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2015年11月13日 (金)

ミャンマー選挙 経済発展路線の継承が課題だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
After election, keep Myanmar’s economic development on track
ミャンマー選挙 経済発展路線の継承が課題だ

It is important that the economic development course put in motion by the administration of Myanmar President Thein Sein be inherited, and that nation-building efforts there are steadily kept on track.

A general election has been held in Myanmar for the first time since the transition from military rule to democratic government in 2011.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spearheaded the prodemocracy movement in Myanmar, is likely to win more than two-thirds of the seats up for election and not reserved for military representatives. The NLD, which is the largest opposition party, is forecast to secure a majority in the parliament.

The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which was formed by the old military junta, has admitted defeat. The parliament will choose the president in February 2016, and the possibility of a change in administration has increased.

Thein Sein’s administration snapped Myanmar’s excessive dependence on China and achieved high economic growth by improving the investment environment, which has pulled in more capital from overseas.

Despite these achievements, the USDP’s heavy defeat appears to be the result of demands for greater reform from the people who still distrust the military.

In 1990, the military government did not accept the result of a general election in which the NLD recorded a comprehensive victory, and refused to hand over power. The NLD boycotted the 2010 general election in opposition to rules put in place by the military government.

The latest election was conducted without any major disturbances, although there were flaws in the process including some people being unable to register on voter lists. Overall, the election can be applauded as a sign of progress in Myanmar’s democratization.

Suu Kyi’s odd comment

Myanmar’s Constitution contains a clause that prohibits anyone whose spouse or children are foreign citizens from becoming president. Consequently, Suu Kyi, whose sons are British, is disqualified from this position.

It is difficult to understand that, before the election, Suu Kyi said she would take a position “above the president” if the NLD triumphed. Does Suu Kyi intend to set up a puppet government even while she herself has been calling for greater democratization?

During the election campaign, there was no mention of her design for the administration, and no concrete policies have been revealed. Her political skills are questioned.

A pile of difficult issues need to be addressed. Achieving peace with armed groups among Myanmar’s ethnic minorities will not be easy. National reconciliation, including reducing religious conflict, is an urgent task.

The NLD lacks human resources capable of running a government. Even if a change in power does occur, the NLD will sooner or later become unable to keep going without the cooperation of the military and the USDP.

Myanmar has high strategic value due to its vital location linking the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. Japan, the United States and other nations with interests in this region must strengthen ties with Myanmar to keep a check on China, whose unilateral maritime advances are heightening tensions in this area.

Japan welcomed the course taken by the administration of Thein Sein and actively supported it through a two-pronged policy of official development assistance and private investment. Political stability in Myanmar is essential for Japanese companies that have entered markets there. The public and private sectors should work closely together and continue to push for reform in Myanmar.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 12, 2015)


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