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Burma’s by-elections

April 4, 2012

The results of Burma’s April 1 by-elections released by Burma’s National Election Commission confirm Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy has won at least 40 of the 44 seats they contested. The results reflect the will of the Burmese people and I’m delighted that Aung San Suu Kyi, after many long years, will play a role in Burma’s national parliament.

These by-elections are the most recent development in the winding back of authoritarian rule in Burma. President Thein Sein has shown personal courage in leading Burma down its reform path. He should be congratulated and given every encouragement to continue.

Australia is committed to providing tangible rewards for progress in Burma, including by easing our sanctions. Australia will do this in a way that is proportionate with democratisation on the ground. That is, enough to encourage further reform, but not enough to remove pressure for reform.

The Australian Government has made clear we stand ready to support Burma through our aid program and by advocating greater assistance to Burma by the IMF, World Bank, UNDP and others.

Click here to read my op-ed on the Burma by-elections published in today’s Australian.

  1. C Lamb permalink
    April 4, 2012 1:13 pm

    Thanks for this Bob, it’s very good to see you making statements and being in print here too on this important subject.
    I did a piece on the elections for The Conversation which you might like to see. It was published today, and is at

    As an update, the 45th seat (the one NLD did not contest) now seems to have been won by the governing USDP, so that party won a seat after all, but just one out of the 45 contested. NLD seems to have won 43, with the other going to a Shan party with a democracy purpose similar to that of the NLD.

  2. John Mountbatten permalink
    April 4, 2012 3:46 pm

    Yes, I agree with all that. It may only be a straw in the wind at this stage but it’s certainly a significant one. Commensurate with its actions, let’s reward the regime and encourage it now to take even bigger steps along the road to real democracy and lasting reconciliation. I plan to visit Burma myself next month and I look forward while there to getting a better sense of what may be possible in the near term

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