Aung San Suu Kyi is political leader of the month


The 2015 elections in Myanmar await ratification.  The lengthy transition of the country towards a representative democracy seems closer.  The leadership of Aung San Suu Kui has been lengthy and heroic.  She is Leaders We Deserve political leader of the month.

Nothing is straightforward to the outside world, in the politics of Myanmar.  The country has had a painful transition from a colonial outpost of the British Empire though a military regime and now edges towards a democratic state with leaders appointed through free and fair elections.

The Leader who cannot be president

Now it seems victory in the polls has been accepted although the prevailing system secures military presence in both chambers of the country’s legislature.  This means that Suu Kyi is excluded from post of President on the law introduced which precludesappointment of anyone married to a non-Burmese partner. This seems designed with the primary purpose of excluding Suu Kyi  if her party were to gain power. She has noted crisply that would not matter as she would be able to overrule the president if necessary.

One constant in the battle for power has been the significant leadership influence exercised by Ann San Suu Kyi  during her lengthy periods of detention.  Her story of gradual concessions wrong from those in power, including the military, has been likened to those won by Nelson Mandela during and after his incarceration.

Critical events

Previous posts in LWD have touched on the critical events . These included the pressure exerted by the international community rejecting brutal suppression of opposition by the military forces;  the recognition of pressure from the world community by General Thein Sein, and the delaying tactics by the military and ruling party as hopes of change increase. The process echoes the acceptance by De Klerk of the need for change in South Africa as it moved to multi-racial democracy.

The realities of power

Over the last few months, the dilemmas of leadership are emerging.  Aung Sang has political balances to deal with.  This may explain what she said as well as what she did not say during the election campaign. Reformists and well-wishers around the world will be watching how she deals with the oppression of the Rohingya minority in Myanyar.

The Charismatic Leader

I have tended to emphasize the dark side of charismatic leadership in LWD posts. The greater the heroic image presented, the more important it is to assess the human behind the iconography. I found Nelson Mandela’s achievements all the more admirable when I accepted that he did not have to be beyond reproach for some of his actions. I am hoping that the achievements of Suu Kyi will similarly be seen as the more remarkable coming from not a flawless symbol of hope but a human being doing great things.



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