Myanmar's Shaky Transition

A Treacherous Path to Democracy

Soldiers march during a parade to mark Armed Forces Day in Myanmar's capital Naypyitaw, March 2016.   Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters

Since November, when the National League for Democracy won a landslide victory in the first elections to take place in Myanmar (also called Burma) for 25 years, the contours of the new regime have begun to take shape. Earlier this month, Htin Kyaw, the candidate nominated by the NLD, was elected president, affirming civilian rule in Myanmar. 

Yet despite the progress, serious challenges remain that could derail Myanmar’s democratic transition. Corruption is widespread, ethnic violence remains entrenched, economic reform is sorely needed, and, crucially, the military, or Tatmadaw, is still the most powerful political force in the country.

The 2008 constitution, written by the military junta, includes four provisions that limit the NLD’s power. First, it assigns the Tatmadaw 25 percent of all seats in both houses of the legislature. Second, it requires a majority of more than 75 percent to approve any constitutional amendment. Third, it prohibits anyone with a foreign

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