Parliamentary Development in Myanmar: An Overview of the Union Parliament, 2011-2016
This report reviews the organizational structure and functioning and legislative performance of the Union Parliament since 2011, and compares the two legislatures elected in 2010 (Union Solidarity and Development Party) and 2015 (National League for Democracy). Currently, the legislature’s ability to direct policymaking is weak, and its understanding of vetting mechanisms also needs to be strengthened. For Myanmar to move away from the remnants of executive dominance and top-down directives in order to deepen the democratization process, the Union Parliament must play a central role and its institutions must be strengthened to do so. Despite the numerous challenges facing the Union Parliament and the inexperience of many of its members, the Union Parliament has surprised many domestic and international observers with its active legislative agenda and open discussion of issues once untouchable. It is a critical moment to provide support to Parliament to further reform its institutions and practices and build its capacity to become a genuinely professional and independent legislative body. We hope this research will contribute to the ongoing public discourse in Myanmar on parliamentary development and democratic transition.