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Myanmar's New Era?

Discord, not devotion, will help Aung San Suu Kyi succeed

Myanmar's leader is burdened by deferential politics

| Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos

It is not surprising that at the end of the first year of the National League for Democracy government of Myanmar, led by State Counselor and party chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi, commentators have been quick to summarize the year negatively. After all, newspapers and blogs are more avidly read if they bring news of fresh disasters, not the mundane, nitty-gritty, of the hard slog of governing. However, in the case of Myanmar there are other causes for the several tales of woe that have emerged in recent days.

The first is that the NLD had no experience of governing before taking power five months after the 2015 elections. Moreover, the NLD is not a political party of the kind we normally think of. It had no articulate and developed set of policy alternatives and no carefully conceived strategies of implementation, nor did it have an ideological drive to give it momentum to govern. Rather, after being suppressed for two decades, it emerged as a disjointed organization with only one goal -- replacing the military government. This it has only partially achieved, thanks to the artful way the army structured the constitution to ensure that it maintained the ability to control the pace of political change.

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