26 July 2015
In addition, today’s Burmese generals and ex-generals have been ably assisted on public relations matters by a small but highly
educated group of Burmese advisers, as well as international friends including the regime-friendly diplomats, politicians, academics
and policy lobbyists. As a consequence, the generals have learned to parrot pro-democracy liberal spins while pursuing the same old
illiberal agenda dictated by the typical anti-democratic mindset instilled through military academies and decades of working in the
country’s militaristic, authoritarian political culture.
Upon closer look, in spite of being touted as “historic” in Western media, world’s capitals and investors’ circles, Myanmar’s
upcoming elections lack any democratic substance.
One only needs a cursory glance at how political power is divided – or not divided – among the country’s stakeholders: non-Myanmar
or non-Burman ethnic communities such as the Kachin, the Karen, the Shan, the Mon, the Rakhine [Arakanese], the Karenni, the Chin,
etc. who make up roughly 30-40 percent of the total population of 51 million; and the pro-democracy Myanmar civilian communities.
However, structurally speaking, the two most important issues that expose the most anti-democratic pillars of Myanmar’s “democratic
system” hark back to the British colonial era political system that was deemed necessary to reform even as early as 1918: the
concentration of political and administrative power in the central government vis-à-vis the non-ethnic Myanmar “peripheries”, for
lack of a better term, and the constitutionally guaranteed absence of democratic accountability for those in the Executive branch,
made up almost exclusively of Myanmar generals and ex-generals.