Myanmar's real test will be after 2015 poll

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (L) prepares to deliver snacks to merrymakers to celebrate Thingyan, Myanmar's annual New Year water festival, in Yangon, yesterday. Picture: AP

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dear Editor,

THIS is with reference to your report "Myanmar likely to be set free from EU sanctions" (April 16, 2012).

Myanmar has been taking the right steps towards reforms and democracy. The release of political prisoners and letting opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party to contest the recent by-elections are some of the measures in this direction.

The Myanmar government led by President Thein Sein seems also keen to settle the different ethnic issues debilitating the country. For the first time in decades, the government held talks with representatives of the warring Karen rebels, who have been fighting for self-rule. And not just this, the government, too, retreated on a controversial dam project after unprecented protests and agitations.

All these measures amply prove that the government wants to shed its pariah image and move ahead in the globalised world. Since last few months, world dignitaries have been knocking the doors of Myanmar. British Premier David Cameron has been the first head of a state to visit Naypyidaw.

Though all these things look promising for Myanmar, the real test for it will come in 2015 when it will have to hold a general election. Presently, Suu Kyi's party is a small minority. It has some 40 and odd seats in the parliament constituting over 600 seats. And moreover, the Constitution is tilted in favour of the army men as there's a sizeable reservation for them. Suu Kyi and her party want to amend the Constitution and set things in perspective. But the generals and former army men may not be happy about this.

Hence, the real test for Myanmar would come after the 2015 general elections. PKC, BSB