Military juntas don’t give up power easily, so the tentative steps towards democracy in Myanmar are encouraging.
And Aung San Suu Kyi’s announcement that she will stand for parliamentary by-elections, which are yet to be scheduled, gives the still nascent process a stamp of credibility.
Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy party (File photo Bloomberg)
President Thein Sein has overseen several measures that have seen a relaxation of the iron grip that the armed forces have had on the country, closed to most outsiders.
These have included the release of some political prisoners and the right to form labour unions. All these changes are said to have been directed by his masters in the military.
The elections will determine whether Suu Kyi, gracefully steadfast in her determination to see democracy in Myanmar, can convert the following she has into electoral support.