Government peace broker: It’s liberalization, not transition

What has been taking place in the country since 2011 is liberalization rather than being a transition as many see it, according to government established Myanmar Peace Center (MPC)’s Dr Min Zaw Oo, who was speaking yesterday to the Shan- Kayah-Mon forum held in Taunggyi.

This is the second time he has commented on the current political space in Burma. The first time was at the Shan-Kayah Trustbuilding for Peace forum held in Lashio last March.

“As the change has been initiated by those in power, there are safeguards,” he had warned his audience calling for a re-write of the country’s constitution. “The complete change that everyone wants, understandably, is not in the design.”

Interpreting “liberalization” as opening of political doors, he agrees that the space has widened. “Still the structural change is very slow,” he said. “Thus if it is not handled properly, it can lead to confrontation. On the contrary, if it is handled properly, it may lead to a new culture and transition.”

“Whether or not there will be a military coup again which does not depend on what is written in the constitution,” he reminded his listeners. “A coup can be staged, even though it is not allowed by the constitution.”

He counsels improved civilian-military relations and cooperation for a transition to take place. “Free and fair elections,” he said. “They will, to a considerable extent, depends on relations and cooperation with the military.”

He urged that participants to make plans for as far as 2020.

The 3-day forum that ended yesterday came out with a 5 point call: Nationwide ceasefire, repeal of unlawful associations act and non-democratic laws, genuine federal union, a union conference based on Panglong spirit and the amendment/re-write of the 2008 constitution.

Col Saw Lwin, one of the leading organizers of the forum, told SHAN the next forum would not just be among the non-Burman ethnic forces but with the democratic forces. “I think the 3 forums held so far have proven that we all want peace and a federal democracy,” he said. “Now it’s time to discuss how we are going to bring them about.”


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