Opinion - The Irrawaddy

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 […]

Lucky Numbers in the Quest for Peace

Burmese generals’ edicts have often been intimately tied to numerology and astrology. Is the peace process similarly tied to superstitious numbers?

With Burma’s general election just two months away, there is one simple question on nearly everyone’s mind: Who will be the winner? But as with many questions in Burma, the answer is rarely as simple as one might hope. Given both parties’ strength and popularity among voters, at first glance the Nov. 8 general election […]

Burma’s ruling party is highly unlikely to win a majority in the upcoming election—provided it is free and fair. However, should their determination to rule outweigh commonsense, it may see no alternative but to engage in vote rigging. The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), formed by the previous military regime, won more than 75 […]

Post-Coup Ties Firm across the Burma-Thai Divide

With both countries’ armed forces politically ascendant, Burma-Thai relations appear—as officials on both sides are at pains to point out—better than ever.

It was a sunny afternoon on Bo Ba Htoo Road, located on the outskirts of Yangon. As soon as I hailed the old Toyota, I noticed the vehicle’s company logo—Parami Taxi, a subsidiary of a major business conglomerate run by the military. Parami taxis are an increasingly rare sighting on the streets of the commercial […]

While election campaigns get underway in Myanmar, government authorities are waging their own campaign to round up and silence activists and political opponents. The law is on their side. Myanmar’s legal code provides the necessary tools to harass, arrest and imprison those who threaten the status quo. Myanmar has a long history of undemocratic governance. […]

The sudden ouster of Shwe Mann from Burma’s ruling party reconfirmed that the military is not about to relinquish power, writes Bertil Lintner.

The sudden removal of one of Myanmar’s most powerful men sent shockwaves through the diplomatic community in the old capital of Yangon, where foreign embassies are still located. It seemed more like a midnight coup than an ordinary leadership reshuffle—security forces in the new capital, Naypyidaw, entered the headquarters of the de facto ruling party, […]

Thein Sein has played the game well, guiding a “reform” process that keeps the establishment powers on side. Will this count in his favor post-November?

Like it or not, Burma’s incumbent President Thein Sein appears perfectly placed to make a run for the presidency in 2016. A key reason is that the 70-year-old former general has proven himself to be a wily political operator able to claim a central role in guiding a limited reform process that has not threatened […]

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 […]

As prospects for a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement loom large, the question of what will happen in the aftermath of an accord becomes ever more important.

Fukuyama’s Flawed Take on Burma

Contributing writer Jared Naimark challenges neoliberal recommendations made by political theorist Francis Fukuyama during a recent interview with The Irrawaddy.

Unity Falters as Ethnic Groups Mull Peace Prospects

Ethnic armed groups negotiating a nationwide ceasefire with Burma’s government since 2013 have largely presented a united front, but divisions are growing.

Burma has a national election coming up in a few months, and its outcome is uncertain. But one thing is already clear: Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the immensely popular leader of the democratic opposition, won’t be a candidate for president. That’s because the country’s military-dominated political establishment has refused […]

Is Burma’s Opposition Ready for the Post-Suu Kyi Era?

National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has soured relations with the 88 Generation, ethnic political parties and civil society groups.

As the political fallout from last week’s internal purge of Burma’s ruling party continues to be calculated, all eyes will be fixed on Shwe Mann when Parliament resumes on Tuesday for its final session before the country’s much anticipated nationwide election in November. Will the ousted party chairman, who remains speaker of Burma’s Union Parliament, […]

Shadows of the Past in Shwe Mann’s Sudden Fall from Grace

The infamous political purges of Burma’s junta-era were recalled on Wednesday night, as parliamentary speaker Shwe Mann was purged from the ruling party.

In Burma, a House Divided Against Itself

The opposition National League for Democracy’s handling of candidate selections for Burma’s upcoming general election risks fracturing the country’s democracy movement.