Burmese Regime Makes Way for Civilian Government

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Is it a new era of rule in Burma? A military junta has run that country for 20 years, suppressing human rights and freedom of speech. But now, parliament has dissolved the junta, replacing it with a civilian government. But many are calling the move a sham—because the new government is still run by most of the same people, including former military generals.

Burma's junta made way for a new government on Wednesday, ushering in an era of civilian rule dominated by the same authoritarian generals that have isolated the country for nearly two decades.

The parliament, packed with retired and serving soldiers, dissolved the junta, the State Peace and Development Council. It was a formality after a national election in November... largely criticized as a sham.

The move also provides an exit strategy for 78-year-old paramount leader Senior General Than Shwe, who named General Min Aung Hlaing on Wednesday as his successor as commander-in-chief. It ends months of speculation by signaling his imminent retirement.

With his top allies in key posts in the army and government, Than Shwe has effectively insulated himself from a purge by preventing the emergence of another strongman. Experts agree he is likely to maintain broad behind-the-scenes influence.

Few expect immediate political, economic or social reforms.