Rangoon, Sept. 2, Reuter — Ne Win, Driven out as Burma’s leader after 26 years by street demonstrations, is believed to still be setting the government’s policy as further protests try to wrest the country’s future from his party.

“It doesn’t really matter what name is at the top,” a western diplomat here said. “No one does anything, and no one takes an initiative that does not come from Ne Win.”

The former soldier seized power in a 1962 coup and took his countrymen down the “Burmese Road to socialism,” a unique ideology combining Marxism, Bhuddism and Isolationism, the road led to impoverishment and a police state.

Diplomats and Burmese political experts say the 77yearold Ne Win has become increasingly absorbed with his place in history and appears to have come to believe that democratic reforms are inevitable. Now, they say, he appears to have placed his Burma Socialist Programme Party in a position to reintroduce democracy, although slowly and under BSPP leadership.

Aung San Suu Kyi, an emerging opposition leader, said: “I think most people will shrug their shoulders and go ahead with their plans.” She was speaking of Thursday night’s call by NP Win’s successor, President Maung Maung, for patience while the party works out plans for democratic reform.

Article extracted from this publication >> September 9, 1988