Smooth Political Transition In Myanmar Is A Good Sign For Tourism


Aung San Suu Kyi’s party National League for Democracy was confirmed to have swept 80% of all the votes of Myanmar people and will take over the power from the semi-Military government by early next year.

According to AFP, Mvyanmar’s outgoing President Thein Sein on Sunday declared historic polls won in a thumping landslide by were the consequence of his government’s reforms and vowed a smooth transition of power.

The former junta general, who shed his uniform to lead the country’s quasi-civilian regime five years ago, said the November 8 polls were testament to the political and economic changes that have swept the former pariah state since the end of junta rule.

“The election is the result of our reform process and as we promised, we were able to hold it very successfully,” he told a meeting of political parties in Yangon last Sunday, in his first public appearance since the polls.His own party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party- backed by the Army- is to enter the next parliament with 25% of all seats despite securing only 10% of all votes.

The 25% quota was voted prior to the elections to be sure that military will still be an influential political force. Both the president and army chief started this week talks with Aung San Suu Kyi to negotiate the smooth transition. Military will not be out of the political business. The Military will also retain important minister portfolios such as defense and home affairs, seen as essential to the country security.

“We will hand this process (of reform) on to a new government,” said Thein Sein, adding “don’t worry about the transition” in comments aimed at calming nerves in the country’s first attempt at a democratic-style transition for decades.

“The winning party is responsible for carrying out its duty and other opposition parties should provide checks and balances. That is called democracy,” he said.

Thein Sein, a slight bespectacled 70-year-old, has steered the country’s dramatic opening up after years of isolation, freeing political prisoners, unleashing a long-muzzled press and welcoming foreign investment.

Observers say it is imperative that Suu Kyi build friendly ties with the military elite, which retains significant political and economic power.

Suu Kyi has already travelled to the capital Naypyidaw, where on Monday she will attend a last session of the old parliament, which will continue sitting as a caretaker legislature until January.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win, who attended Sunday’s Yangon meeting, reaffirmed the party’s committment to “national reconciliation and peace”.

The so far peaceful process in transition is particularly important for travellers to the country, especially as the high season starts. Tourism is turning into an utmost important activity for the country’s emerging economy. According to WTTC data, Myanmar tourism generated US$3.1 billion in direct and indirect revenues to the country representing close to 5% of the total GDP. By 2020, tourism could generate US$5.1 billion and contribute to 5.5% of total GDP. Employment in tourism is predicted to grow from 1.17 to 1.55 million until 2020.