Myanmar explores political transition in own way

By Liu Zhun Source:Global Times Published: 2015-11-9 0:28:01

Myanmar's first open election, after the nation's 25 years of transformation, took place Sunday. This historic event has garnered global attention, with the result sure to bring more changes to the country. Since 25 percent of the 664 seats are reserved for military representatives, the popular National League for Democracy (NLD) party will have to reap 67 percent of all contested seats before it can gain a majority, or the ruling military-backed Union Solidarity Development Party will most likely prevail.

Reports from Myanmar generally say the voting unfolded smoothly, while over 6,000 candidates are running for parliament. The incumbent Myanmese President U Thein Sein, a realist with a military background who made a significant contribution to the democratic transition, said he would respect and accept the result.

Since Myanmar embarked on its transition from military rule to democracy, there have been ups and downs. Myanmar's transformation is also being closely scrutinized by the West, which is habitually eager to set up Myanmar as a role model for the vitality and "universality" of Western democracy.

Myanmar's transition to democracy has also triggered geopolitical debates, such as whether a democratic Myanmar will make an abrupt turn and give a cold shoulder to its northern neighbor China.

Myanmar's democratic transition is causing profound changes, including its foreign policy, which is open to more domestic public opinion. But as external parties, we should keep in mind that the Myanmar government, be it military-led or democratically-elected, is resorting to pragmatism while dealing with both domestic and foreign affairs.

Some Western countries once placed hopes on Aung San Suu Kyi to display a more critical attitude toward China if she gains power, but Suu Kyi used a successful visit to China this June to demonstrate that an amicable relationship with China is in Myanmar's best interest.

No matter which party Myanmese people choose to lead the country, Myanmar is exploring its own way in political transition. It has neither adopted a typical Western democracy, nor has it secluded itself from progress.

The country faces the long-standing conflict between the conservatives and liberals, a bitter feud among different religious and ethnic groups, and the fact that some powers are trying to wield leverage in its domestic affairs.

Myanmar is readjusting its own pace, and the ups and downs are only a reflection of engagement of democracy with its society.

Posted in: Observer

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