After the elections last week in Myanmar, where the opposition won most of the seats up for grabs, there was apprehension that the military government would accept the election results. The fears were unfounded as the President of Myanmar said the elections were "very successful" even though his party was the loser. This is consistent with my view that the hardline is being dropped so that economic sanctions will be lifted by the US and EU.
The Asean secretariat and Cambodia praised the election, and Cambodia, the Asean chair, called for Western nations to lift the economic and political sanctions imposed on Myanmar because of repression by its previous military regime, the AP reported.
Meanwhile, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, presidential adviser Ko Ko Hlaing said the outcome could actually help strengthen the hand of reformers by showing conservative politicians they have to do more to change.
Despite losing at the polls, "we have gotten credibility and legitimacy for holding the vote," he said. Now, dissenters within the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party "have to accept it because this is the new reality," he said. "They have to realize their failure and revise their strategy to get ready" for Myanmar's next elections in 2015, he said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said sanctions wil be lifted as a result of the elections and other reforms.
The United States has declared it will stand by Burma's reformers, announcing an easing of restrictions on investments and other rewards for the impoverished nation after last weekend's sweeping by-election victory by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the ''leadership and courage'' of Burma's President Thein Sein, a former army general, after the byelection that will result in Ms Suu Kyi entering parliament and become opposition leader for the first time.
''The United States will stand with the reformers and democrats both inside the government and in the larger civil society as they work together for that more hopeful future that is the right of every single person,'' Mrs Clinton said.
The EU has also called for an easing of economic sanctions.
The European Union may lift some sanctions on Myanmar after Sunday's elections but will keep up pressure for the release of remaining political prisoners, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Wednesday.
As I said in previous articles I expect economic sanctions to be lifted this year and then it will be off to the races to get into Myanmar.