Hundred days of Myanmar’s democracy
It’s been 100 days since Myanmar’s first civilian government in more than 50 years took office. Making the transition away from military rule was never going to be simple, but new policies and priorities are emerging. So what does the future hold?
The BBC’s Myanmar correspondent Jonah Fisher picks out some of the key themes from the first three months.
For so long the debate over 59F, the constitutional clause that bars Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming president, was central to discussions about Myanmar. Not any more. By installing Htin Kyaw, a trusted friend in the top job, and creating the new position of State Counsellor for herself Ms Suu Kyi is now more powerful than if she had simply been president.
During last year’s election campaign changing the constitution to reduce the political power of the Burmese army was one of Ms Suu Kyi’s key pledges. Now it’s hardly mentioned. She appears to have accepted that the constitution is a “red line” for the army that could threaten her government’s survival.
Ms Suu Kyi’s aides now parrot the long-stated army position that this issue can only be addressed when there is a stable peace agreement with the country’s many armed groups.
This is the holy grail of Burmese politics. Myanmar has been blighted by simmering conflicts along its borders ever since independence from Britain.
Aung San Suu Kyi is trying to re-invigorate the stalled peace process that the previous president, Thein Sein, left behind. Central to that is an all-inclusive summit that’s due to start at the end of August.
Called “The 21st Century Panglong Conference” , it hopes to draw inspiration from the Panglong Agreement of 1947, that her father signed with three ethnic groups.
Though Ms Suu Kyi brings fresh energy, this will be infinitely more complex, with as many as 15 different armed groups taking part. Getting them to agree amongst themselves is the first challenge. They may also find Ms Suu Kyi a surprisingly tough negotiator.
While talks about talks take place, the Burmese army has continued fighting armed groups in three states.
With the military beyond the control of Myanmar’s elected leaders, a change in government has made little difference on the battlefield. There’s been no sign that the army’s abuse of villagers has stopped, and the armed groups are hardly saints..
Conditions are still miserable for the 100,000 or so Rohingya in camps, and not much better for the several hundred thousand who live restricted lives elsewhere in Rakhine State.
lots of multinationals have moved in..they like it..as for the violence..we wont talk about that so much..
“While talks about talks take place, the Burmese army has continued fighting armed groups in three states.”