The ITUC has condemned the military coup in Myanmar, described by the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, as a “serious blow to democratic reforms”. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint have been detained by the military and communications in much of the country have been cut off.
The military seized power on the eve of the first sitting of the new Parliament, in which the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, secured a large majority of available seats in the November 2020 elections.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “The will of the people must prevail, and the international community must exercise maximum pressure to ensure that the military does not succeed in suppressing democracy yet again. We stand in solidarity with the people of Burma, their trade union movement and the other institutions that are defending democracy in the country. Claims by the military of electoral fraud have been rejected by the Myanmar Electoral Commission and are simply a fig leaf for the generals who want to retain power, regardless of the cost to the people and the national economy.”
Under Myanmar’s Constitution, 25% of seats in Parliament are reserved for the military, and the NLD won a landslide in the seats that it could contest. The military’s proxy party, the USDP, attracted little support. No evidence has been produced that would support the claim of electoral fraud.
The coup leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, has, along with others in the military, extensive business interests including lucrative deals with companies outside Myanmar, and has been accused by the UN of war crimes in connection with the murderous persecution of the Rohingya people and other ethnic minorities.