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This book is about the politics of Myanmar under the reformist president Thein Sein. After taking office in March 2011, Thein Sein initiated the bloodless Myanmar Spring. He was able to transform Myanmar into a more transparent and dynamic society, bring Aung San Suu Kyi and other opposition activists into the political process, initiate a peace process with the ethnic armed organizations, reintegrate Myanmar into the international community after five decades of isolation, and, most importantly, for the first time since the country regained independence in 1948, he was able to enact the peaceful transfer of power from one elected government to another. But Thein Sein also lost opportunities to deliver what the people anticipated, and he failed to bring his USDP party to victory in the 2015 election. This book is not about the successes of the Thein Sein administration. Rather, it examines the reasons behind the lost opportunities in the transition to democracy. It draws on the author’s experiences as a member of Thein Sein’s cabinet as well as on extensive interviews with other cabinet members and politicians involved in the crucial events that took place between 2010 and 2016. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in this critical period of change for Myanmar.
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