Abstract

Under the 2008 Constitution and following the 2010 elections marking Myanmar’s historic transition from military rule, the country began a series of decentralization reforms. Sub-national governance is now based on fourteen state and region governments, with more opportunities for public inputs at the local level. Myanmar, however, remains a highly centralized state: 25 per cent of national and sub-national parliamentary seats are constitutionally mandated for the military. Furthermore, the state and region governments have no civil service of their own and must rely on national ministries. While even the military now concedes that the country’s future lies in some form of federalism, what that means will be highly contested given the history of ethnic armed conflicts. Meanwhile, state and region governments are becoming more active in defining their own policies, developments that the new National League for Democracy-led government has promised to further.

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