|Images: Benoît Cros|
The fighting peacock is flying over Rangoon. As Burma goes to the polls for its first election with the participation of the National League for Democracy (NLD) since 1990, the party’s symbol is everywhere in Burma’s former capital. Hundreds of cars have been transporting NLD supporters through the streets of the city. Dressed in white shirts and the traditional longyi, the majority are young people, their faces covered with NLD stickers, singing the party song: ‘Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is back, the time has come, we must win.’ The people on the streets applaud them, and even some prisoners being transported in a police van join in the fervour. ‘22 years later, our time has come. I’m confident we will win this election,’ says enthusiastic 77-year-old U Htun Oo, one of the veteran NLD members who contested and won the 1990 polls before the military regime decided to cancel them.
Romila Thapar addresses invitees at the
Southasian relaunch of Himal Southasian,
IIC, New Delhi, January 2013.
Old Faces, New Precedents
On 11 May 2013, Pakistan went to the polls in a general election that will transfer power democratically for the first time in the nation's history. Nawaz Sharif has claimed victory for the Pakistan Muslim League-N.
From our archive:
Mehreen Zahra-Malik discusses novel means of holding corrupt officials to account in 'A coup by other means?' (July 2012)
Shamshad Ahmad on praetorian irony, Machiavelli's prince, and Pakistan's fight for constitutional primacy. (January 2008)
Zia Mian and A H Nayyar write about Pakistan's coup culture and Nawaz Sharif's 'absolutist sense of power.' (November 1999)