Editorial - The Irrawaddy

In spite of not unwarranted fears over the conduct of Burma’s general election on Nov. 8, a peaceful, credible vote has given rise to new optimism. Millions of Burmese cast ballots, free of intimidation and fear, with the country’s main opposition party claiming a resounding parliamentary majority and the right to form a government in […]


RANGOON — Few trusted Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC) Chairman Tin Aye when he first took up the role in 2011. As a former general, a former ruling party lawmaker and a close associate of President Thein Sein, many Burmese took it for granted that Tin Aye would be far from impartial in carrying out […]

To the extent that it is still possible, it is imperative that Burma’s Sunday general election must be free and fair in every respect. In less than 24 hours, more than 30 million voters across the country will cast votes that, they hope, will help bring change to their lives and to the country after […]

As the election draws closer, it is telling that the country’s powerful military chief looms larger over the campaign than the president. The front page splashes of Thein Sein in state-run newspapers, cordially greeting diplomats and touring villages, would not appear out of place at any point in the last five years. A slick campaign […]

Today, The Irrawaddy launches its 2015 election website, with its Burmese companion to also go live in the coming weeks. We’re calling it Burma Votes 2015, and we hope you take that to heart. Not because this election represents everything democracy advocates want it to be; not because your ballot will be the silver bullet […]

Please, General, Keep Your Promise

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has promised the military will abide by the results of the election. The nation can’t afford otherwise.

Following months of equivocation, the National League for Democracy (NLD) has firmly ruled itself in for the November election. After struggling to survive decades of political repression, the unlawful detention of its leaders and the extrajudicial killing of its members, the party can reasonably expect the year’s end to mark their finest hour—should the poll […]

It’s Time for the NLD to Reciprocate the Public’s Faith

Whatever slender hopes Aung San Suu Kyi had of maneuvering her way into the presidency are dashed. What now?

Submarines on the Shopping List

The top brass has shown a particular interest in improving the country’s moribund naval fleet.

The Students Too Deserve an Olive Branch

With this week’s historic peace deal, another gesture toward national reconciliation is in order: the immediate release of students in Burma jailed for peacefully protesting.

Where is the Red Cross?

There has been no indication that the International Red Cross is using its influence to request access to political prisoners from the Letpadan student protests.

The More Things Change…

After violent crackdowns on student protests in Burma, many are no doubt wondering whether the country’s much vaunted political reforms are back to square one.

More Questions than Answers in Kokang Dilemma

After more than two weeks of intense fighting between Kokang rebels and the Burma Army around Laukkai, a number of questions remain unanswered.

Time to Stamp out Hate-Speech

After yet more hate-filled invective from controversial Buddhist monk Wirathu, the government should show it is serious about tackling all forms of incitement to hatred.

Keeping Burma’s ‘Reformers’ Honest in 2015

To many Burmese who had looked to 2014 with cautious optimism, the year has hardly been inspiring, leading to the question: Where are we heading?

The Shape of Things to Come

Hope deferred may be the legacy of 2014, but desire for a just society in Burma will not be diminished by this year’s unfulfilled promises.

A harsh sentence handed down to journalists for reporting on an alleged chemical weapons factory serves as a reminder that Burma is still an “enemy of the press.”

After three years of war, fighting continues and recently distrust between the sides deepened. Both sides should build up trust and resume negotiations in earnest.

President Thein Sein has not shown any indication that he is serious about amendments, but the clock is ticking and we’re tired of waiting.

Burma’s government has created more space for journalists to do their work, but its mindset remains as narrow as ever.

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