Democratisation in Myanmar: Glue or Gloss?

Naing Ko Ko

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This article examines democratisation in Myanmar (Burma) during the period 2012-17. It analyses how the National League for Democracy (NLD) achieved an electoral victory in 2015, and whether factors such as populism or ultra-nationalism in domestic politics helped the party. It also questions whether Myanmar has a new democratic culture. In particular, is the change to a civilian NLD government likely to have a lasting structural and institutional political impact? What does this mean for domestic governance and for society? I argue that this political transition in Myanmar is the “new normal”, in which state actors and institutions are trying to shift from an authoritarian to a quasicivilian model and where the economy is transforming from military-capitalism to crony-capitalism. However, at the same time, Myanmar is far from becoming a liberal democracy—the great majority of people continue to demand a fuller version of democracy and greater political autonomy, through federalism. This article points to the obstacles and opportunities confronting the political leadership of Myanmar domestically and on international fronts. It addresses the role of multiple stakeholders who are supporting (or seeking to thwart) democratic transition and the establishment of the rule of law in Myanmar,1 and it argues that civilian control over the military is a prerequisite for democratisation in Myanmar.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)35-46
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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