TODAY -

Myanmar : Slow march to democracy :: Landslide victory for NLD
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: November 12 2015 -



It is going to be a landslide victory.

Something which would not have surprised the onlookers and more specifically the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

From the information that is available as of today, the NLD has already won over 90 percent of the seats declared so far and there is just no way that the USDP can come back into the race.

That is if everything goes well and the former military rulers of Myanmar do not repeat the act of 1990 when it kept aside the poll results and carried on the military junta.

It however remains that Myanmar still has some significant distance to trek before it can say that it is a ‘full democracy’.

Aung San Suu Kyi may say that she will in effect be the leader of the Government, but going by the Constitution of the neighbouring country, she cannot be the President.

It was to keep her out from office that the military rulers of Myanmar included a clause (Section F) in the Constitution that debarred anyone with foreign children from becoming the President of the country.

Suu Kyi’s children are British citizens.

Not only this, but the quasi military Government too made sure that 25 percent seats are reserved for the military and to make its presence felt in any dispensation, the Constitution of Myanmar has been drafted in such a manner that key portfolios such as Defence, Internal Security and Border Affairs are reserved for the military.

Under such an arrangement it is difficult to say that Myanmar has fully moved from a military dispensation to a full fledged democracy.

It is also still unclear whether the NLD can amend the Constitution when it comes to power.

More importantly, will the military allow the civilian Government to amend the Constitution, which was specially drafted to keep Suu Kyi out from the post of President ?

Early days yet but already 2015 seems to be a better year than 1990 for the military establishment has so far not indicated that it may act and declare the election as null and void.

The international observers which overlooked the conduct of the election too do not seem to have much complaint this time and this sure is an encouraging sign.

For now the NLD seems set to form the next Government, but as stated earlier, it still remains to be seen whether the march towards democracy will be complete or not.

Another interesting question is whether the march towards democracy will have any major impact on the relationship between India and Myanmar.

What does it mean to New Delhi ? Will the installation of a popularly elected Government in the neighbouring country impact on the Act East Policy pursued by the Government of India ?

Will the change of regime in the neighbouring country affect the North Eastern part of India ?

An interesting question this will be and only the coming days or months will throw light on these posers.



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