Myanmar: dictatorship out, Aung San Suu Kyi in
Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy is well positioned to win the election. However, the power transfer will not happen before March 2016 when newly-elected MPs would get a chance to vote for a new president. That president will not be Aung San Suu Kyi though. It will be someone else from the party. That is because Myanmar’s constitution bars individuals with foreign connections to take the state head position. Aung San Suu Kyi’s two sons’ have British passports. But this will not restrict her to be in a position to control the fate of Myanmar in the coming years. She will possibly take a position above president. That is of course if the military does not step in as they did before. In 1990, the National League for Democracy won the elections, but the military rulers ignored the result and forced Suu Kyi to spent two decades under house arrest.
The change has come!
Myanmar is heading towards democracy. The National League for Democracy, after forming the government, will have to work with the military rather than against it. The military nevertheless will continue to hold 25% of parliamentary seats as per the constitution. The new administration would therefore be a government of national unity and reconciliation. About one-third of people in Myanmar are ethnic minorities, some of whom spent several decades battling a regime dominated by the majority. Still representatives from ethnic political parties contesting the general election feel that only Aung San Suu Kyi has the ability to oppose the military and rule the country towards an economic progression.
How was Aung San Suu Kyi's past?
Aung San Suu Kyi's father, Aung San, founded the modern Myanmar army and negotiated the country’s independence from the British Empire in 1947. She spent much of her adult life in Oxford where she studied and later married a British academic. In 1969 Suu Kyi obtained a M.A. degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. In 1988, she left her husband and two sons behind and came to Rangoon to care for her ill mother. She thought she would go back but fate guided her to lead a student uprising against the military dictatorship. The military crushed the nationwide protests but in the meantime she became the figurehead of the anti-military protest movements. The military denied election results in 1990 and kept her house arrest. After her release in late 2010, she was elected as parliament member for a rural constituency in a 2012 by-election.
Tough job ahead
National League for Democracy's main focus will be economic development backed by foreign investment. But it will also have to focus much on the ethnic and religious splitting. The party's previous gestures indicate otherwise. For instance, not a single one of the NLD’s parliamentary candidates was Muslim though Muslims officially make up around 5% of the country's population. The influential Buddhist monks of the country on the other hand accused Aung San Suu Kyi of being overly sympathetic to the Muslims.
-The income gap in Myanmar is among the widest in the world.
-The country is rich in oil, gas and other mineral resources.
-Land grabbing by influential people is common.
-The military led government changed the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989.
-National League for Democracy boycotted the 2010’s general election in which a party -formed by ex-military generals came into power.
Myanmar, previously known as Burma, had a turbulent journey since 1960. It is expected the county will have a remarkable journey in the next 30 years. Fingers crossed!