Anti-coup protesters hold branches and welcome signs for the National United Government (NUG) as they march on Saturday, April 17, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar.
Credit: Photo AP
On Friday, opponents of Myanmar’s government formally announced the creation of a National Unified Government (NUG) to gather opponents of the military regime, while at the same time garnering local support. and internationally towards the restoration of democracy.
Focusing on Aung San Suu Kyi and her ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) government, the creation of NUG marked the culmination of 11 weeks of opposition after the military took power on February 1. .
“Everyone should wholeheartedly welcome the new government to launch. We will connect with the world to work together, ”veteran democracy activist Min Ko Naing said in a 10-minute video address. notice the formation by NUG.
“We are going through a very difficult time because we are trying to abolish the military regime this time,” he added. “This is very tiring and takes a lot of sacrifice.”
NUG includes Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained since the coup, and centers under the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Representation Committee (CRPH), a group comprising most of the NLD MPs elected at the election. national elections in November. But the unity government also includes anti-coup protest leaders and representatives of ethnic minority organizations.
NUG’s goal is to create an alternative government – a type of government in internal exile – that can compete with the government for international recognition, and lead what is likely to be a long-term campaign. to beat it.
The military’s takeover has led to a wave of backlash that has undermined the army’s plan to quickly return to normal, prompting the armed forces to take revenge with blood. At least 737 protesters and bystanders have been killed since the coup, according to the Association for Supporting Political Prisoners, while several thousand have been jailed.
The NUG establishment after CRPH released early May of a new interim constitution and a set of principles to replace the military dictatorship with a comprehensive form of federal democracy. It thus marked the reinforcement of the boundaries of the conflict in Myanmar, and the beginning of a lasting and possibly violent struggle for the nation’s future.
Its immediate impact on Myanmar is still difficult to assess. It remains to be seen how much repurchase money NUG will have from the ethnic armed groups spent over the decades fighting for increased autonomy and remains critical to its chances of success. As Carlos Sardiña Galache wrote in one recent essay, creating a new federal army from the CRPH and Myanmar’s ethnic groups (another desirable target of the anti-coup movement) “will require much deeper historical distrust than division created by the coup. ”
On the international level, establishing NUG will leave foreign governments with the difficult choice of whether to recognize and devote their support to the replacement government with all its strength. On Friday, Lwin Ko Latt, who was appointed NUG’s minister for family and immigration affairs, told reporters that some countries have the intention of officially recognizing NUG as the legitimate government of the country.
“They include several Western countries as well as a member state of the Arab World that has experienced the Arab Spring, which we respect and envy,” said Lwin Ko Latt, adding that countries will confirm “in the coming days. “
For many countries, this will be a difficult decision to make. There is no doubt about the legitimacy of the government the NLD was elected in a landslide war last November, and NUG represents the will of the majority of the population. However, officially recognizing NUG as the Myanmar government could complicate their ability to keep channels of communication open with the government.
Such challenges are particularly thorny in the case of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which will convene a special summit in Jakarta on April 24 to address the Myanmar crisis. . For many anti-coup protesters, Myanmar will be represented at the meeting by Lieutenant General Min Aung Hlaing, who will make the first known overseas trip since the coup.
On Sunday, NUG told its neighbors does not recognize the government and that it should be part of any negotiations aimed at ending the crisis. “If ASEAN is looking into action in relation to Myanmar’s affairs, I would say it will not be successful unless it negotiates with NUG, which is well-supported and completely legal,” said Moe Zaw. Oo, NUG’s deputy foreign minister, said in an interview with Voice of America.