Skip to main content

A look back: Key events in Myanmar's history

  • Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962
  • Junta-ruled country to hold first elections in 20 years
  • Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi not allowed to run
  • Her party won a landslide victory in 1990, but junta rejected results

Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, has been under military rule since 1962. Critics say the November 7 elections -- its first in two decades -- aim to create a facade of democracy.

The constitution requires more than 100 military nominees in parliament, which critics say is aimed at tightening the regime's grip on the Southeast Asian nation.

Democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi has said she will not vote in the elections.

Her party won a landslide election victory in 1990, but the military junta rejected the results.

Gallery: Myanmar's first elections in two decades

The regime recently passed a law that made Suu Kyi ineligible to run because of a court conviction. The Nobel laureate has called the law unjust. Her supporters have said the conviction was a way to remove her from the election campaign.

Suu Kyi has spent most of the past 20 years under house arrest. The new law forced her party, the National League for Democracy, to choose between honoring her as its leader and risking the party being declared illegal -- or ejecting Suu Kyi from the party and contesting the election. It decided to skip the race.

Read CNN reporter's firsthand account of Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis

Part of complete coverage on
China, India key to Myanmar reform
Activist Aung San Suu Kyi has made a passionate plea to build democracy in Myanmar, but do China and India hold key to change?
Release a catalyst for change?
Nyi Nyi Aung learned the news just before sunrise Saturday: the woman who has inspired him in his two-decade-long struggle was free.
Suu Kyi: Symbol of hope
She is small but only in physical stature. Aung San Suu Kyi is the very embodiment of Myanmar's long struggle for democracy.
Myanmar's recent history
Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, has been under military rule since 1962.
Cyclone exposed secrets
Amid the destruction of Nargis, CNN was able to see firsthand the spirit of Myanmar's people.
Junta's grip on economy
Analysts say "bad governance" has led to the development of two parallel economies.