Myanmar elections: timeline of a troubled nation
YANGON – After decades of military control, Myanmar enters a new era on Monday when a parliament led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s victorious National League for Democracy (NLD) party takes office.
Newly-elected members of parliament from the National League of Democracy participate in a study-visit to the parliament at Naypyidaw on Today
Here is a timeline of a nation that went from a colony to a military dictatorship, but is now beginning to see a democratic future on the horizon.
— 1885 —
Centuries of rule by a Buddhist monarchy ends with the defeat and exile of Burma’s last king by the British. A lengthy period of Western colonialism begins and Burma (as it was then known) becomes a province of British India.
— 1941-1945 —
Japan occupies Burma during World War II. Nationalist hero Aung San fights with the Japanese, but swaps sides in the war’s closing stages in the hope of achieving independence.
His daughter Aung San Suu Kyi, who would go on to lead the pro-democracy movement, is born in 1945.
— 1948 —
Burma attains full independence from the British on January 4, a dream Aung San never lived to see following his assassination months earlier.
— 1962 —
After years of factional infighting, General Ne Win seizes power in a coup, turning the country from a multi-party federal union into an authoritarian one-party state ordered to follow his “Burmese Path to Socialism”.
— 1988 —
Years of disastrous economic mismanagement and political repression see Burma erupt in protest. The military responds brutally, killing an estimated 3,000 people. Suu Kyi emerges as a key opposition leader.
— 1989 —
Junta changes the country’s name to Myanmar.
— 1990 –
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) wins a landslide victory in elections but the result is ignored by the military who launch a new crackdown. Suu Kyi is placed under house arrest for much of the next 20 years. Many other opposition leaders are jailed or flee.
— 1991 —
Suu Kyi wins the Nobel Peace Prize while under house arrest.
— 1992 —
Than Shwe becomes the new junta chief.
— 2005 —
A new isolated city Naypyidaw (“Abode of Kings”) is revealed as the country’s capital after being built in secret by the paranoid junta.
— 2007 —
Major protests dubbed the “Saffron revolution” break out over the summer, partially led by Buddhist monks. The junta eventually responds once more with violence, killing scores of protesters.
— 2008 —
Vast swathes of the Irrawaddy Delta are devastated by Cyclone Nargis, which leaves some 138,000 people dead. The junta’s lacklustre response draws widespread criticism.
— 2010 —
The junta holds elections in early November and the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) claims victory. The NLD and many other parties refuse to take part. Observers do not consider the poll free or fair.
Less than a week after the election, Suu Kyi is released after spending 15 of the last 20 years under house arrest.
— 2011 —
In a surprise move, the junta relinquishes power to a quasi-civilian government under former general Thein Sein who pursues reforms. Many basic rights are restored, including the lifting of restrictions on assembly and expression, while hundreds of political prisoners are freed.
A ceasefire collapses in northern Kachin state and fighting resumes forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes.
— 2012 —
The NLD wins 43 out of 45 seats in April by-elections. Suu Kyi becomes an MP. Western powers lift most sanctions. State sponsored violence flares in western Arakan (Rakhine) state, aimed at the Rohingya Muslim minority.
— 2015 —
Suu Kyi’s NLD win a landslide November victory in the first so called “free and fair” elections in decades, prompting scenes of jubilation on the streets of Rangoon.
— 2016 —
Lame duck USDP-led parliament holds it final session on January 29. The NLD prepares to take power on February 1. Suu Kyi is still barred from the presidency under the constitution and the military retains significant power with 25 percent of parliamentary seats and key ministries under its control.
Note: Changes have been made, AFP is not responsible for these.