Burma: What does it mean Aung San Suu Kyi is not a President?

Aung San Suu Kyi’s close aide Htin Kyaw was just elected to be President of Burma. What does that it wasn’t directly her who was elected says as about the process of transformation and transition of the country? Read few comments.

Marco BünteAssociate Professor of Politics and International Relations, Monash University

One the one hand, it is a sign that the whole system of government is in itself in transition. Normally, in a Presidential system presidents are elected directly by the people and not by parliaments. If parliament elections them, this gives parliaments quite a strong power unusual for presidential systems. Consequently, this mix is a strong sign of institutional inefficiencies that are usually to be found in transitioning states, where the rules of the game are not really clear.

A second point is that it is a directive of the military, a directive they did not want to let go even in the most recent transition talks. Consequently, it marks the compromise between the old military order, in which civilians did not have much to say.

Third, it seemed to have found a place into the constitution directly as a response to the popularity of Aung San Suu Kyi – this is why it is known as Aung San Suu Kyi clause. As such it is a remnant of a climate of antagonism and rivalry between military and civilian politicians that normally should be a relict of the past and does not reflect the more accommodating attitude of the new military leadership anymore. It will make governing for Suu Kyi far more difficult.


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