Recent Burmese Progress Toward Democracy: How Permanent?
Since late 2011, Burma has embarked on a rapid and wide-ranging program of political and economic reforms. These have encompassed electoral reforms, the release of hundreds of political prisoners, increased labor and media freedoms, inclusive peace-talks with diverse ethnic groups, and changes to currency and foreign investment rules. The holding of by-elections recently in April 2012 further indicated solemn commitment from Burmese government to embrace its transition towards democracy.
Despite these highly positive developments, there seems to be little agreement on where Burma is ultimately headed.
On May 23, 2012, USINDO hosted an Open Forum with Peter Manikas, Senior Asia Expert from National Democratic Institute (NDI). Based on his recent trips to Burma in January and April this year, Mr. Manikas presented his assessment of the ongoing reform process as Burma moves forward to the national elections of 2015 and the role of the international community, including the United States and Indonesia, to help sustain the democratization.