History of Myanmar

Myanmar Political Reforms
Aung San Suu Kyi addresses crowds at the NLD headquarters shortly after her release. ©Htoo Tay Zar
2011 Jan 1 - 2015

Myanmar Political Reforms

Myanmar (Burma)

The 2011–2012 Burmese democratic reforms were an ongoing series of political, economic and administrative changes in Burma undertaken by the military-backed government. These reforms included the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and subsequent dialogues with her, establishment of the National Human Rights Commission, general amnesties of more than 200 political prisoners, institution of new labour laws that allow labour unions and strikes, relaxation of press censorship, and regulations of currency practices.


As a consequence of the reforms, ASEAN approved Burma's bid for the chairmanship in 2014. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Burma on 1 December 2011, to encourage further progress; it was the first visit by a US Secretary of State in more than fifty years. United States President Barack Obama visited one year later, becoming the first US president to visit the country.


Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, participated in by-elections held on 1 April 2012 after the government abolished laws that led to the NLD's boycott of the 2010 general election. She led the NLD in winning the by-elections in a landslide, winning 41 out of 44 of the contested seats, with Suu Kyi herself winning a seat representing Kawhmu Constituency in the lower house of the Burmese Parliament. 2015 election results gave the National League for Democracy an absolute majority of seats in both chambers of the Burmese parliament, enough to ensure that its candidate would become president, while NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi is constitutionally barred from the presidency.[91] However, clashes between Burmese troops and local insurgent groups continued.

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