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Politics, Government and Governance - Burma/Myanmar - general studies

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: "BurmaNet News" Parliament archive (English)
Language: English
Source/publisher: Various sources via "BurmaNet News"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 08 March 2015


Title: *Youtube search for Burma OR Myanmar - politics OR government* (video)
Description/subject: About 355,000 results (August 2017)
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Various sources via Youtube
Format/size: Adobe Flash or html5
Date of entry/update: 22 August 2017


Title: CIA Factbook, Burma
Language: English
Source/publisher: CIA
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Individual Documents

Title: Local Parliaments in Myanmar: Key institutions, but too often overlooked
Date of publication: 17 May 2017
Description/subject: "... it seems to us that many observers, and indeed political players, underestimate how much ‘what happens in these parliaments’ today functions to define the future of Myanmar’s institutions and politics. If federalism is to be the end result of the current political and peace processes (two processes that it would be wrong to see as entirely separate), then such federalism will not appear overnight, out of thin air, On the contrary, it will be built on the foundations offered by the existing institutions logically relevant to federalism: the fourteen local parliaments and governments. Institutions have roots, they have a history, they have traditions, and these have already started being built. This is one message we would like to share with ethnic political organizations, and armed groups, in particular: one ignores the present political process at one’s own risk. Federalism is not a train that has yet to leave the station. It’s an already moving train that they’ll have to get on board with at some point. The opposite message could then be sent to those involved in Myanmar’s “mainstream” political process: the train of federalism is far from having reached full speed, and does not yet have all its passengers on board. In that sense, what happens in the local parliaments is shaping not only the present, but also the future of Myanmar, but it is happening in a context that is bound to evolve greatly if Myanmar is ever to be organized along the lines of a federal system..."
Author/creator: Tinzar Htun, Zaw Min Oo, Nyein Thiri Swe, Mael Raynaud
Language: English
Source/publisher: Enlightened Myanmar Research Foundation via teacircleoxford
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 04 September 2017


Title: Suu Kyi’s Myanmar, one year on
Date of publication: 27 April 2017
Description/subject: "Twelve months ago, Aung San Suu Kyi was appointed State Counsellor of Myanmar, becoming the de facto leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Government that swept to power in (relatively) free and fair elections in 2015. Over the past several weeks, both the government and Suu Kyi herself have been subject to searching reviews by Myanmar-watchers and other commentators. To varying degrees, most have expressed disappointment with the NLD's performance during its first year in office. Even allowing for the unrealistically high expectations held both within and outside the country, the new government has failed to deliver on its promises. Foreign observers have been particularly critical of Suu Kyi's repeated refusal to intervene on behalf of the mostly stateless Muslim Rohingyas..."
Author/creator: Andrew Selth
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Lowy Interpreter"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2017


Title: Discord, not devotion, will help Aung San Suu Kyi succeed - Myanmar's leader is burdened by deferential politics
Date of publication: 30 March 2017
Description/subject: "It is not surprising that at the end of the first year of the National League for Democracy government of Myanmar, led by State Counselor and party chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi, commentators have been quick to summarize the year negatively. After all, newspapers and blogs are more avidly read if they bring news of fresh disasters, not the mundane, nitty-gritty, of the hard slog of governing. However, in the case of Myanmar there are other causes for the several tales of woe that have emerged in recent days. The first is that the NLD had no experience of governing before taking power five months after the 2015 elections. Moreover, the NLD is not a political party of the kind we normally think of. It had no articulate and developed set of policy alternatives and no carefully conceived strategies of implementation, nor did it have an ideological drive to give it momentum to govern. Rather, after being suppressed for two decades, it emerged as a disjointed organization with only one goal -- replacing the military government. This it has only partially achieved, thanks to the artful way the army structured the constitution to ensure that it maintained the ability to control the pace of political change. Second is the lionized position of Suu Kyi..."
Author/creator: Robert H. Taylor
Language: English
Source/publisher: Nikkei Asian Review
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 April 2017


Title: Myanmar's emerging parliamentary conundrum
Date of publication: 18 August 2016
Description/subject: "Growing criticism within Myanmar's political circles about the erosion of parliamentary power is being directed at Aung San Suu Kyi's fledgling leadership of the country. Several lawmakers, particularly veterans of the earlier parliament which sat from 2011 to 2016, have publicly criticized the heavy hand of the ruling National League for Democracy, which dominates the executive branch. Despite earlier hopes that a revived parliament could play a transformative role in post-junta Myanmar, some critics are now asking whether the institution will become steadily marginalized in the NLD-led political system..."
Author/creator: Renaud Egreteau
Language: English
Source/publisher: Nikkei Asian Review
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 18 August 2016


Title: Strengthening Government Policymaking in Myanmar
Date of publication: 13 May 2016
Description/subject: "This note asks how Myanmar’s democratically elected government can improve policymaking processes. It summarizes internationally recognized properties of good policies before considering how policymaking happens in Myanmar and proposing measures to adopt in the future..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Foundation
Format/size: pdf (437K)
Alternate URLs: http://asiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Strengthening-Government-Policymaking-in-Myanm...
Date of entry/update: 04 June 2016


Title: Gender (in)Equality in the Governance of Myanmar: Past, Present, and Potential Strategies for Change (English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: 06 May 2016
Description/subject: "Given the enormous potential for real change in Myanmar and because women still face many challenges in their ability to participate in the decision making process, it is important that the inclusivity and equality of governance is not sidelined but remains central in the public discourse. In this context, The Asia Foundation (the Foundation) is pleased to present this research report which discusses the importance of gender equality of participation in governance, past and currents levels of participation in Myanmar, and current actions being taken by government and non-government actors to address the disparity. The report is authored by Paul Minoletti, an independent researcher whose research covers a wide range of governance and economic topics, and frequently focuses on how they relate to issues of gender equality"
Author/creator: Paul Minoletti
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Asia Foundation
Format/size: pdf (English: 695K-reduced version; 990K-original. Burmese: 1.7MB-reduced version; 3.4MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://asiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/MM-Gender-Paper_EN.pdf
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs22/AF-2016-05-06-Gender+Governance-bu-red.pdf
http://asiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/MM-Gender-Paper_MM.pdf'>http://asiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/MM-Gender-Paper_MM.pdf
http://asiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/MM-Gender-Paper_MM.pdf'>http://asiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/MM-Gender-Paper_MM.pdf
Date of entry/update: 04 June 2016


Title: Elections just the beginning
Date of publication: 11 November 2015
Description/subject: "The cold hard reality is that Sunday was just the beginning of the next round of political competition. Once the votes are in, the heavy business of negotiation and repositioning will rumble forward...What it all means is that from today onward there will be no point in expecting everything to flow smoothly. Not only is that unrealistic, but it may not even provide an outcome in the best interests of the Myanmar people. The fact that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has sat at the same table as Thura U Shwe Mann and U Khin Aung Myint on so many occasions over these recent years needs our attention. She will have to draw on all that experience of dealing with military men if politics in the months ahead is going to work in her favour."
Author/creator: Nicholas Farrelly
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 12 November 2015


Title: Myanmar election: Suu Kyi to meet with President (text and video)
Date of publication: 11 November 2015
Description/subject: "Myanmar's President Thein Sein has agreed to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi as early election results point toward victory for Suu Kyi's National League of Democracy. The President's office didn't spell out when such a meeting would take place, but it congratulated Suu Kyi and the NLD on their success. "We will wait until the ... counting of the ballots eases up and try to arrange a time to meet when it is a bit quieter," said Zaw Htay, director of the President's office. The NLD has won 256 of the 299 seats declared so far in the country's parliament, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. Suu Kyi won a seat in the Kawhmu constituency in Yangon, the city formerly known as Rangoon, the Union Election Commission said Wednesday..."..... Several other reports with the videos about 2015 Myanmar election.
Author/creator: Ed Payne
Language: English
Source/publisher: CNN
Format/size: Core Video Player (1.11minutes)
Date of entry/update: 12 November 2015


Title: Myanmar moves forward
Date of publication: 11 November 2015
Description/subject: "Myanmar’s election have successfully taken place without a major hitch let alone violence and conflict – a remarkable achievement considering the country’s protracted civil war and decades of political confrontation. The resounding victory for the opposition National League for Democracy represents a clear expression of the enormous popular support for the NLD and its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Not only was the outcome to the satisfaction of most people, inside and outside the country, but the processes were also deemed by most of the 11,000 or more election monitors, to have been “free and fair” and credible. With more than 30 million voters, the 2015 election was a major undertaking by any measure. Its success means that the years of efforts and dedication by parties, candidates, support staff and the media have been vindicated, and the result is a new government with its legitimacy confirmed, unlike the outcome of the flawed and fraudulent 2010 elections. Before the elections, many problems with voter registration lists were discovered. A number of complaints about voting procedures on polling day have been lodged with Myanmar’s Election Commission, but it is doubtful that any errors would have made much difference to the results..."
Author/creator: Trevor Wilson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 12 November 2015


Title: The president and the proxy
Date of publication: 11 November 2015
Description/subject: "Myanmar’s people have decided they want change. The reds, the National League for Democracy (NLD) have repudiated the greens, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in a historic election that was largely peaceful. The USDP leadership, custodians of Myanmar’s political transformation since the introduction of a quasi-civilian government and new constitution in 2008, have publically conceded defeat. The government and the military have also declared their acceptance of the election results. At a glance, it looks like a smooth transition for Myanmar and high hopes for democratic change under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi. The problem is, it is not that simple. The main complication is that, despite leading her party to what looks like a resounding victory, Aung San Suu Kyi is not going to be the next president of Myanmar. She is constitutionally barred from the office because of her two sons, who are not Myanmar citizens. Last week she publicly declared that the next president of Myanmar would be an NLD member and she would direct him or her, should her party win the election and be able to form government. Since then there has been some speculation about who she might pick as her ‘notional president’ and exactly what this arrangement may entail. So who will be the new president of Myanmar? And in what way can Aung San Suu Kyi influence a role that is constitutionally prohibited from being influenced? Most importantly, will the country’s military obey this new president? These are puzzles for the NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi to solve as Myanmar enters its post-election phase. But with the above questions in mind, we can already sketch out some likely scenarios and key challenges. For Aung San Suu Kyi to get her way, the optimal choice would be a NLD member in his late 50s or 60s with a legislative background. Myanmar’s constitution says the president has to be over 45 and acquainted with politics, the administration, economics and the military. Though it is not necessarily expected, based on the fact that only 13 per cent of election candidates were women, the new president will also most likely be male..."
Author/creator: Chit Win
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 12 November 2015


Title: Ethnic conflict and the vote
Date of publication: 07 November 2015
Description/subject: "Failure to respect the needs and aspirations of Myanmar’s many ethnic minorities was the main catalyst for the outbreak of conflict immediately upon independence in 1948, which over the past seven decades has brought the country to the brink of disintegration and ruin. Despite significant progress in the peace process under the post-2011 quasi-civilian government, negotiations have yet to yield a durable resolution of what has become the world’s longest running civil war. With an estimated 30 to 40 per cent of the country’s 51 million population made up of ethnic people, the ethnic vote is expected to play a crucial role in the outcome of tomorrow’s elections... The election impact will also be limited as a number of ethnic groups are excluded from the vote. The cancellation of Temporary Registration Certificates in March 2015 has resulted in the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters in ethnic areas, including stateless Rohingyas, Kokang, Wa and other minorities of Chinese or Indian descent. In addition, the Union Election Commission has cancelled voting in 600 conflict-affected villages around the country. Although hopes for the fulfilment of ethnic claims are fairly limited, the electoral process has very positive impacts on ethnic people through the promotion of a democratic culture. As debates on social media indicate, people are generally becoming aware of their right to have a say on the government’s performance and of the government’s responsibility to address their concerns. Even if such progress is less visible and sometime absent in some ethnic areas, ethnic people will ultimately benefit from a trickle down effect generated by this process. While far from bringing an end to ethnic conflict, this election does represent a positive step in bringing about the development of a democratic culture in ethnic areas. The challenge of the next government will be to consolidate such progress through a national political dialogue, which unites parliamentary processes and ethnic ceasefire talks."
Author/creator: Cecile Medail
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 12 November 2015


Title: Dhamma Predication and Political Transition
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: "For those who have observed Burmese religious life long enough, one striking evolution of the last decades has been the growing place of Buddhist preaching in the practice of many monks and in the public space . While until the late eighties dhamma predication was hardly to be seen on the public scene, from the beginning of the nineties onward, it started to become more and more visible. Traditional ly monks were requested to preach on private or communal ritual occasions such as funerals, noviciation or offerings made at the monastery at the end of the rain retreat season (kahteinbwe). The large public performance of «dhamma talks» by monks invited by laypeople independently of any ritual occasion contrasts sharply with these previous practices. They are c alled in Burmese taya bwe, the “feast of Law”, they are held at night and usually last around an hour, or more. As stated by Mahinda Deegalle in his study on Sri Lanka (2006), the development of public predication, known as the bana tradition in that context, particularly from the beginning of the eighteen th century onward, corresponds to the will of consolidating Buddhist communities through popularization of Buddhist teachings. In Burma, resorting to mass preaching to educate the public at large has its own genealogy starting in the early nineteenth century with the famous addresses of Thingaza Hsayadaw and those not less famous of Ledi Hsayadaw towards the end of the nineteenth century. Mass preaching had its heyday in the 1920s, when it was used as a tool to initiate reform among the public and contest the colonial rule by young activist monks such as Ottama and Wisara. It had continued until the 1960 s when it drastically decreased, after Ne Win’s military coup, because expressions of religious life then tended to be relegated to the p rivate sphere. The large public dhamma talks were to re-emerge only in the 1990s, at the joint initiative of local communities and the authorities, to become the highly popular events prevailing today...".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: Brac de la Perrière Bénédicte
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (711K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 10 August 2015


Title: Expected but Permanent? : The Tatmadaw’s continued political involvement in Myanmar
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "The Tatmadaw remains the most powerful political entity in Myanmar, motivated to preserve four core interests regardless of other changes to the state and society – maintenance of complete institutional autonomy and independence; exclusive control over security portfolios; veto powers over constitutional change; and inhibiting prosecution for actions conducted during the Junta era. These interests are embedded within and supported by a praetorian ethos pillared upon a national security narrative justifying the military’s ongoing political involvement while the democratic process continues to mature, including past the upcoming parliamentary elections this November. New institutions and practices, however, have opened the political realm in unprecedented ways. Within this increasingly shifting political landscape, it is uncertain the unity and coherence of the regime – the military and their retired brethren in charge of the executive and parliament- to maintain power, especially due to the large manipulations of the electoral and democratic processes which would be required to ensure their rule. Military intervention cannot be ruled out, but the Tatmadaw is reluctant to overtly and aggressively reintroduce themselves politically unless it feels its core interests will be irrevocably and immediately compromised by a new government. With their roles and responsibilities protected, the military may feel they can control, or at least marginalize, a parliament and/or government hostile to its interests. The 2015 elections will not, therefore, mark the end of the military’s preponderant political influence but continue to erode their control over the pathways of political power and may bring about the first truly civilian-military government in the country’s transition away from military rule; a significant milestone as those outside the old, yet still influential, military regime gain access to begrudgingly-ceded power.".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: Adam P. MacDonald
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (76K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 08 August 2015


Title: Review by Bradley C. Davis of David I Steinberg's "Myanmar: The Dynamics of an Evolving Polity"
Date of publication: 05 June 2015
Description/subject: "This volume compiles the real issues and actors pulling back Myanmar’s full-fledged democratic transition, since its propagation in 2008. The book comes to terms with “on the ground” factors bothering Burmese society—a continuing prominence of the military; a messy legislative process; an inherent tension between Burmese customary concepts and practices and Western concepts of justice and rule of law; the positive effects of economic reforms that have yet to filter down to the populace; a challenging ‘peace process’ and an exclusionary Buddhist nationalism that undermines the integration of extensive minority religious communities. The authors draw a conclusion from these recurring changes in Myanmar that is, in a nutshell, pragmatic, detailed, and unbiased. In his own chapter on ‘The Persistence of Military Dominance,’ Professor David Steinberg analyzes why the military in Burma/Myanmar (better known as Tatmadaw) has been able to continue in effective control for over half a century. While various opinions have been proposed, one that may have been overlooked in most discussions is the apparent control of the military over all avenues of social mobility. As Steinberg notes, this control could be erased not by elimination but by amelioration of military power over the legislature through the development of diverse opportunities for them. These changes, according to Steinberg, must “emanate from the government” itself. If censorship is lifted, if universities begin the process of free inquiry, and if legislatures at the provincial level have greater opportunity to contribute to social change, then the country will be strengthened and the military will resume its guardian function, rebuilding its reputation that was lost in previous decades. The author takes a pragmatic overview of the problem related to the military in Myanmar and successfully proposes a solution: the integration of Myanmar’s Tatmadaw within the society without erasing or curtailing its influence..."
Author/creator: Bradley C. Davis
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 July 2015


Title: Karen Major General Nerdah Bo Mya: ‘The Government Is Playing the Game’
Date of publication: 07 April 2015
Description/subject: "Nerdah Bo Mya is a Major General and the Chief of Staff of the Karen National Defence Organization (KNDO), which was founded in 1947 to protect the Karen people and territory, and is under its mother organisation Karen National Union (KNU). Nerdah Bo Mya, 48, was born near Manerplaw—the former headquarters of the KNU as well as other ethnic nationalities and the pro–democracy movement—as the son of the late General Bo Mya who was the President of the KNU from 1976 to 2000. After being educated in Thailand and in the US, where Nerdah Bo Mya spent six years studying a Liberal Arts degree at a university in California, the young graduate turned away from a future in the US and soon returned to the Thailand-Burma border. For over 20 years, he has fought for “freedom, democracy, and humanity,” against what is undoubtedly one of the most brutal military regimes in the world. This dedicated and empathetic “rebel” leader emphasizes that it is not just the Karen people but a whole nation of 60 million people who are still suffering and need to be freed. Although the international community has enjoyed what some call a honeymoon with the Burmese government since the country started opening up in 2011, according to Nerdah Bo Mya, the government is still not showing signs of sincerity in peace talks nor genuine willingness to change. “The government is playing the game,” he says, and the international community too often indirectly participating in ongoing atrocities. In this exclusive interview with Burma Link, Nerdah Bo Mya talks about the struggle, the current state of the ceasefire and the peace process, the role of the international community, and how to build a prosperous Burma for the future generations."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 17 March 2016


Title: Why Burma Is Heading Downhill Fast
Date of publication: 28 March 2015
Description/subject: "...None of this seems to impress Burma’s ordinary citizens much — which hardly comes as a surprise, given their continuing poverty and lack of rights. They are left to cope with the daily reality of unemployment, illegal land grabs, official corruption, ethnic tension, and the inevitable outbursts of violence when government forces step in to suppress the resulting protests. (In the photo above, protesters pray during a demonstration against land grabs in Yangon.) Given the general atmosphere of tension, it is not hard to imagine how power struggles at the top might lead to partisan political protests, religious riots, or even terrorist attacks. Since the general level of trust and tolerance is so weak, and the capacity of the state so fragile, society could easily find itself in a situation even worse than Thailand’s recent bout of political polarization. No wonder the Economist projected that Burma is at high risk of social unrest in 2014. Unless Burma’s leaders manage to reach a basic consensus about the speed and character of the transition, these risks will only mount. A few weeks ago I described the current situation in our country to some of my friends as a "slow-motion train wreck." As one of those listening put it: "Yes. And we, the people of Burma, are inside the train.""
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Foreign Policy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 March 2015


Title: Myanmar 2014: Civic Knowledge and Values in a Changing Society (Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ )
Date of publication: 11 December 2014
Description/subject: "Burmese version. A survey to document public knowledge and awareness of new government institutions and processes, and to gauge the political, social, and economic values held by people from diverse backgrounds, to inform the country's long-term development. The survey included face-to-face interviews with more than 3,000 respondents across all 14 Myanmar states and regions.."
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
Source/publisher: Asia Foundation
Format/size: pdf (14MB-reduced version; 18.7MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://asiafoundation.org/resources/pdfs/FullMyanmar2014MM.pdf
Date of entry/update: 05 January 2015


Title: Myanmar 2014: Civic Knowledge and Values in a Changing Society (English)
Date of publication: December 2014
Description/subject: "A survey to document public knowledge and awareness of new government institutions and processes, and to gauge the political, social, and economic values held by people from diverse backgrounds, to inform the country's long-term development. The survey included face-to-face interviews with more than 3,000 respondents across all 14 Myanmar states and regions."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Foundation
Format/size: pdf (1.4MB-reduced version; 1.7MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs20/AF-2014-MyanmarSurvey-en-red.pdf
http://asiafoundation.org/resources/pdfs/MM2014SurveySummaryReportENG.pdf
Date of entry/update: 05 January 2015


Title: Legislators in Myanmar’s First “Post- Junta” National Parliament (2010–2015): A Sociological Analysis
Date of publication: September 2014
Description/subject: Abstract: "In an attempt to better grasp the realities of Myanmar’s na- tional legislature, which was formed after the 2010 elections, this paper examines the personal profiles and social backgrounds of its elected and appointed members. I have sought to record data on the social composition of Myanmar’s first “post-junta” parliament and provide a dataset for further comparative research on the resurgence of legislative affairs in the country. The study draws on official publications containing the biographies of 658 national parliamentarians. Focusing on six socio-demographic variables, the findings suggest that the typical Burmese legislator still closely mirrors the conventional image of Myanmar’s characteristic postcolonial leader: a man, in his mid-fifties, ethnically Bamar, Buddhist, holding a Myanmar university degree, engaged in business activities or in the education sector (in the case of the 492 elected legislators) or in the security sector (for the 166 military appointees). However, I argue that the profile of Myanmar’s first post-junta legislature offers a quite unexpected level of diversity that may augur well for the emergence of a new civilian policymaking elite in Myanmar.... Manuscript received 14 August 2014; accepted 21 September 2014.... Keywords: Myanmar, parliament, legislature composition, parliamentary elites, sociological profile, Burmese legislator, Hluttaws
Author/creator: Renaud Egreteau
Language: English
Source/publisher: Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs 2/2014: 91–124
Format/size: pdf (743K)
Date of entry/update: 08 November 2014


Title: The elephant and Myanmar politics
Date of publication: 29 April 2014
Description/subject: "When news broke about the National League for Democracy (NLD) postponing its parliamentary debut on account of a dispute over the wording of the oath to be taken by new Members of Parliament (MP) one immediate reaction was to recall a well known Myanmar saying “Hsinpyaung Gyi Ah Mee Kya Hma Tit” or “The tusker got stuck at the tail”. After all the efforts by the government, led by reformist President U Thein Sein, and the NLD, led by Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (DASSK), to set aside differences and work together on common issues for the sake of Myanmar, the process to bring the NLD back into the mainstream political process now appears stalled over the choice of words whether to “uphold and abide by” (current version) or “respect” (NLD’s preference) the Constitution..."
Author/creator: Tin Maung Maung Than
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 July 2014


Title: Return to the fold
Date of publication: 22 April 2014
Description/subject: "The shadow of Myanmar’s past military rule won’t harm its new-found place as a respected member of ASEAN and the region. Whether Myanmar did a good job chairing the recent 24th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, held in Nay Pyi Taw from 10-11 May depends very much on whom you ask. For Myanmar’s leaders the summit appears to have been an almost complete success. Myanmar hosted what appears to have been an efficient and smoothly ‘talk fest’, revealing false the naysayers’ fears about not enough hotels, not enough roads and not enough logistical know-how to run a large high profile international event. All the symbols of a successful ASEAN meeting were produced; glossy photos of smiling dignitaries, a series of carefully worded statements and of course the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration, “Realisation of the ASEAN Community by 2015”. In an association as concerned with process as ASEAN, these symbols are incredibly important, suggesting business as usual and on-going regional harmony. Compared to the fiasco of the 45th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting held in 2012 under Cambodian leadership, which failed to produce for the first time a joint communiqué, this is no mean achievement. Through this success, Myanmar has cemented its position as a legitimate, efficient and productive member of ASEAN, newly returned to the fold after the years of overt military rule had cast it as an outsider criticised by fellow members for its violent political repression. For ASEAN itself the Summit is harder to read. It was always unlikely that substantial progress on the South China Sea issue would have been forthcoming. But ASEAN seems to have made no forward motion at all. The Nay Pyi Taw Declaration limits itself, in point 7, to a restatement of existing agreements that so far have proven woefully inadequate to resolving the situation. Those critical of Myanmar will point to its on-going close ties to China and a failure of Myanmar to take clear ‘pro-ASEAN’ leadership. Those more forgiving note that escalating tensions between ASEAN members Vietnam and China obscure the fact that member states themselves have competing claims to the region and that an agreement to diplomatic resolution is at least not a step backwards. Perhaps Myanmar’s greatest challenge in 2014 is working towards the completion of ASEAN’s community project in 2015. The Nay Pyi Taw Declaration certainly says the right things, with repeated reference to ‘accelerating’ ‘intensifying’ and ‘strengthening’ existing plans. Whether or not these claims are realised with the completion of the political, economic and socio-cultural communities that ASEAN is building, remains to be seen. While there is scepticism that ASEAN will finish everything it has set out to achieve, it is doubtful whether this can be laid solely at Myanmar’s door given the Charter was signed in 2007. For at least some of the citizens of Myanmar though, the Summit offered little. Going into the Summit there had been interest in whether human rights issues, especially concerning on-going violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority would be brought into discussion. Myanmar managed to keep this off of the agenda completely, and the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration contains only bland commitments to human rights, with the usual ASEAN caveat that non-intervention remains the paramount right of member states. In contrast to Gareth Robinson, writing for New Mandala on 21 May, I do not think the domestic situation in Myanmar will impact on its engagement with Southeast Asia. Robinson writes that ‘the continuing shadow of the military over the governance of the country is also likely to encourage scepticism at the prospect of Burma assuming a greater role in regional cooperation’. I believe quite the opposite is true; that the ongoing domestic situation in Myanmar is now at a ‘low enough level’ to not raise itself on the regional radar. It was never the military regime itself that ASEAN was concerned with, but its repeated violation of even the most basic standards of good governance through widespread repression. The move towards a limited democracy that institutionalised the military’s position in Myanmar’s society was welcomed by ASEAN as early as the 2010 election – the same election being widely criticised outside of the region. ASEAN is concerned with the general domestic situation in Myanmar. Partial liberalisation, partial democracy and partial ceasefires are enough for ASEAN. Given the variety of ASEAN member states domestic situations, and at the moment the clearly anti-democratic movements in Thailand, there is little room for ASEAN to be concerned with much more. Robinson’s more general claim, that Myanmar is becoming a regional player, is far stronger. We can see it being played out now through events like the ASEAN Summit. As its economy opens to regional and global trade and investment, Myanmar’s position is only going to strengthen. The more interesting question, however, is what values a stronger, more regionally engaged, Myanmar will seek to promote as it engages more fully with the world and the region. Having staked a claim as a legitimate part of the regional conversation, Myanmar’s leaders will need to now think about what it is they actually want to say."
Author/creator: Mathew Davies
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 24 July 2014


Title: Let’s Face It: Democracy in Burma Is Not Inevitable
Date of publication: 03 April 2014
Description/subject: "... In my reports, I’m trying to offer readers more empirical facts from the ground and analyze them in the light of possible trajectories ahead. I’m increasingly convinced that the process of political opening in Burma is heading towards a particular brand of hybrid regime. In short, it’s high time for us to call a spade a spade: We need to get over the hopeful talk of "democratization" in Burma and recognize that the country is, in fact, undergoing a liberalization process that doesn’t necessarily lead toward liberal democracy. As I see it, there are three basic groups that have three fundamentally different views: In the view of the authoritarians (the Chinese and old regime hardliners), the predatory state under the old dictator served their interests well, so they long for yesterday. The liberalizers (including both Burma’s current business cronies and Burma’s friends in the West) welcome the space afforded by liberalization, so they live for today. Then there are the ordinary people of the country, who desperately yearn for more find that their path forward is still blocked. So the people of Burma feel that tomorrow does not belong to them."
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English and French
Source/publisher: "Foreign Policy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 March 2015


Title: What Burma Should Learn from Nelson Mandela
Date of publication: 07 December 2013
Description/subject: "... These days, Burma’s transition from tyranny to democracy is partly stymied by the opposition’s attempt to institutionalize the memory of our past political divisions. Instead of putting forward a vision for the future and policies to make that vision a reality, the opposition leadership tends to employ a "good-versus-evil" political narrative as a key frame of reference in mobilizing the public. The opposition, of course, can gain a significant advantage by using this polarizing ploy. The public’s distrust and hatred of the previous junta still poisons its opinion of the current pseudo-civilian government. However, using history as a campaign instrument has only encouraged dark forces within the establishment to defend themselves using "biology" in campaigns advocating racial and religious purity. These have ranged from an attempt to prohibit interfaith marriage, to rampant anti-Muslim hate speeches, to outright communal violence. The country is gradually sliding into a history-versus-biology political battle as it approaches the 2015 elections. What we really need is a truly democratic contest of vision and policy. The country lacks a sense of unity. True reconciliation and healing remain elusive in this fragile transition. Mandela was right. When invoking memory becomes a political strategy, society suffers from a lack of imagination. Without a new vision for the future, we cannot move on and be reborn..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Foreign Policy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 March 2015


Title: Why It Makes Sense to Engage with Burma’s Military
Date of publication: 19 September 2013
Description/subject: "...In short, any positive political concessions the Burmese military is likely to make regarding constitutional reform and the 2015 elections rest to a significant degree on a mil-to-mil incentive package from the United States. I think that smart, timely action by the United States to reconnect with the Burmese military would be one of the best insurance polices against another military take-over. And that could well save me and my compatriots from reliving that tragic day in September 1988."
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Foreign Policy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 March 2015


Title: Why Peace Is Still a Tough Sell
Date of publication: 10 September 2013
Description/subject: "... Generally speaking, the whole peace process is an executive-led initiative. The Myanmar Peace Center (MPC), led by reform-minded ministers Aung Min and Soe Thein, plays an essential role in facilitating on-the-ground negotiations (as well as the ensuing complaints, protests and controversies). With the help of the MPC, the government has thus far struck ceasefire deals with fourteen ethnic armed groups despite ongoing battles with Kachin state in northern Burma and other ethnic resistance armies. President Thein Sein has made it very clear on many occasions that the country would soon see a nationwide ceasefire signed between the government and ethnic rebel armies. The government plans to hold a grand ceremony in October of this year to sign a nationwide ceasefire accord with the 14 ethnic armed groups and is keeping the door open for other armed groups to enter the agreement at any time. The government, working in coordination with all stakeholders — including ethnic groups, Union Parliament, the military, political parties and civil society organizations — will then draft a framework for a national political dialogue. Thein Sein and his aides are aiming for nothing less than a complete end to the civil war..."
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Foreign Policy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 17 March 2015


Title: Myanmar’s new political geography
Date of publication: 17 October 2012
Description/subject: "Alongside a team of talented cartographers and GIS specialists from the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific I have recently been working on a large series of maps designed to help illustrate the changing political geography of Myanmar. We hope that in the years ahead these maps will become a useful resource for scholars, students, analysts, journalists and others hoping to come to grips with the 2010 general election, and also with the 2012 by-election. Of course, the planned 2015 general election is when such mapping products, and the databases that drive them, could prove most compelling. For the moment, and in an effort to begin introducing this project, I recently recorded a short video presentation. In that presentation I begin to talk about some of the key elements of Myanmar’s changing political geography. I have plans to continue this project and to record further episodes in what may become a substantial series of discussions dealing with these issues of political geography. If there are particualr topics you would like to see discussed through these maps then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or get in contact at the usual place. As I am learning, almost anything is possible when it comes to the wizardry of cutting-edge cartographic work."
Author/creator: Nicholas Farrelly
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 17 July 2014


Title: I want peace, I really want it to be true
Description/subject: "Noe Myint is a friendly and kind-hearted 46-year-old Karen man who grew up hiding in the jungle from Burmese military until fleeing to Thailand at the age of 12. Son of a soldier, Noe Myint joined the revolution in 1988 and has spent much of his adult life in the battlefield fighting alongside his school friends and his son. Out of his three children, two are still alive, one of them resettled in Australia and one living in Mae La refugee camp waiting to join her brother and other family in Australia. While their children are registered with the UNHCR, Noe Myint and his wife are not, and thus unable to reunite with their family in Australia. Read more to learn about the life of this soldier who has not only fought for revolution for over 20 years but also looked after a number of orphans who had no one else to turn to. Read more to learn about Noe Myint’s experiences with the UNHCR and resettlement, DKBA’s split from the KNU, Burma Army tactics, and refugee camp attacks. Find out why Noe Myint has great hopes for the future of Karen and how the international community can help the Karen and other ethnic people of Burma in their quest for peace and democracy."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 March 2016


Title: Please Support Our People, Not the Government – They Are Cheating the World: Mahn Robert Ba Zan
Description/subject: "Mahn Robert Ba Zan is a former Karen freedom fighter and an advisor to the Karen Communities of Minnesota. He served in the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) for more than 30 years, following in the footsteps of his father Mahn Ba Zan, the first commander of the Karen National Defence Organisation (KNDO) and a former President of the Karen National Union (KNU). In 2000, Mahn Robert Ba Zan resettled to the United States of America with his family, changing his revolutionary tactics towards raising awareness and educating the Karen and other ethnics. In this interview, Mahn Robert Ba Zan talks about the ceasefire and car permits, ethnic unity, and how the international community can help the Karen in their quest for genuine peace and freedom."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 19 March 2016


Title: Politics of Burma
Description/subject: Contents: 1 Political conditions... 2 History - 2.1 Independence era; 2.2 AFPFL/Union Government; 2.3 Military socialist era; 2.4 SPDC era; 2.5 New constitution; 2.6 2010 Election; 2.7 2012 By Elections... 3 Executive branch - 3.1 Members of Government of Burma... 4 Legislative branch... 5 Judicial system - 5.1 Wareru dhammathat; 5.2 Dhammazedi pyatton... 6 Administrative divisions... 7 International organization participation... 8 See also... 9 References... 10 Further reading... 11 External links - 11.1 Burmese democracy and human rights online media
Language: English
Source/publisher: Wikipedia
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 12 August 2012


Title: Ta’ang (Palaung) Leader’s Message to the International Community: ‘Come and See the Real Picture in Our Areas’
Description/subject: "The Ta’ang, also known as Palaung, are one of Burma’s myriad ethnic groups who have been fighting for basic human rights and autonomy for decades. Despite the international enthusiasm over Burma’s reform process, the reality in Burma’s ethnic borderlands remains dire, and the Burmese military continues its brutal offensive against ethnic civilians. Tar Aik Bong joined the Ta’ang struggle in 1987, and is now the Chairperson of the Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), the Head of military commission of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), as well as a member of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) council and Foreign Affairs Department. The PSLF/TNLA is one of the few prominent ethnic armed groups yet to sign a ceasefire with the Burmese government. The following is Tar Aik Bong’s message to the international community."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 March 2016