17 December 2015
The National League for Democracy (NLD)’s landslide victory in historic elections on November 8 ended half a century of military rule and signalled another step in Myanmar’s arduous transition to democracy.
Though viewed as the main obstacle to that transition, the military leadership , and particularly former dictator Senior General Than Shwe , has lent tacit support to democratic reform.
Than Shwe precipitated the country’s transition to “disciplined democracy” under the stewardship of his successor, PresidentThein Sein. The transition has proceeded according to a rough plan backed by the senior military leadership and driven by two factors: genuine realisation among the ruling elite that Myanmar needs to catch up with its neighbours, and the need to secure an “exit strategy” for Than Shwe and his family.
Last month’s election conferred more trust and legitimacy on the reform process, both in Myanmar and abroad.
… Naoko Kumada is a research fellow and Kyaw San Wai is a senior analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 17/12/2015