Tag Archives: Aung San Suu Kyi

Standing with Myanmar – Military rule and the struggle for democracy in Myanmar

History appears to be repeating itself in Myanmar with the military unwilling to relinquish control. Will thousands be killed again, as massive numbers of people nationwide protest in the streets and are engaged in civil disobedience?

Following independence from British colonial rule in 1948, disagreements amongst political elites, the civil wars with ethnic-based groups and anxieties over communist influence led to General Ne Win forming a caretaker government in 1958. An election was held in 1960, but when minority groups pushed for a loose federal structure, which were seen by the military as separatist movements, General Ne Win took over in a coup d’état.

Since then, for the next 30 years, Myanmar was ruled by the military. In 1974, a new Constitution was established and a one-party system was adopted, whereby military officers resigned and governed through the Burma Socialist Programme Party. Protests were held against military rule throughout the 1960s and 1970s, which were crushed, culminating in a major unrest and widespread pro-democracy demonstrations in 1988. Thousands were killed. Martial law was declared in 1989 and Burma was renamed Myanmar.

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Observations of an expat: A sad Burmese tale

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This week’s coup in Myanmar (aka Burma) is a warning of the dangers of Faustian pacts between politicians and the military.

To be fair, the political manoeuvrability of human rights icon Aung San Suu Kyi was severely limited. Her country had been under a brutal military regime for nearly half a century when she started talks with the generals.  And she was negotiating while under house arrest.

But the government which eventually resulted in multi-party general elections in 2015 and again last November was neither political fish nor fowl and thus inherently unstable. The Tatmadaw (the military’s name for itself) called the result a “discipline-flourishing democracy.”

The new constitution allowed multi-party elections, but 25 percent of the seats were reserved for the military’s political vehicle the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP); which had a blocking vote because major legislation required a three-quarters majority.

In addition, the cabinet portfolios of defence, border security and home affairs were held by serving military officers.  The military also appointed two of the vice presidents. Ms Suu Kyi was specifically barred from the presidency by constitutional clause which said no one married to a non-Burmese citizen or who had non-Burmese children could hold the top job. Aung San Suu Kyi was married to a British subject and had British children.

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A new dawn in Myanmar: cause for great celebration

The Guardian reports:

Aung San Suu Kyi has won Myanmar’s landmark election and claimed a staggering majority in parliament, ending half a century of dominance by the military and providing the symbol of a decades-old democracy movement with a mandate to rule.

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An historic address

“Aung San Suu Kyi – the only woman to have addressed both houses of Parliament apart from the Queen #Burma #WestminsterHall #bbcnews” I had tweeted at 3.44pm on June 21st.

“@merleneemerson The only woman to do so internationally, the only person from Asia and the only non head of state. She’s a record breaker!!” came a reply within seconds from one @gregjudge.

We weren’t the only ones excited by the recent visit by Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the Opposition in Burma to London. Celebrated in Norway where she finally accepted her Nobel Peace prize 21 years after the event, entertained by …

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LDV readers vote Aung San Suu Kyi your Liberal Voice of the Year

Congratulations to Aung San Suu Kyi, who has won Liberal Democrat Voice’s fourth annual Liberal Voice of the Year award – an award which publicly acknowledges the campaigning work of non-Liberal Democrats in promoting liberal values.

She gained a plurality of votes, with 22%; the runner-up was Prime Minister David Cameron (assisted by some right-wing push-tweets), with 20%, followed by fellow Tory Ken Clarke, with 12%.

  • 22% (238 votes): Aung San Suu Kyi – for her courageous stand against political abuse in Burma
  • 20% (216): David Cameron – for his commitment to forming the Liberal-Conservative Coalition Government

Posted in LDV Awards | Also tagged | 11 Comments
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