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Army Assures Smooth Handover of Power in Myanmar
Dec 12, 2015

Myanmar's President Thein Sein, whose Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) lost by a landslide to the National League for Democracy (NLD) of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, spoke with the leaders of more than 70 political parties to discuss the period before power is handed over early next year when the new Parliament is seated. He assured that he will abide by the law to ensure a smooth transition to a new government next year.

  • What happened in Myanmar during the Second World War?: Burma (now Myanmar) was a province of the British Indian empire and many of the policies of the government, tilted towards its colonial interest in India, were unpopular in the country. By the 1930s, Thakin Nu and Aung San emerged as the leaders of the nationalist move ment. The widespread student and peasant protests forced the British government to separate Burma from India in 1937. At the beginning of the Second World War, the British government tried to arrest Aung San, who escaped to China and j escaped to China and joined hand with the Japanese, forming the Burma Independence Army. By 1942, the Japanese occupied the country and both Aung San and Thakin Nu were given important positions in the government. A year later, when the Japanese sensed defeat, they declared Myanmar a sovereign state but ruled it with the help of their military. Aung San contacted Lord Mountbatten and offered his cooperation. In May 1945, the Japanese army was defeated and the country came under British control.

  • What caused instability during Myanmar's transition to independence?: After 1945, members of the pre-war government de manded that Aung San be tri ed as a traitor. But Aung San was popular and seen as the person who spearheaded ne gotiations for the country's independence. He was appointed the deputy chairman of the executive council of Burma, a transition government established by the British. In July 1947, political rivals assassinated Aung San and many other cabinet members. After its independence on January 4, 1948, Burma witnessed demo cratic rule for a brief period of four years when Sao Shwe Thaik became the president and Thakin Nu was appointed the country's first PM. But the economy was in disarray and internal strife had yet not ended.

  • The communists, some of Aung San's veterans and the people of the Karen ethnic group turned insurgents. In March 1962, Ne Win led a military coup and established a 'socialist' state by abolishing the 1947 constitution.

  • What was the '8888' uprising?: The Ne Win regime destroyed the Burmese economy and resulted in the country becoming one of the world's most impoverished regions. Around August 1988, a student protest in Yangon started spreading across the country and on August 8, 1988 (the date which gives the uprising its name) it was joined by people from almost all sections of Burmese society. Security forces cracked down brutally and general Saw Maung found it an apt opportunity to stage a coup. He established the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) and in 1989 declared martial law. Because of mounting public pressure, the Maung government held free elections in May 1990 in which the National league for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi (Aung San's daughter) emerged as a clear winner. Maung annulled the election and put Suu Kyi under house arrest. In April 1992, Maung resigned on health grounds and was replaced by Than Shwe.


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