Myanmar's way to democracy and the limits of the 2015 elections

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The general election held on 8 November 2015 marked a significant turning point in Myanmar’s ongoing regime transition. Under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy (NLD) overwhelmingly dominated the polls. Although the huge electoral mandate for the NLD suggests that further political liberalization in Myanmar is likely, the country is not yet undergoing a genuine democratization. Under the current constitutional framework, the military will remain a key actor within the government, thus a new power-sharing arrangement between the NLD and the military is inevitable. This article examines how Myanmar has transformed from a military regime into the military’s version of a ‘disciplined democracy’ and argues that the 2015 general election was not a precursor to a democratic government per se, but rather a re-affirmation of the military’s version of democracy, in which popularly elected civilian political parties are allowed to co-govern the country with the military.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-44
Number of pages20
JournalAsian Journal of Political Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Myanmar
  • military regime
  • regime change
  • electoral authoritarianism
  • disciplined democracy
  • elections


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