President Thein Sein’s government makes the case that it is prudently managing a successful transition to democracy. Shortly after coming to power in 2011, Thein Sein — a former general and prime minister in the previous military government — instituted economic and political reforms that resulted in Western nations largely lifting trade and investment embargoes they had maintained against the previous military government. This spurred foreign investment and much-needed economic growth.
Supporters of the opposition National League for Democracy see the country’s democracy as half-empty rather than half-full. They believe the generals and their cronies have too much of a vested interest in the status quo to challenge exploitation of natural resources and ensure economic justice.