24 ministers and deputies while naming 11 replacements in its new administration after seizing power in a coup.

The announcement was made on the military-run Myawadday TV and included new appointments in the portfolios for finance, health, information, foreign affairs, defence, borders and interior.

Live updates: Aung San Suu Kyi, other Myanmar leaders detained

Explainer: Crisis in Myanmar after army alleges election fraud

The military seized power on Monday in a coup, detaining Aung San Suu Kyi along with other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in early morning raids.

The army said it had carried out the detentions in response to "election fraud", handing power to military chief General Min Aung Hlaing and imposing a state of emergency for one year, according to a statement on the military-owned TV station.

General Min Aung Hlaing Myanmar
Myanmar Acting President Myint Swe (center), military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (third left) and other military members of National Defence and Security Council attend a meeting at Presidential Palace in Naypyidaw, Feb 1, 2021. (Photo: AP/The Military True News Information Team)

Summarising a meeting of the new administration, the military said Min Aung Hlaing has pledged to practise a "genuine discipline-flourishing multi-party democratic system".

He promised a free and fair election and a handover of power to the winning party, it said, without giving a timeframe.

NLD CALLS FOR PROTESTS

Aung San Suu Kyi's party said she has called on people to protest against the military takeover, quoting comments it said had been written in anticipation of a coup.

Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other NLD leaders were "taken" in the early hours of the morning, NLD spokesman Myo Nyunt told Reuters by phone. Reuters was subsequently unable to contact him.

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A video posted to Facebook by one MP appeared to show the arrest of regional lawmaker Pa Pa Han. In the video, her husband pleads with men in military garb standing outside the gate. A young child can be seen clinging to his chest and wailing.

The generals made their move hours before parliament had been due to sit for the first time since the NLD's landslide win in a Nov 8 election viewed as a referendum on Aung Suu Kyi's fledgling democratic rule.

COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN

Phone and Internet connections in the capital Naypyidaw and the main commercial centre Yangon were disrupted and state television went off air after the NLD leaders were detained.

Troops and riot police stood by in Yangon where residents rushed to markets to stock up on supplies and others lined up at ATMs to withdraw cash. Banks then suspended services due to poor Internet connections but said they would reopen from Tuesday.

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Foreign companies, from Japanese retail giant Aeon to South Korean trading firm POSCO International and Norway's Telenor, scrambled to reach staff members in Myanmar and assess the turmoil.

Multinationals moved into the country after Aung San Suu Kyi's party established in 2015 the first civilian government in half a century, although the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority, which tarnished Aung San Suu Kyi's reputation, made some investors wary.

Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, came to power after an election win that followed decades of house arrest and struggle against the military, which had seized power in a 1962 coup and stamped out all dissent for decades.

Source: Reuters/jt

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