Analysis

Burma’s Difficult Road to Democracy
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon, Burma, December 1, 2011. (State Department photo by William Ng )
March 8, 2012
| Security
| Asia and the Pacific
Summary
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In Burma last weekend, a crowd of 100,000 came out to hear Aung San Suu Kyi speak at a rally before the upcoming April 1 election. It was a promising sign that the nation’s authoritarian government — in some ways as repressive as North Korea’s — is loosening control over the country and permitting movement towards democracy. Appearances can be deceiving, however, as LIGNET explains below.

In her speech, Suu Kyi did not sugarcoat the path ahead for the Burmese people, stating unequivocally: "The road ahead is rough and tough. Democracy is hard to achieve.”  Given the willingness of Burma’s government to overturn the results of elections, as it did in 1990 when Suu Kyi’s party won an overwhelming victory at the ballot box, nothing should be taken for granted.  History could easily repeat itself in the coming national election in 2015.  Next month’s election will be to merely to fill a few vacant seats in parliament.

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