Club de Madrid tackles the role of the military in Myanmar’s democratic transition

This mission came to Myanmar following the historic November 8, 2015 elections in which the opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD) won an outright majority but before the new government has taken place. The visit sought to build on the work of previous missions to advance a peaceful transfer of power, foster national reconciliation and identify constructive next steps in the peace process through high-level engagement with different sides on these key issues for Myanmar’s future.

Former President Ricardo Lagos launched the book, “From Authoritian Rule Toward Democratic Governance: Learning from World Leaders, in which several leaders –most of them Members of the Club de Madrid- including President Lagos, share their experiences helping guide the transition in their respective countries from authoritarian to democratic governments. The Myanmar edition of the book, jointly published by the European Union, Club de Madrid and International IDEA, was distributed to key actors in the ongoing Myanmar transition.

President Lagos held bilateral meetings with the Speaker of the Parliament, Thura Shwe Mann, the Commander in Chief Min Aung Hlaing and the Deputy Minister for Defense Brigadier General Aung Thaw. He highlighted the achievements towards the democratic transition of Myanmar and encouraged the consolidation of the transition through further steps in this regard by exchanging about the best approaches to a peaceful military transfer of power to the new elected leaders.

The mission also met with U Tion Oo, Han Tha Myint and Nyan Win, members of the NLD Central Executive Committee to reiterate the Club de Madrid commitment to support the new Government in their efforts on social inclusion and decentralization and any others significant next steps into the democratic consolidations of the country.

The Club de Madrid Member participated in a Roundtable with political parties’ representatives about the transition process in Myanmar and the outcome of the recent elections. President Lagos shared his experiences and perspectives and lessons learnt on Chile’s democratic transition after Pinochet’s dictatorship potentially useful for the current context in the Asian country.