ASEAN: Outlook for 2020 Part 1

2019 proved to be a tumultuous year for the region. Some ASEAN countries faced major challenges. For example, Indonesia was, yet again, struck by disasters multiple times. But it was also a time when several countries were navigating their respective democratic paths.

2 January 2020

Ten ‘unlawfully killed’ in Indonesia riots

Ten people, including several teenagers, were killed in Indonesia’s post-election riots, the human rights commission said Tuesday, as it accused police of beating up protesters.In its final report on the May riots, the agency Komnas HAM said four victims were underage and most had been shot in the capital Jakarta and demonstrations in Kalimantan, Indonesia’s section of Borneo island.Indonesia’s rights commission called on police to find the perpetrators, who it suspected were “actors trained,

30 October 2019

Is Thailand facing economic uncertainty?

Thailand’s economy may be in for far more turbulence than anticipated after the March elections. Social unrest has risen and consumer confidence has sagged since the poll, which this month saw parliament return junta leader General Prayut Chan-o-cha to power. Critics have denounced the election as rigged in favour of the pro-military camp, and foreign investors are holding back.

17 June 2019

Confirmed: Indonesia's Jokowi wins second term

Indonesia's Joko Widodo won another term as president of the world's third-biggest democracy, official results showed Tuesday, after his rival Prabowo Subianto, a retired general, alleged widespread cheating.The elections commission was expected to announce the final tally of the 17 April poll on Wednesday in the Southeast Asian nation of 260 million.But amid fears about unrest and street demonstrations in response to the final count, the official result was released early with litt

21 May 2019

Australia in shock as Conservatives win

Australia's ruling conservative coalition appeared to secure a shock election win Saturday, with the party predicted to have defied expectations and retained power.National broadcaster ABC called the election for Prime Minister Scott Morrison's coalition, although it was not clear if he would lead a minority or majority government.The result is a monumental upset and a failure of pollsters, who put the opposition Labor party under Bill Shorten in pole position.Some bookies had paid

19 May 2019

Duterte’s allies crush the opposition

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's allies were poised for victory in midterm polls, unofficial results showed Tuesday, signalling firm approval of his rule and clearing a path for his most controversial plans.Duterte's deadly crackdown on narcotics has drawn international censure, but is central to the populist appeal that has buoyed his remarkable popularity among Filipinos since taking the presidency in 2016.In Monday's vote, administration loyalist candidates for the Sen

14 May 2019

Thailand set for a pro-junta government

Thailand’s official election results due this week are set to boost a push by a pro-military party to form a governing coalition, unless an imminent court ruling complicates the picture.The party, Palang Pracharath, is a proxy for the military government and is duelling for power with an anti-junta alliance.

7 May 2019

China in Indonesia election spotlight

Indonesia has become the latest election battleground for Beijing's soaring economic clout, as the opposition warns pro-China policies are saddling the mineral-rich archipelago with bad debt as it is sold off piecemeal to foreign interests.Business links with top trade partner China have been thrust into the spotlight by ex-general Prabowo Subianto who is challenging Indonesian leader Joko Widodo for the presidency of Southeast Asia's largest economy on Wednesday.Trailing by double

15 April 2019

Cash could crash Indonesia elections

Money is one of the greatest enemies of democracy. This especially rings true in Indonesia which will soon see one of its biggest elections ever this Wednesday. Last month, Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested Bowo Sidik Pangarso, a member of the House of Representatives (DPR) in the alleged bribe case of the cooperation between PT Pupuk Indonesia Logistik and PT Humpuss Transportasi Kimia.

13 April 2019

Hoax busters: Fighting fake news in Indonesia

A small army of "hoax busters" in Indonesia is trying to hold the line against a swarm of fake news that threatens to sway millions of voters as the world's third-biggest democracy heads to the polls.While many countries fret about the explosion of online falsehoods, observers say Indonesia's enormous social media audience – and low levels of digital literacy – make its 17 April polls particularly vulnerable.A whopping 130 million people – about half the population – spend

9 April 2019

Thai pro-marijuana party in high demand

A super-wealthy construction scion who ran a pro-marijuana platform ahead of Thailand’s election has emerged as a highly courted candidate as two main parties need his allegiance – and party seats – after the disputed vote.The Bhumjaithai Party – meaning "Thai Pride" – is fronted by mega-wealthy Anutin Charnvirakul, an amateur pilot, son of a construction tycoon and unlikely proponent of the medical benefits of marijuana.Thailand held its first election since a 2014 coup last month,

4 April 2019

Thailand elections: What could happen next?

A coup leader triumphs as a civilian prime minister, an alliance of parties unite to stop him, or a parliamentary deadlock forces another political crisis – the outcome of Thailand's disputed election remains undecided a week after the poll.So, what next?

1 April 2019