Trip Report 2011Burma's parliamentary elections on November 7 were the first since Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy swept to a landslide victory that was never honoured (below: the poignant cover of Time magazine in 1990). Daw Suu was banned from taking part in November, and when (most of) the NLD boycotted what was evidently a charade, the party was forcibly disbanded.
Worldwide scepticism about the polls was echoed in Burma by a weary indifference. “We have no idea and no time,” one man told the BBC, “to think about these useless things.” Over 25% of the seats in the two chamber parliament and the 14 regional assemblies are reserved for the military, and the two major parties which were elected are strongly linked to them. By January it had been made clear how things were to be run: essentially by a new eight-member State Supreme Council (unmentioned in the Constitution) led by Senior General Than Shwe, 78 – the man who headed the old SPDC (below left, voting).