We have been on the path of democratic transition for over eight years. In comparison with other countries which have made the transition, Myanmar is still a young democracy. This means there has been progress on our journey to democracy, but we still need to mature into a full-fledged democracy, which is our goal.
The World Bank, which conducted research on 30 countries that made the democratic transition between 1985 and 2009, found out that on an average, a 20-year period was required to reach a stage where a democracy became strong.
As per the study, the fastest a country took to realize its democratic ambitions was 12 years.
Involvement of the military was found in some of these countries. For countries with military involvement to transition into a democracy, it took an average of 17 years. The quickest was 10 years. But, those countries did not see as much internal conflict as Myanmar. They did not have problems like the Rakhine issue that Myanmar is facing.
Considering these two conditions, the fastest a country took to transition into a democracy in the absence of internal armed conflicts was 12 years.
There was another assessment conducted in 2010, which covered 115 incidences of democratic transition between 1995 and 2007. It was found that of the 86 countries scrutinized, only 15 had realized the democratic norms set by the West. There were 27 incidences of back-tracking.
There were 27 incidences where democracy was not achieved. Without back-tracking, some did not achieve a stable democracy for 30 to 40 years. This means that these countries were stuck in the transition stage. Region wise, none of the Latin American countries met the democratic norms set by the West, and there were only a few in Europe.
Myanmar started its transition with the 2010 election. The current civilian government came into power after the 2015 elections. At that time, the transition faced many challenges.
In fact, the conflict in Rakhine State and internal armed conflicts have added to the complexity of issues besieging Myanmar, almost one-third of which is conflict-ridden.
But, however many challenges we face, we are committed to reaching the goal of establishing a Democratic Federal Republic. Our transition to democracy may be long, but there will be no backsliding.