World Bulletin / News Desk
More than 10,000 troops marched through the political capital Nay Pyi Taw on Monday as Myanmar celebrates its 72nd Armed Forces Day to mark the resistance movement led by independence hero General Aung San -- father of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi -- in 1945.
Army chief Sen. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing stressed in a speech that the Tatmadaw -- as the military is known -- must maintain a leading role in national politics given its place in the history and critical situations of the country.
“We had learned that putting too much emphasis on party politics doesn’t lead to any stability of the country, but taking priority over national politics can only bring stability,” he said.
Though the government led by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party took power in March last year following its landslide election victory, the junta-drafted constitution allocates the military a quarter of seats in parliaments -- and therefore veto power -- and control of three key Cabinet ministries.
From 1962 to 2011, Myanmar was ruled by oppressive juntas in which generals suppressed almost all dissent and stood accused of gross human rights abuses, prompting international condemnation and sanctions.
The years of dictatorship, however, were terminated by a 2010 general election widely regarded as rigged.
Power was transferred in 2011 to a new quasi-civilian government led by the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party and reformist President Thein Sein, a retired general -- a process that lifted Myanmar out of global isolation, helped end most sanctions and spurred rapid economic growth.