An Independent Survey of Events in Myanmar
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is among leading opposition politicians who have decided against attending the grand signing ceremony of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement on October 15. A spokesperson for the National League for Democracy said the party leader had a prior election campaign appointment in Rakhine State on that day.
People close to preparations for the event said that the Nobel Peace Prize winner had earlier indicated her readiness to be present. They said her absence may have been driven by a desire not to take part in an event that could be used to burnish the electoral credentials of President U Thein Sein and his ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party.
It is not yet clear how many other ethnic and party leaders will attend the ceremony in Nay Pyi Taw, which the Myanmar Peace Center says will bring together more than 850 people. A minority of ethnic groups will sign the “nationwide” accord following nearly two years of talks that ended up dividing the armed ethnic organisations. The NLD and other political parties were not part of the ceasefire process.
The eight ethnic armed groups expected to sign the accord include the Karen National Union, the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army, the Chin National Front, the Arakan Liberation Party, the Pa-O National Liberation Organisation, the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council, the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army and the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front.
- The time for waiting is over in Myanmar: Aung Naing Oo - Nikkei Asian Review
- No turning back after Myanmar ceasefire deal: Nirmal Ghosh - Straits Times
A clause in the 2008 Constitution, drafted when the country was under military rule, prevents Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi from taking the top job because her husband, who died in 1999, was a British citizen, and she has two children who are British citizens. “I’ve made it quite clear that if the N.L.D. wins the elections and we form a government, I’m going to be the leader of that government whether or not I’m the president,” she told the Indian television channel India Today TV.
- Renaud Egreteau: Could Aung San Suu Kyi be Myanmar's next House Speaker? The Diplomat
- NLD leadership ambitions trigger deabte - The Myanmar Times
- Shawn Crispin: Could Myanmar's elections devolve into disorder? The Diplomat
- Secret survey shows Suu Kyi poised to annihilate generals - The Times
Archival and Historical
Researchers may wish to know that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has now released files for 1982 relating to Burma/Myanmar. These include File FCO 15/3177 “Burmese Citizenship Law 1982” which includes diplomatic reporting on the significance of the Act, from both British and Australian sources.
While the Act is described by First Secretary Roger Leeland as “blatantly discriminatory on racial grounds”, he observes that “it would be possible to argue that the new Law is a generous and far-sighted instrument to resolve over a period of years an awkward legacy of the colonial era”. Second Secretary Roland Rich at the Australian Embassy comments that “…..the discretion given to the executive branch of government, unchecked by even the possibility of judicial review, means that judgement must be reserved until there has been an opportunity to assess the spirit in which the Law will be implemented.”
Derek Tonkin writes: These reports merit close reading because they support the conclusion today that it is not so much the letter of the Act as the subsequent bureaucratic obstruction which has led to the very serious difficulties over citizenship which Arakan Muslims in Rakhine State face today.
- Text of Burma Citizenship Law dated 15 October 1982
- Speech on citizenship law by General Ne Win on 8 October 1982
- Letter to the FCO from the British Ambassador commenting on the draft law - 12 May 1982
- Text of draft citizenship law: Public Consultation document - 'The Guardian' 21 April 1982
The extent to which Chittagonian migrants into Arakan have usurped
The guardians of this system have shown a remarkable capacity for advanced planning, strategy and patience. They have also shown flexibility; an ability to change course if one or another strategies are failing.
Burma’s opposition parties themselves need to develop better long-term strategies and stamp their own vision on an improved system of governance and society. Governance through force and cooption cannot last forever.