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“A Win-Win Scenario for General Prayut” by Termsak Chalermpalanupap

2019/14, 4 February 2019 Thai junta leader and Prime Minister General Prayut Chanocha has made up his mind. But he has only revealed this much: if he wants to stay on in power, he will allow the Phalang Pracharat Party to list him as a candidate for the premiership in…
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“Who Set the Parameters of Monastic Politics in Myanmar?” by Nyi Nyi Kyaw

2019/13, 31 January 2019 Monastic politics — Theravada Buddhist monks’ and by extension nuns’ participation in the electoral realm as voters, founders and members of political parties, or professional politicians — has been banned in Myanmar since the country’s independence in 1948. Each of its three constitutions has prohibited monks…
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"The Election Rallies to Come in Thailand" by Michael J. Montesano

2019/12, 30 January 2019 January 23 brought publication of the long-awaited royal decree making it possible for Thailand’s Election Commission to set a date for parliamentary polls. The following day, wasting no time in launching their campaign, supporters of the Democrat Party appeared in a market in the major Southern…
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"The Perils of an Unrestrained Trump" by Daljit Singh

2019/11, 28 January 2019 President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and General Mattis’s resignation as Defence Secretary were greeted with dismay and unease by America’s allies and friends in the Middle East. The President’s stated rationale for the withdrawal --- that the Islamic State (IS) had been…
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"China: Growing Engagement, Growing Risk" by Malcolm Cook

2019/10, 28 January 2019 The Philippines is in campaign mode for the May mid-term elections. Campaign periods bring into sharper relief points of perceived vulnerability for the incumbent government. In the past week, three points of vulnerability related to the President Duterte’s close embrace of China have come to the…
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"Why is Malaysia Slow to Ratify the CPTPP?" by Tham Siew Yean

2019/9, 28 January 2019 Malaysia joined the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the third round of negotiations in October 2010 and signed the agreement in February 2016 with 11 other founding members. The exit of the US from the TPP-12 is a big loss for Malaysia as it is the…
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"Communist Party of Vietnam Laying the Groundwork for New Leadership" by Ha Hoang Hop and Lye Liang Fook

2019/8, 25 January 2019 The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), into the second half of its 12th Congress term, has started to plan a new leadership for its next term from 2021-26. Since the three-day-long Ninth Plenum in early December 2018, the Politburo has held a few meetings to review…
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"Is the Participation of Buddhist Monks in Thai Politics still Taboo?" by Katewadee Kulabkaew

2019/7, 25 January 2019 Buddhist monks are known as world renouncers. In Thailand, the ideal monk has nothing to do with worldly matters, including impure activities like the lust for power or with materialistic concerns like politics. But throughout the past two decades, Thai monks are getting more involved in…
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"Delayed Elections and Growing Frustrations in Northeastern Thailand" by Saowanee T. Alexander

2019/7, 22 January 2019 Since the partial lifting of the ban on political gatherings in mid-December 2018, and despite uncertainty over whether polls will actually take place this year, Thailand’s Northeast has begun readying itself for long-awaited elections to choose a new government. Most of my interviews with voters about…
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"First Indonesia Presidential Debate in 2019: What’s Missing?" by Budi Irawanto

2019/6, 21 January 2019The first in a series of presidential debates between Joko Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin and Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno kicked off on 17 January 2019. The session focused on law, human rights, democracy and terrorism issues. It was broadcasted by major television stations in Indonesia. Prior to the debate, there…
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