Burma’s non-military junta

Burmese leader Than Shwe, along with his second-, third-, and fourth-in-command, have resigned from the military ahead of upcoming elections. This is actually a tactic to make sure that members of the country’s military elite — whether in uniform or not — retain overwhelming control over the government:  Under the country’s new constitution, the newly ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images

Burmese leader Than Shwe, along with his second-, third-, and fourth-in-command, have resigned from the military ahead of upcoming elections. This is actually a tactic to make sure that members of the country's military elite -- whether in uniform or not -- retain overwhelming control over the government: 

Under the country's new constitution, the newly created 440-member House of Representatives will have 110 military representatives along with 330 elected civilians. If retiring generals run for parliament they would not be counted in the military's quota although they are likely to enhance the army's influence in parliament.

The constitution also apparently states that the presidency must be held by civilian, but only one who is "well acquainted with the affairs of the Union, such as … the military".

Burmese leader Than Shwe, along with his second-, third-, and fourth-in-command, have resigned from the military ahead of upcoming elections. This is actually a tactic to make sure that members of the country’s military elite — whether in uniform or not — retain overwhelming control over the government: 

Under the country’s new constitution, the newly created 440-member House of Representatives will have 110 military representatives along with 330 elected civilians. If retiring generals run for parliament they would not be counted in the military’s quota although they are likely to enhance the army’s influence in parliament.

The constitution also apparently states that the presidency must be held by civilian, but only one who is "well acquainted with the affairs of the Union, such as … the military".

Funny how that worked out. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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