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Min Aung Hlaing: Myanmar’s powerful, ambitious army chief

Yangon, Myanmar

After taking credit for restoring Myanmar’s democracy but then watching the military get smashed in elections, the country’s top general has seized power just months away from official retirement.

General Min Aung Hlaing is an international pariah who has been condemned for presiding over a brutal crackdown on the country’s stateless Rohingya population in 2017.

He has been banned from Facebook for stoking hate speech against the persecuted minority, and UN investigators have called on him and other top army leaders to be prosecuted for genocide.

After taking credit for restoring Myanmar’s democracy but then watching the military get smashed in elections, the country’s top general has seized power just months away from official retirement.

General Min Aung Hlaing is an international pariah who has been condemned for presiding over a brutal crackdown on the country’s stateless Rohingya population in 2017.

He has been banned from Facebook for stoking hate speech against the persecuted minority, and UN investigators have called on him and other top army leaders to be prosecuted for genocide.

Before the vote, Min Aung Hlaing had pledged to honour the outcome of the election.

But he dramatically raised tensions last week when he suggested the country’s constitution could be “revoked” if the political impasse could not be solved.

Now that he has taken charge, the general is likely to move quickly and stage a new vote that will “stack the game in his favour”, Lemahieu said.

“I think he will try to put the country back on track towards some kind of on-paper election in which the major players including… Aung San Suu Kyi will be barred from running,” he added.

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