Briefing 136 / Asia

缅甸改革:一周年记

  • Share
  • Save
  • Print
  • Download PDF Full Report

概述

缅甸的半军方半文官新政府成立一年以来,已实施了广泛的改革,展开了继半个世纪独裁统治之后令人瞩目的自上而下的转变。缅甸总统吴登盛在2012年3月1日就职一周年之际对全国人民发表的讲话中明确指出,他的目标是引介“真正的民主”,而目前仍然任重道远。这一雄心勃勃的计划包括深化民主改革,抚平历史伤痛,重建国民经济,保证依法治国,同时尊重各民族的多样性和平等性。转变是实实在在的,挑战却也纷繁复杂。为了巩固并拓展已取得的改革成果,尽最大可能福泽广大民众,国际社会需要与缅甸拉近关系,寻找合适时机加大合作力度,而不是想方设法继续对缅实施制裁。

4月1日举行的议会补选标志着一个政治分水岭。反对党领袖昂山素季和她领导的全国民主联盟(简称“民盟”)重返正式的政治进程,并取得了压倒性胜利。包括昂山素季在内的43名民盟成员取得了议会席位。民盟成为最大的反对党。鉴于补选席位在议会总席位中所占比重较小,这一结果并未改变权力制衡。然而这个结果仍极具象征意义,可能会给政治生活注入更大的活力。民盟的获胜或许对统治集团中的一些成员起到了警示作用。

这些改革的速度之快和范围之广,不禁让人质疑改革进程的可持续性。任何这类重大政治改革无可避免要经受严峻考验,但缅甸政治精英们就根本性变革的必要性已达成广泛共识,这意味着局势逆转的风险较小;同时心怀不满的民众没有结成有组织的团体,因而也无力阻挠改革进程。

然而,其他严峻挑战依然存在。在制定详细政策和贯彻一些已出台的改革措施方面,缅甸现有的机构能力和技术能力极为有限。这制约了改革进程,同时意味着民众无法尽快看到某些转变所带来的全方位影响。鉴于缅甸将在2013年举办东南亚运动会,在2014年接任东南亚国家联盟(简称“东盟”)轮值主席国,未来两年给国家政治体系带来的压力只会进一步增大。

经济改革则是另一重大问题。尽管重大经济政策的变革至关重要且人们对此也期待已久,但在一个由不可靠数据和薄弱经济部门组成的环境中进行变革,会有引发意外的经济震荡的风险。考虑到缅甸极度贫穷和极度脆弱,即使是相对较小的经济震荡也可能对民生造成严重后果。在民众期望高涨、当局对人民的专制统治已有所松动的时刻,有可能会爆发动乱。

第三个挑战是在少数民族地区巩固和平。除了唯一一个民族武装团体之外,其他所有团体都与政府签署了初步的停火协议,这是一项重大成就。然而,持久的和平需要更多的努力。政府尚未与最大的武装团体之一——克钦独立组织达成任何协议,激烈的冲突仍在继续。除非在解决根本的政治不满问题上取得进展,否则政府与其他武装团体达成的停火协议仍相当脆弱并可能遭到破坏。这些任务都相当艰巨,但是如果边境重燃战火,将有可能严重破坏改革进程,并严重阻碍经济重建。

已经进行的改革最初似乎并非由外力驱动,而是源自内部因素。既然西方社会一直呼吁的重大举措在缅甸已经展开,国际社会和多边组织对保证改革的成功责无旁贷。尤其是西方社会,在提供政治支持、亟需的建议和技术协助方面可以做许多工作。欧盟将在四月下旬迎来是否延续缅甸制裁的关键决策点,届时这些强制性手段的意义必须重新加以考虑。

缅甸政府在摈除成见、主动与国内外即便是最尖锐的批评家们进行接触方面做了大量工作。当前,西方社会也应做出相应努力与缅甸建立新的伙伴关系。既然人民期待已久的改革正在展开,那就没有正当理由再继续实施制裁。实施制裁更有可能削弱改革力量和纵容更为保守的势力,从而破坏改革进程,而不是起到继续施压以深化改革的作用。

雅加达/布鲁塞尔,2012年4月11日

Overview

One year into the new semi-civilian government, Myanmar has implemented a wide-ranging set of reforms as it embarks on a remarkable top-down transition from five decades of authoritarian rule. In an address to the nation on 1 March 2012 marking his first year in office, President Thein Sein made clear that the goal was to introduce “genuine democracy” and that there was still much more to be done. This ambitious agenda includes further democratic reform, healing bitter wounds of the past, rebuilding the economy and ensuring the rule of law, as well as respecting ethnic diversity and equality. The changes are real, but the challenges are complex and numerous. To consolidate and build on what has been achieved and increase the likelihood that benefits flow to all its citizens, Myanmar needs the international community to come closer, seeking opportunities for greater engagement rather than more reasons why sanctions should be sustained.

The by-elections held on 1 April represent a political watershed. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy returned to the formal political process and secured a landslide victory. Forty-three NLD representatives, including Aung San Suu Kyi herself, will now take up their seats in the national legislature. The NLD has become the largest opposition party. This does not alter the balance of power, given that only a small percentage of seats were contested, but it is of major symbolic importance, as it has the potential to inject greater dynamism into political life. The extent of the NLD victory may have alarmed some in the political establishment.

The speed and extent of these reforms has raised questions about how sustainable the process is. Any such program of major political change must inevitably face serious tests, but the broad consensus among the political elite on the need for fundamental change means that the risk of a reversal appears low; there is no coherent group of disaffected individuals with the power to undo the process.

Yet, there are other serious challenges. There is limited institutional and technical capacity to carry out detailed policy formulations and to implement some of the reform measures being adopted. This is acting as a brake on the process and means that citizens are slow to see the full impact of some of the changes. The pressures on the system are only likely to increase in the next two years as Myanmar hosts the South East Asia Games in 2013 and takes over the chairmanship of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2014.

Reforming the economy is another major issue. While vital and long overdue, there is a risk that making major policy changes in a context of unreliable data and weak economic institutions could create unintended economic shocks. Given the high levels of impoverishment and vulnerability, even a relatively minor shock has the potential to have a major impact on livelihoods. At a time when expectations are running high, and authoritarian controls on the population have been loosened, there would be a potential for unrest.

A third challenge is consolidating peace in ethnic areas. All but one of the ethnic armed groups have signed preliminary ceasefires with the government, a major achievement. Nevertheless, a sustainable peace will require a lot more work. No deal has yet been reached with one of the largest groups, the Kachin Independence Organisation, and serious clashes continue. The ceasefire agreements with the other groups remain fragile and could unravel unless progress is made in addressing the underlying political grievances. These are hugely difficult tasks, but a return to war in the borderlands has the potential to do great damage to the reform process and would be an enormous impediment to rebuilding the economy.

The reforms that have taken place appear not to have been driven primarily by external pressure, but rather by internal considerations. Now that major steps of the kind long called for by the West are being taken, it is incumbent on the international community and multilateral institutions to help ensure their success. There is much that the West, in particular, can do to provide political support, as well as much-needed advice and technical assistance. As the European Union (EU) approaches a key decision point in late April on whether to renew sanctions on Myanmar, the value of the coercive measures must be reconsidered.

The Myanmar government has gone extraordinarily far in putting aside old prejudices and reaching out to even the most strident of its critics domestically and internationally. The West should now make a commensurate effort to forge a new partnership. With the long-awaited reforms underway, there is no valid rationale for keeping sanctions in place. To do so would likely damage the process: undermining reformers and emboldening more conservative elements, rather than keeping up the pressure for further change.

Jakarta/Brussels, 11 April 2012

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.