Independence Day: January 4, 1948 (4.20 a.m.)
Head of state: Win Myint
Head of government: Win Myint (in fact: Aung San Suu Kyi)
Political system: Multi-party system
Democracy Status Index (BTI): 104 of 129 (2018)
Corruption Index (CPI): 130 of 180 (2019)
State and constitutions
According to dentistrymyth, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burmese: Pyidaunsu Thanmăda Myăma Nainngandaw) has been using this name since the new constitution came into force on March 30, 2011. It was adopted by referendum on May 10, 2008. Before that there were two constitutions. With the first of 1947, Burma gained independence from Great Britain on January 4, 1948. The constitution provided for a parliamentary system and a welfare state and contained an article that allowed the Shan and Kayah (Karenni) states to withdraw from the Union of Burma (Pyidaunzu Myăma Nainngandaw) after 10 years under certain conditions.
After the 1962 coup, the Military Council began building a socialist state led by the unity party BSPP, based on a philosophy that combined Buddhist and socialist elements. A new constitution was drawn up and passed. Thereupon the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma was founded on March 2, 1974, which provided for a one-party state under the leadership of the BSPP. This constitution expired with the military coup on September 18, 1988. So the 1990 elections were held in a constitutional vacuum. The dispute over how to end this vacuum was one of the reasons why the parliament elected in 1990 never met.
The 2008 constitution stipulates that a quarter of the seats in all parliaments in the country are reserved for members of the military, who are appointed by the respective commander in chief. There are also other provisions that guarantee the military’s participation in key government decisions. On the other hand, it is envisaged that for the first time in history parliaments will be elected in the 14 states and regions, thus laying the foundations for political decentralization. The Chief Ministers in each area of the Union are appointed by the President, who also acts as Prime Minister.
There are different data for the ethnic composition of the country as well as for the total number of residents. It is generally recognized that around 70% of the population live in the countryside. With this number, however, it must be taken into account that even the “megacity” of Yangon, with over 4 million people living in the core area of the city, is largely rural in structure.
The country is divided into 14 administrative districts according to the 2008 Constitution can be compared with the German federal states. They have their own parliaments and governments. Seven of these units are called “regions”. It is the regions in the central lowlands where the ethnic Burmese traditionally live. These are, from south to north, Tanintharyi (Tenasserim) with the capital Dawei (Tavoy), Ayeyawady (Irrawaddy) with the capital Pathein (Bassein), and Yangon (Rangun), Bago (Pegu), Magwe, Mandalay and Sagaing with the capitals of the same name. The seven “States” are named after the ethnic groups that traditionally form the majority in them. From east to west: Mon with the capital Mawlamyine (Moulmein), Kayin (Karen) with the capital Hpa-an, Kayah (Karenni) with the capital Loikaw, Shan with the capital Taunggyi, Kachin with the capital Myitkyina,
There are also five zones and one region with self-governing bodies. The administrative unit around the capital Naypyidaw is directly under the administration of the president. The special zones are an attempt to take account of the special conditions in some peripheral areas of the country.
A smaller administrative unit, similar to the German districts, are the country’s 330 townships, which also form the electoral districts.
The largest cities in the country with over 100,000 residents are:
Yangon – Mandalay – Naypyidaw – Mawlamyine (Moulmein) – Bago (Pegu) – Pathein (Bassein) – Monywa (Sagaing Region) – Meiktila (Mandalay Region) – Sittwe (Akyab – Rakhine) – Myeik (Mergui – Tanintharyi Region) – Taunggyi (Shan State).
The National anthem
The national anthem of Myanmar goes back to a song used in 1930 by a radical independence organization, the Dobama (Our-Burma) Association, as a means of nationalist agitation. While the melody has been retained, the text has been altered over the years with its echoes of the Burmese “master race” of ethnic Burmese.
Here is an English translation of the current text:
Till the end of the world, Myanmar! Since she is the true inheritance from our forefathers, we love and value her. We will fight and give our lives for the union. This is the country and land of our own. For her prosperity, we will responsibly shoulder the task. Standing as one in duty to our precious land.
The flag, which was introduced when the new constitution came into force in March 2011, also goes back to the Dobama movement. The star in the middle was a sign from the anti-Japanese resistance. Earlier flags reflect the country’s changeful history.
The 2008 constitution, which prescribes the seal, does not specify the meaning of the symbol.