During the first decade of the 21st century, the political situation of the country, subjected since 1962 to authoritarian regimes controlled by the armed forces, began to show some timid signs of change. In fact, in this period, the government initiated a cautious opening towards opponents, above all to cope with the pressures of the international community, on which the financial aid indispensable for the country’s economy depends, moreover completely in the hands of the various military lobbies. High schools and universities have been reopened, closed following the mobilization of the student movement, and numerous political prisoners have been released. Relations with the National League for Democracy (NLD) remained difficult, the largest opposition party led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. The latter, released in 2002 with the official guarantee of being able to resume her political activity, was again subjected to house arrest in April 2003, taking as a pretext some clashes that broke out in the north of the country after her meeting (according to some international observers artfully provoked by the army). The protests of the international community were immediate: the United States Congress and the European Parliament decreed new economic sanctions and criticisms were also expressed by the ASEAN countries (Association of south-east asian nations), traditionally unwilling to express judgments on the internal politics of the member states. At the end of August 2003 the political situation was suddenly shaken by unexpected changes, revealing a clash within the ruling hierarchies: Than Shew, head of state and prime minister, left the leadership of the government to General Khin Nyut, head of services secrets, which proposed the hypothesis of a gradual return to democracy through the drafting of a new Constitution and the holding of new elections. In May 2004 the National Convention was again convened (whose work had been interrupted in 1996), appointed to rewrite the Constitution, however, its credibility was undermined by the absence of Aung San Suu Kyi and the refusal of the NLD and representatives of some ethnic communities to take part. A new political earthquake occurred in September 2004, when Khin Nyut was arrested on corruption charges and Than Shew placed a close associate, General Soe Win, at the helm of the executive. He left office in 2007 for health reasons and was succeeded by Thein Sein. The new premier continued the process of gradual internal democratization, but did not hesitate to brutally repress the popular protests that broke out in the summer of 2007 against the increase in the cost of living. The most affected were the Buddhist monks who led the parades and promoters of the reform requests. A new Constitution was launched in February 2008, which provides for a presidential-type government with a bicameral Parliament and effectively establishes the pre-eminent role of the military, to whom the appointment of 25% of the seats in both the upper and lower chambers is reserved, as well as the appointment of the head of the armed forces, the Minister of Defense, Foreign Affairs and the Interior. In November 2010, the first parliamentary elections after those of 1990 were called. Boycotted by the NLD and considered a farce by many international observers, the regime party, the Union solidary and development party (USDP), was the winner. Thein Sein was confirmed at the helm of the new executive, the first formally civilian, and elected by Parliament as the new president. Called to initiate a concrete transition towards a democratic regime, During 2011, the new government made significant progress: many political prisoners were released, media censorship eased and negotiations were promoted with armed ethnic minority groups. In the aftermath of the consultations, Aung San Suu Kyi was released and the electoral rules were changed so as to allow the opposition leader and her party to fully re-enter the country’s political system and participate in the by-elections of the country. April 2012. The consultations marked the triumph of the National League for Democracy, which won almost all the seats up for grabs, and Aung San Suu Kyi was elected to Parliament with over 80% of the vote. The international community has positively assessed these steps forward, envisaging the possibility of reducing sanctions if the democratization process is consolidated and continues over time. The first step in this direction was taken by the European Union, which at the end of April decided to suspend the sanctions imposed on Burma for a year, with the sole exception of the arms embargo, reserving the right to verify whether the reform process will be confirmed. Aung San Suu Kyi, finally free, was able to return to travel after 24 years and started a series of meetings in Thailand and Europe where in June she received the Nobel Prize awarded to her in 1991. In September, the opposition leader was received in Washington by US Secretary of State H. Clinton, while President Thein Sein.