The Myanmar elections of November 2010 sparked many major reforms in governance and served as a catalyst for peace-building in the country. Most notably, the elections initiated a shift from the country’s long-standing military rule to a civilian-dominated parliament. It also prompted the signing of cease-fire agreements with nearly all armed ethnic groups.
The legacy from decades of military rule continues to hamper socio-economic growth in the country. A household survey conducted by the U.N. Development Program in 2010 reveals that a quarter of the population still does not have enough resources to meet basic living needs. The U.K. Department for International Development has cited the significant challenges in Myanmar’s health sector, with high rates of malaria, malnutrition and tuberculosis. Years of conflict have also resulted in more than half a million displaced people both internally and overseas, increasing social tensions and the propensity for a resurgence of violence in the country.