Allies of Myanmar's Suu Kyi oppose junta with unity government

Published Fri, Apr 16, 2021 · 04:46 PM

[YANGON] Close allies of Myanmar's detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi who were ousted in a military coup announced on Friday they have joined with ethnic groups to form a new unity government, escalating the chances of a prolonged conflict with the junta.

Detained former President Win Myint and Suu Kyi will retain their positions in the parallel government, which will operate under the terms of a new charter after opponents of the military abolished the country's 2008 constitution.

The formal alliance comes at a time the military, known as Tatmadaw, has used deadly violence against anti-coup protesters, including regular abductions and extra-judicial killings.

As of Thursday, more than 700 people have been killed and over 3,000 either detained or sentenced to prison since February, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

The regime has also been engaged in renewed armed conflict with ethnic groups, exacerbating a decades-long civil war and further dampening any hope for national reconciliation once seen as a central pillar of the country's ill-fated democratic transition more than a decade ago.

With no end to the violence in sight, the US and its western allies have continued with sanctions against military officials and the companies linked to the regime.

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On Thursday, Reuters reported the European Union agreed to impose restrictions against two companies close to the military and another 10 individuals.

International conglomerates have steadily pulled out of partnerships the military with Posco Coated & Color Steel Co the latest to do so on Friday. The South Korean firm has a 70 per cent stake in a joint venture with Myanmar Economic Holdings, which is controlled by the junta.

Prioritising the end of dictatorship, the unity government will be composed of a president, state counselor - a post previously held by Suu Kyi - two vice-presidents, a premier, ministers and deputies. Additionally, it will cede greater power to state leaders, placing them above union ministers.

The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw - a coalition of pro-democracy lawmakers overthrown in the coup - had previously approved a 20-page Federal Democracy Charter, a blueprint for drafting a new constitution through a national referendum.

The military junta has declared the committee to be unlawful and threatened legal action against anyone interacting with it.

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