Thursday, August 27, 2015

Myanmar 'will proceed with reform road map'

THE NATION, Myanmar Eleven August 24, 2015

RECENT political developments in Myanmar may have sparked doubts over the country's outlook among analysts, but not with the Thai ambassador, who believes that the promised "free and fair election" and the hoped-for signing of a nationwide ceasefire agreement with armed ethnic groups are the strongest evidence that the nation will proceed with its reform road map.

Ambassador Pisanu Suvanajata is convinced that the general election will take place on November 8 as planned, and that the situation in the country in the next few months will be positive for Thailand.

"One hundred per cent of the diplomats in Myanmar are certain that the election will be held on that day. This is a historic moment that captures the interest of the entire nation and the international community. Expectations are so high that the parties that help make it possible will win praise," he said at a seminar held last week by the Thai Business Association of Myanmar to woo more investment from Thailand.

Some critics have said the dismissal of Thura Shwe Mann as the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party's (USDP) chairman two weeks ago could lead to unexpected events, including postponement of the election date.

Having been posted in the country for four years, Pisanu maintains an optimistic view that regardless of political developments, Myanmar will proceed with political and economic reforms.

"No Myanmar leader has said it will be the most democratic election [as claimed by some international analysts], but they have given an assurance that it will be the most free and fair election," he said.

Pisanu shares the view of analysts that the National League for Democracy (NLD) will win a landslide victory in the election.

Analysts, however, are keeping their fingers crossed on the NLD's political influence. The reshuffle at the USDP has convinced many that the ruling party is set to maintain its power, with help from the military, which is guaranteed 25 per cent of the seats in parliament.

The USDP announced on August 12 that 50 government officials and 59 military officers, including several generals, would represent the party in the election.