Burma's Referendum in 2008: Dangerous Status Quo or Critical Breakthrough?


Zaw Oo

Asia Pacific Bulletin, No. 14


Washington, D.C.: East-West Center

Publication Date: April 28, 2008
Binding: electronic
Pages: 2
Free Download: PDF


On May 10, 2008, the Burmese people will vote on a new constitution, a rare opportunity for the Burmese to express their political opinions about the ruling military junta's protracted path to "guided democracy." While the May referendum represents a significant step forward for the Burmese political process, Zaw Oo, professor of international development at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, argues that procedural mishaps, opacity about the language of the constitution itself, and an imminent clash between the "no vote" and "yes vote" campaigns--the former led by the Burmese democracy movement and the latter, the state news media--may negatively impact the referendum process.

The views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the East-West Center or any organization with which the author is affiliated.