Do the generals really believe they have time to refashion a pseudo-democratic system, as they tried to do 20 years ago, keeping their hands on the levers of power even after an election, and this time without the wild card of the wildly popular Ms Suu Kyi to contend with? It took 24 years, from the last, violent power seizure by the army in 1988, to the final release of Aung San Suu Kyi, and then her agreement to take part in the military-led transition to democracy in 2012. That ushered in the first period of relative political freedom enjoyed by Myanmar since the 1950s.

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