A NEW DAWN IN MYANMAR’S POLITICAL HISTORY

Myanmar’s political history is replete with examples of authoritarianism defeating democracy. However, the continuous struggle of Aung San Suu Kyi has finally resulted in her historical win in the November 2015 elections.Though the previous government led by President Thein Sein was successful in initiating certain political and economic reforms while also opening doors for conducive relations with neighbouring countries and the USA, a lot needs to be done with respect to law and order in the country.

Myanmar is divided into several ethnic communities residing in the country. The recent October nationwide ceasefire with eight armed ethnic groups stands as the perfect example.

Aung San Suu Kyi as the leader of the National League for Democracy, in future, can prove to be a real democrat through the introduction of Acts that would grant ethnic groups like Rohingyas their deserved rights. The Rohingyas, who were denied their citizenship in 1982 have been facing the wrath of the Rakhine Buddhists since a long time. In order to save themselves, these Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh but even there their persecution continued. If Aung San can ameliorate their troubles in a significant way, then Myanmar would prove to be a perfect democracy.

However, this transition is not easy considering the limitations of Suu Kyi’s real powers. Some of the obvious facts are that the military is unwilling to cede full control to the civilian government. Also, the key ministries like that of defence, border security, and external affairs rest with the military.  Another reason is that Suu Kyi, due to the clauses within the military’s constitution, cannot become the President. Thus, key decision-making powers of Suu Kyi will be curtailed to a certain extent.

For seventy-year-old Suu Kyi, who had been under house arrest for fifteen long years, the task of leading Myanmar through an inclusive development agenda becomes important. The people need to be united under a single blanket through broader political and economic reforms so that Myanmar shines on both domestic and international platforms.

The most crucial as well as the most difficult task for Aung San would be to bring an ideological revolution among the diverse communities of Myanmar if she has to turn the military dictatorship into a true democracy.  

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