The Rise of a Next Generation Political Party in Myanmar
Myanmar (Burma) is a nation in the Southeast Asian region. Gained its independence in 1948 from British Rule. From 1962-2011 it was ruled by an oppressive military junta in the form of a single-party socialist system. In 1988, there was an event known as the 8888 Uprisings led by the people of Myanmar (Burma) in the form of protest, riots, and marches which led to the formation of the National League for Democracy (NLD). During this time, Aung San Suu Kyi became the Secretary General of the newly formed party. In 1990, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won 81% of the seats in parliament but the military refused to hand over control resulting in international outcry. Aung San Suu Kyi was placed on house arrest prior to the elections and remained in house arrest for 15 of 21 years from 1989-2010, becoming one the world’s most prominent political prisoners.
2010, the NLD led by Aung San Suu Kyi boycotted the elections and resulted in a major victory by the Union Solidarity and Development Party. In 2012, Aung Suu Kyi became a Pyithu Hluttaw MP, while her party won 43 of the 45 vacant seats. In the 2015, the NLD Party won by a landslide victory of 86% of the Assembly of the Union making it a super majority needed to elected its preferred candidates for President and Vice President in the Presidential Electoral College. The constitution of Myanmar prohibits anyone who has a spouse or children of foreign citizenship from becoming President, therefore Aung Suu Kyi assumed a newly created role as State Counselor, a role akin to a Prime Minister or head of government.
As we can see, the people of Myanmar (Burma) have faced an uphill struggle until today. There is still a lot of to be done within this new political transition. The current constitution formed in 2008 favors the military government despite the recent transition into a Democratic government. Is the new transition really the in favor of the people of Myanmar? Is the the military government ready to fully surrender to the new government? Does the new leadership represent the goodwill of its citizens?These are the questions many could ask themselves.
Time and time again the people have seen the aggression of the military junta response in marches and protests made by the people. A perfect example was the protest made by the monks showing their support for Aung San Suu Kyi which lasted 6 days, the largest protest in two decades which ended in a bloodshed. It was an event which grabbed the attention of global media alongside close aid from the United States and Secretary of State Condolezza Rice at the time during the arrival at the United Nations. She stated “The Burmese people deserve better,” she said. “They deserve a life to be able to live in freedom, just as everyone does. And the brutality of this regime is well known, and so we will be speaking about that and i think the president will be speaking about it with many of his colleagues.”
Today, the Burmese community of 53.8 million citizens in Myanmar alongside with the rest of the Burmese communities around the world which make up another 35.3 million mostly within its neighbors in Southeast Asia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are in unity and want political and social reform. The Burmese youth are active in all communities and strive for a new hope, an opportunity to have their voices heard as one. Many of the Burmese youth are involved within Non Governmental Organizations such as ASEAN, United Nations, and other youth initiatives. Many also play a role as activists around the world looking to bring attention to the issues facing the country of Myanmar and its citizens. A well known political organization is 88 generation students born from the 8888 uprisings as pro-democracy movement against the military junta, with many of its members imprisoned for illegal organization and illegal usage of electronic-media.
The constitution allows the freedom of peaceful demonstrations as well as freedom of speech. However, the military government has not kept its promise of a just system and therefore the continuous efforts to maintain their control through imprisonment of these young political activists. This once again has captured the attention of the world. Despite the constant efforts and pressure from NGO’s, United Nations, and Burmese communities everywhere, the situation remains the same.
Source (Myanmar News VOA)
At a time when there is need for Burmese communities to get organized as one and have a real voice in the political process in the issues of their country, there is a hope. The creation of a new political party for the next generation that includes every generation in Myanmar as well the Burmese communities around the world to be part of the political process could be a solution in the right direction.
Currently there over 50 different political parties with even more underrepresented in the political landscape. The creation of so many parties is confusing and could seem tedious to comprehend. One thing is for sure, so many ineffective parties means there is a serious need to address a lot of issues in Myanmar and the current party and leadership has a responsibility to address these issues and work with its people to create solutions, many of which should have been addressed before through means of collaboration.
One thing is still needed to move forward in the right direction and that is the involvement of the youth in the political process. The youth is the future and represents the next generation. Therefore, there is a need to involve the youth in the process not just by voting for that is their birthright as a citizen of Myanmar, but also the opportunity to allow youth to form part of the government in elected positions.
Without the involvement of the youth, the current leadership cannot be effective. For the future of Myanmar lies in the hands of the youth. For what purpose does the wisdom and experience of the elder generation have if it is not used to empower the next generation in order to lead Myanmar into the future.