How a Deadly Power Game Undid Myanmar’s Democratic Hopes

Max Fisher in the New York Times –

Myanmar seemed to be building a peaceful transition to civilian governance. Instead, a personal struggle between military and civilian leaders brought it all down.

The wrenching collapse of Myanmar’s once-celebrated democratic opening had many witting and unwitting accomplices along the way. But its central driver, activists and experts say, was a yearslong power struggle between the military and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s civilian leader.

Democratic transitions can be a messy business. Old regimes tend to surrender power slowly, piece by piece. In a transitional phase that might last decades, the authoritarian and democratic systems often operate side by side. If they stay on tolerably good terms, with a shared understanding of their eventual destination, they have a chance to make it.

That was once the hope for Myanmar. The country’s military junta, after decades of iron-fisted rule, in 2011 began handing off power to a civilian government. After her party’s election victory in 2015, that government was headed by Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient for her resistance to the junta through years of house arrest.

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About Radnor Reports

Ken Feltman is past-president of the International Association of Political Consultants and the American League of Lobbyists. He is retired chairman of Radnor Inc., an international political consulting and government relations firm in Washington, D.C. Known as a coalition builder, he has participated in election campaigns and legislative efforts in the United States and several other countries.
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