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CrisisWatch Myanmar

Deteriorated Situation

Conflict Risk Alert

Military staged coup d’état following escalating tensions with civilian govt over Nov election. Following Nov polls which saw landslide election victory for ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), military late month demanded postponement of new parliament due to convene in capital Naypyitaw on 1 Feb; asked for delay while allegations of electoral malpractice investigated; govt refused after Union Election Commission rejected fraud allegations and international observers called poll a success. Military 31 Jan said “Tatmadaw categorically denies it is impeding Myanmar’s democratic transition”; early morning 1 Feb seized power as it declared one-year state of emergency, imposed communications blackout and detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and other senior NLD figures, as well as cabinet ministers and civil society representatives; office of Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlain same day announced that military would name new election commission and hold fresh elections. Previously, tensions mounted as Tatmadaw and military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) throughout month made unsubstantiated claims that there were over ten million errors in electoral lists and equating them with fraud. Group of 203 opposition and military MPs 11 Jan signed request for Speaker of Union parliament to convene special session to discuss electoral disputes; speaker next day refused request, said parliament had no authority over elections; military statement 14 Jan suggested that speaker’s decision was unconstitutional. USDP 14 Jan convened more than 1,000 demonstrators against election commission’s conduct of polls in Mandalay Region’s Pyawbwe township. Meanwhile, Commander-in-Chief’s office 7 Jan called for elections to be held in remaining townships of Rakhine and Shan State where Nov poll was cancelled on security grounds; Zaw Htay next day stated delayed vote could not be held since military had not provided security guarantees. Informal ceasefire in Rakhine State continued to hold. Following meetings between Arakan Army (AA) and military, AA 1 Jan released three NLD election candidates previously held hostage since Oct. Speaking as chairperson of National Reconciliation and Peace Centre, Aung San Suu Kyi 1 Jan said constitutional amendment to establish democratic federal union was “absolutely necessary”.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

13 Aug 2020
As Myanmar starts to consolidate a system of electoral democracy after so many decades of authoritarianism, observers play a key role in giving the elections credibility. The New York Times

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
20 Mar 2020
[The drug trade] is a problem of the armed conflict in Myanmar [and] it is also a problem of corruption. ASEAN Today

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
18 Jan 2020
The overall impression is that Myanmar is being cautious about Chinese investment, especially ahead of elections planned later in the year. ABC

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
5 Dec 2019
[Aung San Suu Kyi] likely feels that she must do all she can to defend the national interest against what most people in Myanmar see as biased and politically-motivated charges. Reuters

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
29 Nov 2017
The Pope was aware that inserting himself too strongly into a situation with a lot of religious undertones could inflame tensions further in Myanmar. ABC

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
26 Nov 2017
[Buddhist] monks feel the [Myanmar] government is weak on the protection of Buddhism and keeping the morals of the country intact. CNN

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar

Latest Updates

Statement / Asia

Myanmar’s Military Should Reverse Its Coup

On 1 February, Myanmar’s armed forces overthrew the country’s civilian leaders. International actors should make clear in word and deed that there will be no business as usual until the elected government is restored. If protests break out, the military should act with maximum restraint.

Podcast / Asia

Ethnicity and Conflict in Myanmar

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Rob Malley and guest host Richard Atwood talk about the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh with Crisis Group’s Europe Program Director Olga Oliker and examine Myanmar’s identity crisis with Crisis Group expert Richard Horsey. 

Q&A / Asia

Another Landslide Victory for Aung San Suu Kyi’s Party in Myanmar – But at What Cost?

The National League for Democracy is set to win a second term following Myanmar’s 8 November elections – its second competitive polls since absolute military rule ended in 2011. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Richard Horsey reflects on the implications for the country’s conflicts.

Event Recording / Asia

Myanmar's 2020 elections: Path to stability or flashpoint for conflict?

Online Event to discuss International Crisis Group's briefing on Myanmar's 2020 elections

Briefing / Asia

Majority Rules in Myanmar’s Second Democratic Election

De facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is likely to win Myanmar’s 8 November elections. The next test will be whether the result entrenches minority grievances that fuel armed conflict or revives reform efforts to give minorities a fairer deal alongside the Burman Buddhist majority.

Also available in Burmese

Our People

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar

Thomas Kean

Consultant, Myanmar & Bangladesh