In just over two weeks, Burmese citizens will go to the polls in what is set to be a major milestone for the country’s top-down transition to democracy. Four years of political and economic change was precipitated by the last general election held in 2010, despite domestic and international condemnation for a vote seen as neither free nor fair. The United States was one of those nations that declared the vote a sham.
Since then, the US has worked closely with Burma. Through a revitalised relationship, America has both applauded the introduction of new freedoms and encouraged the semi-civilian regime through its bumpy patches.
That help has been funnelled through the office of US Ambassador Derek Mitchell, who took up the roll in 2012. As the 8 November poll approaches, DVB sits down with Ambassador Mitchell to discuss how the election will shape the continuing Burmese movement towards democracy. He also outlined what the US believes needs to be done to ensure this vote lives up to its billing as the most credible in a quarter of a century