The Burmese military has been successful in maintaining its authoritarian rule in the past decades. In 2011, however, the junta shifted its power to civilian government despite the absence of severe political pressure from inside or outside. Since then, the new government has introduced many reforms that allow greater political liberty in Burma. This chapter locates the junta’s power shift as part of a wider process of the military consolidating political legitimacy. It argues that as the junta’s power consolidation reached its bottleneck in the 2000s, political reform was imperative as the pre-condition for international legitimacy and economic development. Yet, regarding aspects of the content of the new constitution, military-civilian power relationships, and ethnic minority-central government relations, it remains to be seen whether Burma will move toward actual democratization. For President Thein Sein, one of the big challenges will be satisfying the high expectations of the international community and domestic opposition parties while still being able to control the pace of reform and maintain power.
Sun, T. (2015), "Envisioning Burma: Legitimacy, Leadership, and Political Reform", Asian Leadership in Policy and Governance (Public Policy and Governance, Vol. 24), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 189-211. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2053-769720150000024008Download as .RIS
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