With the Tatmadaw chief reaching retirement age this year, some speculate that a fresh face could achieve a détente with the NLD – but the appointment process itself could hold the key to better civil-military relations.
A lull in fighting in Rakhine State should not be mistaken for a free and fair election environment, but the efforts of Japanese envoy Yohei Sasakawa towards supplementary elections may deliver other benefits.
The popularity of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Kyi was certainly a factor in the NLD’s resounding election success, but so too was fighting corruption, progress in economic development and an ill-advised intervention by the Tatmadaw chief.
Some ethnic groups have criticised State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi over the perception that she favours the Tatmadaw but the record shows that she and the NLD have been impartial in the pursuit of peace.
Led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the government is trying to solve the complex issues in the restive region, but is hindered by international criticism and an unwavering attitude by the old guard toward the state’s Muslim community.