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'Bogyoke' lives on: The legacy of Aung San in Myanmar's contemporary state-building
Youngmi Kim  1@  
1 : Central European University  (CEU)
Department of International Relations, Central European University, Budapest -  Hongrie

Presentation :

The paper assesses the legacy of General Aung San through the political and personal biography of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in order to discuss the emergence of ‘democratic authoritarian' leadership in post-transition Myanmar. Specifically, the paper focuses on two issues that are central to state-building in the country: ethnic politics and the government's relationship with the armed forces. Empirically, the paper discusses the two Panglong Conferences as the central founding myths of modern state-building in Burma/Myanmar and also the evolving, at times fractured, but always strategically important relationship between Aung San and Daw Suu and the Tatmadaw (the armed forces). The paper emphasises the personalization of politics both under authoritarian and ‘democratic' rule and the centralization of decision-making, stemming from the acute awareness of the remarkably low state capacity and the lack of trust which generate a strong sense of personal and political isolation. Building strong state institutions was as much a tall order for Aung San as it is for Aung San Suu Kyi today. High expectations and enthusiasm accompany the challenges which, even today, remain daunting. While leadership is available, state capacity remains wanting. 


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