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Myanmar: The Changing Face of Authoritarianism


  • Marco Buente


Since coming to power in 1988, Myanmar’s military rulers have effectively resisted external demands to liberalize the country’s political system. In the wake of the “Safran Revolution” in 2007 and a storm of international protest, the military has written a new constitution and promised free multiparty elections for 2010. This article argues that the military is walking a thin line with the reform of the political system. While the “Safran Revolution” has clearly indicated that the military regime has lost its political legitimacy, the military is still pursuing its narrow reform agenda. The new constitution enshrines military rule in Myanmar. The parliamentary representation of the military in the legislature and the heavy involvement of the military in the economy are clear signs that the military will act as gatekeeper in the new “electoral authoritarian regime”.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Buente, 2008. "Myanmar: The Changing Face of Authoritarianism," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 27(2), pages 75-88.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:soaktu:v:27:y:2008:i:2:p:75-88

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