This dissertation argues that Myanmar’s new legislature played an important role in the transition by gaining autonomy and by gradually building the capacity to perform legislative functions. When it began in January 2011, there was little disagreement that the Hluttaw would have modest influence because the overwhelming majority of elected representatives came from the pro-military party. Yet the Hluttaw eventually emerged as a reform-minded law-making body as well as a robust forum for oversight of the executive.
This analysis is based on five months fieldwork in the national legislature in Nay Pyi Taw, and the sub-national legislatures in Myanmar’s States and Regions, and content analysis from the records of the legislative plenary sessions (2011–2016). It explains how the role of the speakers, a culture of non-partisanship, a range of institutional legacies, and the number of technocratic, ethnic and minor party lawmakers co-opted to the new political system, were instrumental in the Hluttaw’s shift from a rubber stamp to a robust and subsequently a hostile legislature.
Chit Win is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political and Social Change, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. He is an Australian Leadership Award recipient. He is also a Deputy Director from the Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Previously, Chit Win has been posted to Jakarta and Tel Aviv. During his PhD candidacy, he has authored three peer-reviewed journal articles and more than a dozen other publications. In 2015 and 2016, Chit Win co-convened the ANU’s “Political Economy of Myanmar” study tours funded by the New Colombo Plan. He is currently co-convening the 2017 ANU Myanmar Update Conference.