News articles reporting on volatile regions often discuss the risk of a military junta. It is a common enough term, but not everyone is familiar with the meaning of a military junta. So, what is a military junta, and how does it work?
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A military junta is a committee of military leaders. Military juntas are typically formed after a military coup, when officers seize power from the existing government. The junta acts as the new government and rules the region, which is different from an autocratic military dictatorship where a single officer retains control.
How Does a Military Junta Work?
A military junta is typically established after a coup d’état, which is the removal of a government by military powers. Junta is a Spanish term for a committee or administrative council. Military juntas include a committee comprised of high-ranking military officers.
After coming to power, a military junta may govern the region or exert control over a civilian government. When the military junta acts as the nation’s governing body, they are engaged in an open rule. When the junta oversees a civilian government, they are engaged in a disguised rule.
What’s the Difference Between a Dictatorship and a Junta?
A military junta is a type of military dictatorship. A military dictatorship is a form of government where the military holds power. Power may reside in a single high-ranking officer or a group of officers.
At least 29 military juntas have existed throughout modern history. However, a military junta is just one form of military government. Examples of military governments include:
- Military juntas
- Autocratic military dictatorships
- Foreign military occupation
- Domestic military rule (martial law)
A group of officers is often called a junta. When a single officer rules, the dictatorship may be called an autocratic dictatorship. In an autocracy, a single person holds power.
Foreign military occupation occurs when military forces take control of foreign territory. Military occupation is often followed by the military’s home nation annexing the occupied territory or establishing a new government.
Domestic military rule occurs when the military or government declares martial law. Under martial law, the military assumed direct control of civil functions.
A stratocracy is closely related to a military junta. In a stratocracy, the government is ruled by a group of military chiefs. Unlike a military junta, the government’s laws support the military holding power.
For example, the State Peace and Development Council of Myanmar ruled the nation of Myanmar from 1997 to 2011. After assuming power, the military abolished the civilian constitution. The new constitution gave the military power.
What Countries Have a Military Junta?
Five nations are currently ruled by military juntas:
All five of these juntas were established within the last few years. The Transitional Military Council took control of the nation of Chad in April of 2021 after the death of the former president. The president’s son established a council of 15 military leaders. The current military junta is intended as a transitional government.
The Transitional Military Council was also the name of a military junta in Sudan. The group took control after a successful coup in 2019.The leaders of the coup and an alliance of civilians agreed to a transition to democracy. Under the agreement, a military leader would rule the council for 21 months before fully transitioning to a civilian government.
The National Committee of Reconciliation and Development (CNRD) took control of Guinea in September of 2021. The group took power following a coup d’etat. The leader of the coup announced that the junta is planning an 18-month transition period to form a new civilian government.
Remnants of the Malian Armed Forces established a military junta after a coup in August of 2020. The junta announced plans for a transitional government the following month. However, the leaders of the coup disbanded the transitional government in January.
The State Administration Council (SAC) is currently governing the nation of Myanmar following a coup in February of 2021. In August, the SAC was restructured as a caretaker government. Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of the Defense Services, was appointed the prime minister. The SAC announced that the country’s current state of emergency would be extended an additional two years. The group claims that elections will be held when the state of emergency expires.