The dismissal of Burma's Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt and his replacement by hardliner Lieutenant General Soe Win on Oct. 19 likely represents a setback for the country's hopes of moving toward democracy after decades of military rule. While hardly a liberal, Khin Nyunt, who was appointed in August 2003, had unveiled a seven-stage "roadmap" aimed at crafting a new constitution and eventually returning Burma to civilian rule. Human rights advocates also hoped for the release from house arrest of pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. Now, despite calls from the U.N. and neighboring governments for continued progress toward democracy, the junta's shakeup may augur a new crackdown.
EDITED BY Edited by Rose Brady