No money no vote in Indonesia election

When Indonesian authorities arrested a politician with some 400,000 cash-filled envelopes, it was a stark reminder that a long-time election staple is alive and well in the corruption-riddled country –vote buying.Bowo Sidik Pangarso was detained last month for alleged embezzlement from a fertiliser firm, but officials also discovered the lawmaker had boxes stuffed with envelopes of low-denomination notes totalling about eight billion rupiah (US$565,000).Graft-busters suspect the cash was earm

10 April 2019

Female fans in pursuit of Jokowi

Tears stream down Lilis Hastirini's mascara-smudged face after she waited hours to snap a selfie with Indonesia's president, only to be thwarted by a crush of other female fans with the same idea.It is a take-no-prisoners battle on the election trail in this selfie-mad nation, where few shots count more than a close up with "everyman" leader Joko Widodo, a former furniture salesman who rose from a riverside slum to high office.Hastirini was among some 10,000 other desperat

8 April 2019

Many Thai election winners to be disqualified

Thailand's Election Commission said Friday that scores of candidates who were tipped to secure elected seats in last month's contentious polls are under investigation and could be disqualified, in a move that could shift yet-to-be-released final results.The commission has come under fire for bungling ballot counts and delaying official results following the much-anticipated 24 March election, the first since a 2014 military coup. The election has pitted the junta-backed Pal

6 April 2019

Jokowi gambles on rural voters

For Siti Mutmainah, a government cash handout of 800,000 rupiah (US$56) every quarter has turned her family’s life around, putting health care and education for her two children well within her reach.Mutmainah’s family is one of the 10 million households – or just over 15 percent of the country –benefiting from Indonesia’s ‘family hope program’, known as PKH, first introduced in 2007 to end the cycle of poverty among the country’s most vulnerable.President Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, almost

5 April 2019

Nine Thais arrested for election 'fake news'

Nine people have been arrested in Thailand for spreading "fake news" on Facebook with posts about sacked election officials and bogus ballots in the wake of controversial polls in the kingdom.Junta-ruled Thailand held its first vote since a 2014 coup on Sunday, with a military-backed party and its main rival linked to a self-exiled billionaire both claiming the right to govern. Fully ratified results will not be confirmed for weeks but questions are mounting over election i

29 March 2019

Seven-party Thai coalition to challenge junta

Seven political parties formed a coalition in Thailand on Wednesday, vowing to thwart a military-backed proxy in a bid to end years of junta rule following the country's first election since a 2014 coup.A junta-aligned party and its main rival have both claimed the right to govern the country after Sunday's vote, prompting a political standoff.Questions over irregularities are swirling following invalidated ballots and accusations of skewed numbers.Pheu Thai, affiliated with self-ex

28 March 2019

Rising star bets his fortune on defeating Jokowi

Indonesia’s Sandiaga Uno has spent nearly US$100 million of his private equity fortune to defeat Joko Widodo in next month’s election. It may be a down payment on his own presidential ambitions.Just a few years ago, Uno was relatively unknown in Indonesian politics.

27 March 2019

Thai parties to form democracy 'coalition'

Thai pro-democracy factions on Tuesday moved to unite and thwart a junta-backed party from forming a government after the first election since a 2014 coup.The junta appeared to be in pole position to return to power as a civilian administration after preliminary results from Sunday's poll showed its proxy party had secured an unexpected majority of the popular vote.Around 7.6 million votes went to Phalang Pracharath with 94 percent of ballots tallied, the Election Commission has said.Tha

27 March 2019

Thaksin says junta 'rigged' Thai election

Thailand's election was "rigged" to ensure the military retain their grip on power, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, a towering behind-the-scenes figure in the politically turbulent kingdom, said on Monday.Junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha, an arch foe of ousted billionaire tycoon Thaksin, appears poised for victory after his army-linked party made a strong showing in Sunday's poll, aided by a new constitution that gives him a head start.Election officials delayed without e

26 March 2019

Junta party takes shock lead in Thai election

Thailand's ruling junta took an unexpected lead in the country's first election since a 2014 coup with more than 90 percent of ballots counted, election authorities said late Sunday, putting it on course to return to power at the expense of the kingdom's pro-democracy camp.The election, which saw an insipid 64 percent turnout, was held under new laws written by the military to smooth its transformation into a civilian government.While it had set the rules of the game in its fav

25 March 2019

Thai King warns people on eve of elections

Polls opened Sunday for the first Thai election since a 2014 coup, with a high turnout expected among a public who received a cryptic last-minute warning from the Thai king to support "good" leaders to prevent "chaos."All television stations repeated the rare statement by King Maha Vajiralongkorn moments before polls opened across the politically turbulent country.Sunday's election pits a royalist junta and its allies against the election-winning machine of billionair

24 March 2019

Thai junta scrambles for seats

Itthipol Khunpleum grabs the mic, bounds onto the stage and flashes a winning smile as he works the crowd gathered for a final rally: "Chonburi...show me your hands!" he says to wild applause.But he need not have bothered.

23 March 2019