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Showing posts from November, 2013

Myanmar’s Constitutional Transition is the Military’s Call

Myanmar’s democracy icon and member of parliament Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is currently visiting Australia. This historic trip is just one reflection of the broader political and legal changes currently taking place in Myanmar. Since 2011 – under the framework of the 2008 Constitution – Myanmar has begun a transition to a quasi-civilian government. One result of its opening is that it has become the new “law and development” frontier of Asia. Many international agencies, NGOs and embassies have increased their presence and activities in Myanmar, including Australia. Even so, there is a lingering sense of uncertainty that stems from the Constitution, which could allow for the military to take over at any time. Such political fragility has affected Australia’s engagement with Myanmar in the past. For example, a human rights training workshop funded by Australia was cut short in 2003 because of deteriorating political conditions under military rule, which followed an attempted att

Myanmar’s State/Region Governments

One positive development given the political changes in Myanmar since 2011 is that empirical research is now possible to a much greater extent than in the past. One recent example of this is an empirical study on state and region governments conducted by a team of researchers from MDRI-CESD in partnership with the Asia Foundation. The report, entitled State and Region Governments in Myanmar , addresses a previously unknown topic in terms of how local governance and administration works, and how, if at all, this has changed in the post-2011 era.   The report is based on research conducted in four of the seven states and two of the seven regions, namely Karen, Mon, Shan and Chin State, and Tanintharyi and Ayeyarwady Region. The research included interviews with over 70 officials in these areas. The report is rich in details and thorough in scope. Here is a snapshot of a few key points that the report makes: The Composition of State and Region Governments First, the report emph