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Myanmar’s Elections 2015: Forward to Democracy or Back to Militocracy?

On Monday 19th October a panel event will be hosted at UNSW. The details are below:

About the event:
On 8 November 2015, elections for the national parliament and regional parliaments will be held in Myanmar. While significant reform has taken place since 2011, the military still retains 25 percent of all seats in parliament. In recent months several developments have been a serious cause of concern, including restrictions on who can vote and run for election. This recently prompted nine foreign embassies, including the Australian embassy, to issue a strong warning to the Myanmar government that the elections must be free and fair, and that religion must not be misused for political gain. This is a critical juncture in Myanmar’s political history, and Australia’s future engagement with Myanmar will in part depend on the outcome of the elections.

This panel event will shed light on political, economic and legal developments leading up to, and potentially affected by, the national elections. Dr Nicholas Farrelly will consider the political line-up for the elections and the potential challenges and opportunities for political parties and candidates. Associate Professor Sean Turnell will discuss the economic implications of the elections. Dr Melissa Crouch will explain what law and religion has to do with the elections, and why religion has become a central issue.

This event is supported by the Australia Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project directed by Professor Martin Krygier and Professor Theunis Roux of UNSW. It is also part of the Asia-Pacific Law and Policy Forum at UNSW Law. 

Associate Professor Sean Turnell, Macquarie University
Dr Nicholas Farrelly, Director of the Myanmar Research Centre, ANU
Dr Melissa Crouch, Law Faculty, UNSW

Date:  Monday 19 October 2015
Venue: Boardroom, level 2, Law Building
University of New South Wales, Kensington Campus, Sydney

Time: 4:00-5:30pm
Please RSVP to:

For the podcast from this event please see here

Bio of speakers

Associate Professor Sean Turnell, is based at the Economics Faculty at Macquarie University in Sydney. Sean is widely regarded as the leading expert on Myanmar’s economy. Sean has been an advisor and consultant to a number of government departments, multilateral agencies, and INGOs. He is the author of Fiery Dragons: Banks, Moneylenders and Microfinance in Burma (2009), author of numerous articles and book chapters, and a regular commentator on the economy of Myanmar.

Dr Nicholas Farrelly is Director of the Myanmar Research Centre at the Australian National University. After his undergraduate degree in Southeast Asian Studies at the ANU, Nicholas completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar. In 2006, while still a graduate student, he co-founded New Mandala, which has become a prominent academic website offering analysis of social and political issues in Myanmar and neighbouring countries. Alongside his long-standing interest in understanding ethnic conflict, Nicholas is currently completing a major project based on extensive field research in Naypyitaw. He also writes a weekly newspaper column for The Myanmar Times and is a partner at Glenloch Advisory.

Dr Melissa Crouch is a Lecturer at the Law Faculty, the University of New South Wales. Her research focuses on the legal systems of Southeast Asia, and she teaches in the areas of constitutional and administrative law, comparative law and Islamic law. She is the author of Law and Religion in Indonesia: Conflict and the Courts in West Java (Routledge, 2013), the co-editor (with Tim Lindsey) of Law, Society and Transition in Myanmar (2014, Hart Publishing); and editor of Islam and the State in Myanmar (forthcoming 2015, Oxford University Press).

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