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Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a speech during a central committee meeting of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), in Yangon, Myanmar, 13 December 2014. Photo: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a speech during a central committee meeting of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), in Yangon, Myanmar, 13 December 2014. Photo: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi must have greeted the New Year with some anticipation, and trepidation: 2015 is when her hopes to lead Myanmar will be put to the test. All the battles, campaigns and strategies have been leading towards a chance to get in the ring for a proper electoral showdown.

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Generational-change-in-the-hluttaw
Photo: Soe Than Lynn/Mizzima

The way that Myanmar’s first group of legislators was elected, in the jumbled process of the 2010 poll, means that a good proportion will be one-term wonders.

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A libertarian dream country?

Robert-Walsh

American business is by and large staying out of Myanmar for various reasons, usually citing political uncertainties prior to the 2015 elections, the continuing sanctions regime that imposes restrictions on who they can work with locally, or the reticence of American banks to deal with Myanmar counter-parties.

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The parliament complex in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: Hong Sar
The parliament complex in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: Hong Sar

When US President Barack Obama galloped through Naypyitaw last month it was the consummation of a dream many years in the making. Myanmar’s old military rulers have long sought legitimacy and international rehabilitation.

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Brian Pellot, the director of global strategy at the Religion News Service, published his take on the use of the word “Rohingya” in the Washington Post on December 4. For once he didn’t focus on the tensions between the Myanmar government and the UN, but on the unsavoury role of National League for Democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in the public debate over the situation in Rakhine State.

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The recent talk that Myanmar’s reforms are lurching towards failure misses the point. After so many decades of military dictatorship we need a reality check about the comparisons that Myanmar deserves, especially at this delicate moment in an historic process of political change.