Political Limbo and the Marginalization of the NLD

Southeast Asian Affairs, January 1, 2000 | Go to article overview

Political Limbo and the Marginalization of the NLD


It has now been more than a decade since the military took power in a sui coup in 1988 following widespread public demonstrations against military rule. Despite the oft-repeated pledge that the junta would transfer power to an elected government once the new constitution is completed, this appears no closer to reality. The body tasked with drafting the new constitution, the National Convention, has not met since it went into recess in 1996. While a timetable for the completion of the new constitution is still unknown, it is clear that the pace of Myanmar's political transition will be dictated by the military. In all likelihood, the constitution will only be completed if, and when, the military is confident that it will win the test of an election. Despite consolidating its power over the past decade, the junta appears to remain deeply uncertain about such a prospect. In an interview with Asiaweek in December, the SPDC's intelligence chief, Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt, warned that the junta was "still in the process of building democracy" and that it was "better to be safe and sound rather than to be precipitous". …

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