State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), Internal Dynamics
- Because of the secrecy of its operations and tight state control of sensitive information, knowledge of the internal political dynamics of the military SPDC junta is limited, though rumors abound. Before the purge of Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt in October 2004, he and SPDC Vice Chairman Maung Aye differed on a number of important policy issues and had their own supporters within the Tatmadaw; Khin Nyunt's power base was within Military Intelligence, while Maung Aye's was within the ranks of the regular army. The former supported limited economic opening to the outside world, close relations with the People's Republic of China, and development of the border areas where minority nationality armed groups have signed cease-fires with the central government. Maung Aye was more conservative in economic policy, suspicious of outside influences, and advocated a hard line toward the minorities. Both opposed political liberalization, but while Maung Aye and his supporters have advocated harsh treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, Secretary-1 was believed to have favored a more subtle and manipulative approach, to divide the opposition. Few observers believed that differences between the two leaders would result in a split in the Tatmadaw.Traditional Burmese political culture tends to favor strong, personal leaders, such as Ne Win. The post-Ne Win era, under both the SPDC and the previous State Law and Order Restoration Council, has been a transition period in which "collegial dictatorship" has resulted in policy paralysis and indecisiveness on such issues as economic reform. At the beginning of the 21st century, SPDC Chairman Senior General Than Shwe has emerged as Ne Win's successor as a "one man" leader, while Khin Nyunt has been purged and Maung Aye has apparently lost power. Than Shwe's worldview is deeply conservative and isolationist, and it is unlikely that he would undertake needed reforms of the political economy. Moreover, he is personally antagonistic to Daw Suu Kyi and may have had a hand in the "Black Friday" Incident of May 30, 2003, which was instigated by members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), of which he is the patron. In August 2003, Than Shwe relieved the "moderate" Khin Nyunt of his post as SPDC Secretary-1, appointing him prime minister. This was seen by most Burma watchers as a demotion. Khin Nyunt's arrest and dismissal as prime minister 14 months later confimed his waning power, rather than representing a sudden, fundamental change in SPDC factional dynamics.With most of Khin Nyunt's Military Intelligence subordinates forcibly retired or arrested, it seemed that Than Shwe had further consolidated his power, and that his most loyal subordinates, Prime Minister Soe Win and General Thura Shwe Mann, are also in the ascendant. With a single line of authority running from Than Shwe through his subordinates to the rank and file below, the period of SPDC transition and "collegial dictatorship" may be over.
Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). Donald M. Seekins . 2014.
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State Peace and Development Council — (SPDC) Established on November 15, 1997, the State Peace and Development Council is the successor of the original post 1988 martial law regime, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). In Burmese, its name is Naing ngandaw Aye… … Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar)
Border Area Development — A policy adopted by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in 1989 after the military government negotiated cease fires with breakaway ethnic components of the Communist Party of Burma. The cease fire groups, of which the largest… … Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar)
Introduction — When Burma (Myanmar) achieved independence from British colonial rule in 1948, many observers viewed it with its high standards of education and abundant natural resources as one of the Asian countries most likely to achieve economic… … Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar)
Black Friday Incident — (May 30, 2003) While returning from a visit to Kachin State, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) were attacked by a large gang of men armed with bamboo staves and other crude weapons near the town of… … Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar)
Khin Nyunt — (1939 ) From 1988 to 2003, first secretary (Secretary1) of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, known before November 1997 as the State Law and Order Restoration Council, or SLORC) and director general of Military Intelligence (MI … Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar)
Than Shwe — (1933 ) Senior general, chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), and concurrently commander in chief of the Defence Services, minister of defence, and minister of agriculture. He also served as prime minister until this… … Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar)
Maung Aye, General — (1940 ) Vice chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), he graduated with the first class of the Defence Services Academy in 1959. During the 1980s, he served as head of Regional Military Commands and became deputy… … Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar)
Soe Win — Lieutenant general, commander of the Air Force, and First Secretary (Secretary 1) of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). Following the purge of Khin Nyunt in October 2004, he was also appointed Burma s prime minister. A graduate of … Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar)
Coup D'Etat Attempt - 2002 — (March 2002) On March 7, 2002, the son in law of Ne Win, Aye Zaw Win, and his three grandsons, Aye Ne Win, Kyaw Ne Win, and Zwe Ne Win, were arrested on charges of plotting the overthrow of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).… … Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar)