The Opening in Burma: The Need for a Political Pact

Issue Date October 2012
Volume 23
Issue 4
Page Numbers 138-149
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Burma today is in the midst of what will likely be a drawn-out game of political transition. It is going from a highly authoritarian military regime to something else. It is by no means clear that this will be a transition to democracy—or that the long-ruling military intends genuine democracy to be the destination. If the 2015 elections are to produce a viable democracy rather than a repeat of the 1990 calamity or a deeply resented and unstable semiauthoritarian regime, Burma has a lot of political work to do in the next two years. The good news is that national elections are still three years away. The worrisome news is that the hardest political work of the transition—the negotiation of political pacts—has not yet begun.