Analysis: Despite her popularity Aung San Suu Kyi never had leverage to curb military’s power

A military checkpoint in Naypyitaw, MyanmarSince the 2015 elections, the power of the military has barely diminished at all. Photograph: Reuters
Since her election as Myanmar’s de facto leader in 2015, Aung San Suu Kyi’s position has always been a precarious one. For all the international celebration of Myanmar’s transition to democracy after half a century of military rule, in reality the power of the military barely diminished at all. The threat of a coup, the fallback position of the military for decades, had always lingered.

For the past five years, Aung San Suu Kyi has governed Myanmar on the basis of a 2008 constitution drawn up by the military themselves. It enshrined military power, allowing them to appoint 25% of seats in parliament, and preserve their interests while curbing some of the crucial powers of the democratically elected leader of the government.