ICG on Myanmar elections

July 13, 2010, 3:17 p.m.

The junta in Myanmar has yet to announce a date for elections, set to take place later this year. Some academics and policy makers have criticized Myanmar's elections process as closed and counter-productive to democracy efforts. What are the major ideological issues surrounding the election? What can the international community expect from these elections which will be the first in the country in 20 years? A report by the International Crisis Group analyzes the elections and election process, the Myanmar legislation behind it and issues that could arise. From ICG:

"There has rightly been much international criticism of the new constitution and of the fact that the elections will not be inclusive, but the political and generational shift that they will bring about may represent the best opportunity in a generation to influence the future direction of the country ... It seems very likely that the vote will go ahead without any moves by the regime to address concerns. At the same time, the problematic nature of the process should not lead observers to underestimate its significance. The elections and the constitution they will bring into force will define the political landscape for years to come and will influence what opportunities there are to push for long-overdue social, economic and political reforms in Myanmar. An understanding of the political dynamics they will create is, therefore, vital."

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