News / Asia

Analysts See Burma Military 'Juggernaut' Heading to Elections in November

Analysts say Burma's recent military reorganization and political moves are aimed at ensuring the country's armed forces retain power after November 7 elections. Analysts say Burma's military is fashioning its power base along similar lines to Indonesia under former President Suharto in the 1960s.

Burma's latest military reorganization, involving more than 70 senior officers, is the second major move of members of the ruling military government this year.

On April 27, several senior officials including the prime minister, General Thein Sein, retired from the military and were expected to join the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party.

Defense analyst Carl Thayer, from the University of New South Wales, says the moves are part of a wider strategy by Burma's armed forces to consolidate power before the November 7 election.

"The second major military reshuffle has been taken up," he said. "They are going to join the Union Solidarity and Development Party and contest the elections, and that USDP has been merged with the Union Solidarity and Development Association of 27 million odd civil servants. So that a juggernaut has been created, and with the election restrictions also announced this month it will steam roll in and win the elections."

After the vote, a newly elected 440-member House of Representatives will have 110 military representatives along with 330 elected civilians. In the 224-seat House of Nationalities, 168 will be elected and 56 held by the armed forces.

More than 40 parties are participating in the election. But the leading opposition party, the National League for Democracy led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is boycotting the election to protest regulations that bar her and other key followers from participating.

Thayer believes military government leader General Than Shwe is likely to be appointed president after the elections.

Thayer also says Burma's military appears to be modeling Indonesia's 'New Order' under former president Suharto in the 1960s.

President Suharto ensured the military had a central role in the government and control of political and societal organizations. The new order also oversaw effective repression of opponents.

Analysts say Indonesia's 'new order' was eventually undermined by nepotism, corruption and collusion that led to a loss of support for Suharto.

A spokeswoman for the rights-group Alternative ASEAN Network, Debbie Stothardt, says human-rights groups and many countries in the international community have dismissed the election as a sham. Stothardt says the vote is aimed at giving the military domestic legitimacy.

"It is important to realize that the regime is not just seeking international legitimacy, it is increasingly obvious that this election is being organized for the regime to gain some domestic legitimacy," she said. "In their own minds they want to show that their military leaders have been elected to lead government."

Burma's military has long said it needs to dominate the political landscape due to separatist movements in the country. But several governments, including the United States, have imposed sanctions on Burma due to human-rights abuses and political repression.

Recently, the United States lent its support to a probe into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity by Burma's military in recent decades.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid