Japan’s election: Abe is the best option for peace and stability in East Asia

Written by Alex Calvo. The announcement of an early election in Japan has been accompanied by intense debate on the state of the country’s economy and the success or otherwise of the package of policies known as “Abenomics”. While the economy is likely to remain the focus of the election campaign, we should be aware …

Thailand’s intractable crisis of political community

Written by Carlo Bonura. Reflecting on Thailand’s political crisis over the last two months, many foreign observers have questioned the democratic credentials of the protest movement opposed to the powerful political influence of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.  In one remarkable instance in January 2014, journalist John Sparks from the UK’s Channel 4 interviewed protest …

Boycotting Thailand’s Elections: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Written by Thomas Pepinsky. Thailand’s political crisis shows no signs of abating in the wake of its recent elections. Careful analyses by longtime observers such as Duncan McCargo and Thongchai Winichakul remind us that the main axis of conflict is between conservative, Bangkok-centered interests and the newly assertive voters of the provinces. Many issues are …

GE13: The view from the ground

Written by William Case Malaysia’s 13th general election has been portrayed by many analysts in hopeful ways: the best prospect ever for opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim to win the prime ministership; a chance at last for democratic change; and an end to the country’s insidious ‘race-based’ politics. Just now, I am in the southern state …

GE13 – The view from Singapore

Written by Derek da Cunha. Malaysia’s 13th General Election is being observed with a great deal of interest and fascination by its southern neighbour, Singapore. This is not least because the historical experience shared by both countries goes back to colonial days under the British and then later when Singapore was, for a short time, part …

Ethnic Politics and the Challenge of PKR

Written by Thomas Pepinsky. As Malaysia’s thirteenth general elections approach, all eyes are on the two coalitions: the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat. Once again, the master scripts of Malaysian politics—ethnicity and redistribution—lie at the heart of each coalition’s platform. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s 1Malaysia campaign endeavors to convince Malaysians that …

The Inescapable Draw of Communalism in the Malaysian Elections

Written by Joseph Chinyong Liow. Ethnic identity and communal interests have always been a defining feature of Malaysian politics. This is perhaps most profoundly illustrated in the composition of the ruling National Front coalition which governs the country. Consisting of more than fourteen political parties, the Front is to all intents and purposes anchored by three …