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Andrew Selth: The Lady and authoritarianism in Myanmar

A strong or simply authoritarian leader? National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi waves to supporters in Yangon during her election campaign in October 2015​. (Photo by Steve Tickner)

Over the past few years, there has been a significant shift in public perceptions of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. While still lauded by many as a champion of democracy, she is increasingly being accused of arrogance and inflexibility. Since the sweeping electoral victory of her National League for Democracy last November, some observers have even suggested that she could replace one authoritarian regime with another.

     Suu Kyi has always had her critics. She has been described as imperious, if not autocratic, and accused of refusing to listen to contrary advice. She has been uncomfortable with internal party debate. Disgruntled NLD members claim that she has denied others in the democracy movement opportunities to influence its membership and direction. They say she has resisted grooming a successor and blocked others with leadership ambitions.

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