Democracy in Myanmar


  • Myanmar has sworn in Htin Kyaw as the country’s first civilian President in more than 50 years.
  • Mr. Htin Kyaw’s government would be its most democratic administration since 1962 when the military seized power.
  • Ms. Suu Kyi‘s National League for Democracy (NLD) won 77 per cent of the elected seats in Parliament. She cannot lead the government because of a constitutional provision that bars her since her sons are British and not Myanmar citizens.
  • The National League for Democracy( NLD) won Myanmar’s last free and fair election in 1990 in a landslide, but the result was ignored by the then ruling military. The NLD boycotted a 2010 poll held under military rule.
  • The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which is dominated by military and civil servants, will be the NLD’s biggest opponent.
  • Ms. Suu Kyi’s own presidential aspirations are curtailed by a clause in the constitution that bars individuals with children holding foreign citizenship from becoming head of state.
Political reforms in Myanmar
A process of reform has been under way in Myanmar since November 2010, when military rule was replaced by a new military-backed civilian government.
  • Release of Aung San Suu kyi from house arrest.
  • The release of political prisoners.
  • Free and fair by-poll elections in 2012 that saw Aung San Suu Kyi enter Parliament.
  • The lifting of censorship on media houses.
Military hold on Parliament
  • As per 2008 constitution, 25 per cent of the seats in the Upper and Lower houses of Hluttaw (House of Representatives) will be nominated by the military.
  • The all-important Defence and Home portfolios remain with the Tatmadaw (The Myanmar Armed Forces), regardless of who comes to power.
Challenges for new government
  • Economic development
      • Myanmar is one of the poorest nations in Asia. In the years of isolation under the junta, economic growth stagnated, trapping millions in acute poverty.
  • Military interference
      • One-quarter of seats in both Houses of Parliament are reserved for the military. This prevents any constitutional amendments without the military’s approval.
      • The military also has direct control of three key Ministries: defence, home affairs and border affairs.
  • Ethnic conflict and issue of sovereignty:
      • Myanmars biggest challenge in the coming years will be to control, consolidate and protect its borders and its sovereignty. Moving forward on a comprehensive peace agreement with the ethnic nations and containing insurgencies will be its primary goal.
      • Myanmar has been the site of serious conflicts between Buddhist and Muslim communities, particularly in Rakhine State.



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