Five days later, the new Prime Minister gave an encouraging clue by delivering a speech with a reformist message. He announced a seven point "roadmap for democracy" that envisaged a new constitution and the first national elections since 1990, when the junta overturned a landslide by the National League for Democracy and put the party's leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest for six years. Khin Nyunt was vague, however, on such crucial details as when the elections would be held.
But even if the new Prime Minister evolves as the Dr. Jekyll of Burma, he's surrounded by plenty of Mr. Hydes. Than Shwe is still chairman of the powerful military-controlled State Peace and Development Council (SPCD) and commander-in-chief of the armed forces; he ordered Suu Kyi's most recent arrest. More ominous: the Orwellian-sounding position of Secretary One in the SPCD, a top post vacated by Khin Nyunt last week, was given to Soe Win, a known hard-liner. A vital piece of the puzzle is missing, though: Khin Nyunt may be Prime Minister, but if he was forced to resign as head of military intelligence, he'll have lost his power base. For now, that's a detail only the junta knows for sure.