Calls for secession from ethnic minority groups in Myanmar’s border regions date back as far as independence from Britain in 1948. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet / The Myanmar Times

Calls for secession from ethnic minority groups in Myanmar’s border regions date back as far as independence from Britain in 1948. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet / The Myanmar Times

Secession in a democratic system?

27 June 2016

Eventually, the shockwaves from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union will ripple into Myanmar affairs. One way or another, we all need to digest the lessons of last week’s historic referendum.

Where should we start? Perhaps with a general point: Any political system made up of a loose constellation of peoples tends to struggle, over the long term, with centrifugal forces.

In their own style, the people of Myanmar know this story well. It is at the heart of a long history of contention and despair. In Myanmar’s sad case, claims for independence have made it easier for despots to argue that iron-fisted rule is the only way to preserve national cohesion.

Read ‘Secession in a democratic system?’ by Nicholas Farrelly, published in Myanmar Times.

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