Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: Show of democracy

Filed on November 10, 2020
State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi

(360b / Alamy Stock Photo)

There’s hardly any opposition to Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, a country that went to polls on Sunday for the second time since the end of the military rule in 2011. A smooth electoral process was more of an exercise in consolidating democracy that was stripped away in 1969 than a formal challenge to the government and its ways of governance. Suu Kyi is revered by most of Myanmar’s Bamar Buddhist majority, and the results should reflect the same, giving her another term of five years. But to think that Myanmar is well on its way to practising social equality among all its citizens, which is the founding principle of a democracy, would be a mistake.

The country is divided and plagued with wide-spread anti-Rohingya sentiment. The community has been targeted as foreigners despite a part of the soil for generations. Most of them have been ostracised for the language they speak and the way they live. Suu Kyi, who was awarded Nobel Prize for Peace in 2011, has not done anything to build social cohesion or find ways for Myanmar to be inclusive of ethnic minorities, which is the only way to end the continued subjugation of the minorities. Suu Kyi’s civilian government is likely to win this election again, but to say that democracy has found a firm footing in the country is a far cry from the ground reality. Besides, there is no apparent succession plan after Suu Kyi, who turns 75 as she enters the second term. Her leadership will serve the majority well, but it would hardly make any change to the minorities who will continue to live under the shadows of fear and uncertainty.

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