Caretaker Government

   (1958-1960)
   A military-controlled government that assumed power on October 28, 1958, following the political confusion that resulted from the split of the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League (AFPFL) into "Clean" and "Stable" factions earlier in the year. Prime Minister U Nu introduced a motion in parliament that General Ne Win, commander of the Tatmadaw, be offered the prime ministership for a six-month period to restore stability and create suitable conditions for holding a general election. Parliament subsequently extended his term for a longer period.
   Ne Win ordered the arrest of many politicians and took a hard line toward insurgents in the countryside. The power of civilian authorities on all levels of administration was drastically weakened, as military officers were placed in control of central and state/division government agencies. The army-owned Defence Services Institute, managed by the capable Brigadier Aung Gyi, expanded rapidly, taking over state-owned and even private enterprises. In Shan State, the hereditary rulers, sawbwa, relinquished the powers they had enjoyed under British rule. Throughout the country, the Tatmadaw established branches of the National Solidarity Association to promote security and social welfare.
   Although the restoration of law and order and greater government efficiency were widely appreciated, the Caretaker Government was much resented by poor people in Rangoon (Yangon), more than 170,000 of whom were victims of forced relocation to satellite towns. Many ethnic minority communities also feared and hated the military. The general elections held in February 1960 resulted in a victory for U Nu's Pyidaungsu (Union) Party, as the AFPFL Clean faction was later renamed, despite widespread army backing for the AFPFL Stable faction. Power was transferred without incident to the new government in April 1960. Many observers view the Caretaker Government as a dress rehearsal not only for the Revolutionary Council established in March 1962, but also for the September 1988 State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), because the latter depicted itself as a transitional administration and also promised to hold a election, which took place on May 27, 1990, with unexpected results. The Union Solidarity and Development Association, founded by the SLORC in the early 1990s, bears a strong resemblance to the National Solidarity Association.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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