World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia - Vol. 5

By Paul Bernabeo | Go to book overview

GOVERNMENT

From independence in 1948 through 1962, Burma had a relatively democratic system. The nation has been a republic ruled by military dictatorships since 1962. The 1974 constitution was suspended in 1988, and human rights activists are routinely harassed.

The nation's military government sanctioned a new Burmese constitution in 1974, and it is this document that would be restored the military junta that rules Myanmar were to bow to international pressure to allow elections. The 1974 constitution established a single-chamber legislature, the Pyithu Hluttaw (People's Assembly). Under the constitution, members are elected for a four-year term from 485 constituencies, each of which elects a single representative. The voting age is 18.

The assembly functioned alongside several committees, the most powerful of which was the Council of State. The Council of State comprised 29 members: one member elected by each of the 14 states and divisions and 14 members elected by the assembly, as well as the prime minister. The members of the Council of State elected from their number a chair, who simultaneously took office as the chief of state and the chair of the single legal political party, which was then known as the

U Nu (1907–1995) prays at a Buddhist shrine in his home. Ousted
by a military coup in 1962. he was the last elected civilian
Burmese head of government
.

Burma Socialist Program Party. The council, rather than the government of the prime minister and ministers, was the nation's most powerful governmental body. It appointed all senior civil servants and other public officials as well as deputy ministers. The council also effectively appointed the prime minister, senior ministers, judges, and other legal officials, by drawing up lists of candidates for the posts and submitting them to the assembly. The prime minister presided over the Council of Ministers whose members were, in theory, responsible to the assembly. Other functions of government were controlled by the chief of state, the Council of State, and three committees: the Council of People's Judges, the Council of People's Attorneys, and the Council of People's Inspectors (auditors).


THE 1990 ELECTIONS

In 1988, Myanmar's military rulers dissolved the nation's constitutional arrangements. However, in May 1990, the junta allowed free elections for the People's Assembly. The party

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World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia - Vol. 5
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Country Locator for Volume 5 Myanmar and Thailand i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Geography and Climate 580
  • The Land of Myanmar and Thailand 582
  • Geology of Myanmar and Thailand 590
  • Climate of Myanmar and Thailand 594
  • Flora and Fauna of Thailand and Myanmar 598
  • History and Movement of Peoples 602
  • Sukhothai and Ayutthaya 604
  • Later Burmese Kingdoms 608
  • British Intervention in Burma 610
  • Peoples of Myanmar and Thailand 612
  • Myanmar (Burma) 614
  • Government 618
  • Modern History 620
  • War and Independence 623
  • Independent Burma 626
  • Modern Myanmar 628
  • Cultural Expression 630
  • Art and Architecture 632
  • Music and Performing Arts 636
  • Festivals and Ceremonies 638
  • Food and Drink 640
  • Daily Life 642
  • Family and Society 644
  • Welfare 646
  • Yangon (Rangoon) 648
  • Naypyidaw 650
  • Mandalay 651
  • Moulmein 652
  • Pegu 653
  • Economy 654
  • Thailand 662
  • Government 666
  • Modern History 668
  • Siam in Transition 670
  • The Age of Reform 672
  • War and Military Rule 674
  • Modern Thailand 676
  • Cultural Expression 678
  • Art and Architecture 680
  • Decorative Arts 683
  • Music and Performing Arts 684
  • Festivals and Ceremonies 687
  • Food and Drink 688
  • Daily Life 690
  • Family and Society 693
  • Health, Welfare, and Housing 695
  • Education 697
  • Bangkok 698
  • Chiang Mai 703
  • Nakhon Ratchasima 704
  • Udon Thani 705
  • Economy 706
  • Further Research 716
  • Index 718
  • World and Its Peoples 722
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