Opinion - The Irrawaddy

As election day approaches, it is worth remembering what happened 25 years ago, the last time Burma had a free and fair poll—and by regional standards, that election was astonishingly free and fair. But the euphoria of May 27, 1990, when the National League for Democracy (NLD) scored a landslide victory, turned into dismay and […]

It remains to be seen whether the signing of a so-called nationwide ceasefire agreement this week can further a peace process still far from complete.

Through various campaign speeches in recent weeks, the leader of Burma’s main opposition party, Aung San Suu Kyi, has demonstrated that she is the only politician in the country that can engage a large majority of Burmese voters. Her ability to tap into the hopes and desires of the electorate is a strength that should […]

The Peace That We Envision

The international community may be able to help Burma achieve peace, but only if they can learn to listen to the voices of ethnic minorities.

RANGOON — With just 29 days to go before a Nov. 8 poll, Burma’s election fever is now in full pitch. Even on a short walk around downtown Rangoon, it’s clear which party is most popular. Miniature red flags bearing a fighting peacock and a white star—the insignia of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League […]

Posthumous Award Revives Memories of a Shan Prince

The late Sao Kya Seng, the last Shan prince of Hsipaw, is honored with a Distinguished Achievement Medal commending outstanding professional achievements.

The Karen National Union’s decision to sign a so-called nationwide ceasefire agreement is a bold step that has generated no small amount of controversy.

Government office building No. 37 in Naypyidaw was reportedly once at the center of plans for a Than Shwe-led council to oversee the country’s transition.

The durability of the Burmese military establishment can be explained in reference to several key bulwarks. In military parlance, these might be referred to as ‘defensive lines,’ employed to ensure the army’s preeminent position. The first key attribute of power is its monopoly of force, selectively applied both in actuality and through intimation. But even […]

Ringed by police and army checkpoints, Aung Mingalar in Sittwe is a stark ongoing reminder of the deadly communal violence that rocked Arakan State in 2012.

Asean members are still struggling to surrender any political sovereignty, the key to becoming the powerhouse regional community they say they want to be.

Remembering Saffron: Of Monks and Military Men

A look back at the legacy of the 2007 Saffron Uprising.

Burma’s Bond with Israel: From Meditation to Military Muscle

The close relationship between U Nu and Israel’s former PM David Ben-Gurion marked a high-point in Israel-Burma ties that have since been left to drift.

RANGOON — In considering what comes next after Burma’s looming general election, Aung San Suu Kyi may well look back to her party’s annulled first victory 25 years ago. It’s a political scar that the 70-year-old pro-democracy icon, along with much of the country, remains acutely aware. On September 8, the opening day of the […]

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 […]

Tie a blindfold around a man’s eyes, spin him around three times, hand him a dart and tell him to hit the bull’s-eye. This is the picture that comes to mind when one considers the ongoing effort by Union Election Commission (UEC) officials to correct the lists enumerating Burma’s eligible voters. What was presented as […]

With a general election less than two months away, a growing movement is afoot to push back against military appointments to a variety of government ministries and departments. Activists say they fear an acceleration of these appointments in the lead up to the Nov. 8 vote, as a means of entrenching the military’s presence in […]

It has became a deceptive routine to describe Thein Sein as a well-intentioned and bold reformer who has made peace and development his priorities; he released political prisoners, kicked off a reform agenda, initiated dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and lifted a ban on the opposition. After the removal of Shwe Man from the […]

The hard fact is that Burma’s military is not going to retreat from the nation’s political sphere anytime soon. The top generals have learned hard lessons from their regional neighbors, especially Thailand and Indonesia, about how to keep their guard. We know this simply by watching the movements of Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing. The powerful […]

In this article from The Irrawaddy’s archives, first published in September 2013, Irrawaddy editor Kyaw Zwa Moe asks whether the National League for Democracy still enjoys the overwhelming public support demonstrated in the 1990 election. Is the NLD still the people’s party? On this question, opinion in Burma varies, but the doubters are likely a […]