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Kristin Jesnes

Kristin Jesnes  is a researcher at the Fafo Research Foundation, where she works on questions relating to countries in transition, business and human rights, industrial relations and the provision of decent work. She holds a master’s in international security from Sciences Po Paris and a bac...
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Developing relations: political parties and civil society in Myanmar

Kristin Jesnes, 16 June 2014

In late 2011 President Thein Sein of Myanmar initiated democratic reforms that marked the end of the military regime. Since then, space has opened up for civil society to engage with political parties, and vice versa. Drawing on interviews with politicians and civil society activists, local and international experts on Myanmar, and lectures and conference debates, this report discusses the nature of the relationships that are emerging between political parties and civil society in the early stages of the transitional period. It would appear that relations between political parties and civil society are currently limited, informal and based on personal connections. The emerging political and civil society actors are in the process of identifying their roles in society and their relations to one another. Lack of experience with democratic governance after decades of civil war and military rule makes the process of building relationships tenuous. Continued legal constraints, the imprisonment of activists and weak regional government bodies further thwart interaction between political and civil society actors.

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