Myanmar’s Interrupted Transition: The Democratic Instinct Survives

Policy brief

MongMao, Andra & Marte Nilsen (2023) Myanmar’s Interrupted Transition: The Democratic Instinct Survives, PRIO Policy Brief, 4. Oslo: PRIO.

Myanmar’s democratic transition was interrupted by the 2021 coup. Ten years of progress and reform were reversed, returning the country to military dictatorship. Yet the transition has not completely failed. Rather, the coup pushed democratic actors, norms and behavior outside Myanmar’s formal political institutions and processes. These actors have been re-constituted in a broad-based resistance to authoritarian governance, aspiring to civilian rule within a new federal constitution. The changes are transformational. They occur as escalating civil conflict, social resistance and international isolation are eroding the military’s traditional sources of power and legitimacy.

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