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What the new Myanmar VP means for economic investment

Pilgrims in Shwedagon Pagoda complex

Myanmar has a bloody past of military and dictatorial oppression, however the new President has been pushing for economic and political reforms that have caused much investor speculation. Despite all the new money flowing to their economy, Myanmar’s recent emplacement of former military general Swe as Vice President shows that progress is going to take longer than speculators hoped. CNN reports on the political development:

Myint Swe’s expected promotion from chief minister of Rangoon Region to the second highest post in the country has disappointed observers who hoped for a more reform-friendly candidate.

“He’s not noted as a reformer,” said Sean Turnell, an associate professor at Macquarie University in Sydney, of the 61-year-old candidate. “I think that fact alone will disappoint many people who watch and are closely involved in Burma.”

Since becoming president in March 2011, Thein Sein has steered Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, away from its repressive military past, towards what many hope is a truly democratic future.

However, military men still dominate parliament and any step forward must be navigated with their approval, which has made Myanmar’s democratic reform a delicate and difficult process.

“I think by appointing someone who is not an overt reformer they’re sort of signaling I think what we understand to be their current situation; that they’re much more cautious, much more reluctant reformers than some of the reformist groups in the government,” Turnell said.

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