go to top
Supporters of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy protest in front of the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo Supporters of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy protest in front of the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, Feb. 3, 2021 (AP photo by Eugene Hoshiko).

The Death Knell of Myanmar’s Democracy?

Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

The military’s seizure of power in Myanmar this week unfolded in the squalid manner of coups everywhere. Senior politicians, including the country’s popular de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, were arrested along with civil society leaders in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 1, just before the newly elected parliament was set to convene its first session. Meanwhile, tanks and soldiers took up positions at key intersections of major population centers, including the capital, Naypyidaw. The nation, and the world, were left stunned.

A coup had been telegraphed and feared, yet deemed improbable by many close observers of Myanmar’s vexed transition to democracy, which has proceeded in fits and starts since the end of military rule in 2011. The ruling National League for Democracy, or NLD, scored an overwhelming victory in last November’s general election, taking more than 80 percent of the parliamentary seats that were up for grabs. Those results appeared to send a clear message to the country’s powerful armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw, that a trajectory of reform and democratic consolidation had sweeping social support. Instead, the generals cried foul with allegations of voter fraud. ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.