Myanmar’s state media, known for its dogged support of the country’s former military junta, on Tuesday celebrated 2011 as the year the previous “authoritarian” regime ended.
Government mouthpiece the New Light of Myanmar said that last year, when a new nominally-civilian government took power and implemented a series of reform gestures, was a “transition period from the old era to the new one”.
“Most international observers were taken aback by the fact that Myanmar, which had been ruled by an authoritarian Tatmadaw government... has started practising democracy,” said an editorial ahead of Independence Day on January 4. Tatmadaw is the term for the military.
Tuesday’s report said the junta had built the “foundations” for the recent changes and said its “goodwill” should be recognised, along with the “drive to change the country to a certain degree in a peaceful and stable way”.
Myanmar, a military dictatorship marked by the brutal suppression of dissent and international isolation, saw a transition to a nominally-civilian — although army-backed — government in March.
The new regime has surprised observers and raised hopes of further changes by undertaking a series of reformist moves, including holding dialogue with democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi and reaching out to the West.