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2011年5月 3日 (火)

ミャンマー 民政移管を民主化につなげよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 3, 2011)
New Myanmar govt must move toward democracy
ミャンマー 民政移管を民主化につなげよ(5月2日付・読売社説)

A new Myanmar government led by President Thein Sein was inaugurated early last month, ending 22 years of military rule.

The new president was elected through two months of parliamentary deliberations that followed national elections for both houses of the parliament in November. But the new administration is designed to give an outward show of "transfer to civilian rule" while leaving military rule in place.

Thein Sein served as prime minister of the military junta, and nearly 90 percent of the ministers in the new Cabinet were ministers or military leaders in the former administration.

A quarter of the 224 upper house seats and 440 lower house seats are set aside for military appointees. A constitutional revision is necessary to change this system, but revision requires approval by more than three-quarters of the parliamentary seats. This means the military in effect has veto power over the matter.

Than Shwe, supreme leader of the junta, has retired as commander-in-chief of the national armed forces but seems to receive a steady stream of internal military information. He probably intends to continue to exercise his influence over the military.


Ray of hope

Nevertheless, a faint ray of hope is in sight.

A quarter of members in both houses of the parliament belong to pro-democracy or ethnic minority parties. So, it may be said the foundation has been laid in the parliament to represent the voices of people who were ignored during the period of junta rule.

Popular pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was not allowed to run in the election but resumed her activities after being released from house arrest. If the new administration engages in dialogue with Suu Kyi, it will give rise to a move toward national reconciliation.

In his speech late last month, Thein Sein said his administration would promote national reconstruction by using Myanmar's natural resources to support the building of power stations and airports, but he made no reference whatsoever to reconciliation with opposition forces. This smacks of a betrayal of the promised transfer of power to civilian control.


ASEAN ambitions

The new government has put Myanmar forward as a candidate for the 2014 chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It is believed to be aiming at improving relations with neighboring countries by stressing its shift toward civilian government.

China and India are approaching Myanmar to obtain access to its rich natural gas supplies. China in particular has been actively conducting diplomacy with Myanmar as Jia Qinglin, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, visited the country in early April.

We urge the international community to take advantage of the inauguration of the new administration in Myanmar to encourage the nation's moves toward democracy.

The European Union has lifted travel restrictions and financial sanctions against members of Myanmar's Cabinet who are not deeply tied to the military. The EU seems to have judged that simply strengthening sanctions would not produce a favorable effect.

Japan has been continuing its policy of engagement limited to humanitarian aid and personnel exchange. It is now necessary for Tokyo to join hands with Southeast Asian nations in pushing Myanmar forward toward national reconciliation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 2, 2011)
(2011年5月2日01時14分  読売新聞)


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