Myanmar, November 29, 2015
Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) has secured some 80% of elected seats in Myanmar’s next national parliament. The party, dominated by veterans of a long struggle against military rule, will next year find itself a party of government.
The military looks set to cede significant power for the first time since 1962, but it will retain control over ministries concerned with national security, borders and policing. The NLD should have ample opportunity to exercise power over the economic sphere, however, leading to hopes that the economic recovery that began under the previous administration will move into a higher gear.
Maung Thant, 63, runs a small factory producing spare parts for larger manufacturers in an industrial zone outside the former royal capital, Mandalay. Voicing the hopes of many Burmese in the aftermath of the election, he said he believed Suu Kyi would bring about a transformation of fortunes for the country, where many live in poverty despite an abundance of resources. “We’ve been left behind in terms of technology compared to the rest of the world. We can’t compete with cheap goods from China, so we can’t export,” he notes.
Development aid, already pouring into Myanmar since the previous government started a process of economic and political reforms, could increase to a government led by a woman who became a global cause célèbre during years of house arrest under the former junta.
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