Partyforumseasia: IFES, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, offers a broad choice of reference material. We have selected the countries in Southeast Asia for easier reading. But the world-wide comparison is helping us to avoid prima-vista conclusions. If a higher voter turnout would mean more democratic legitimation, Vietnam and Laos were twice as democratic as the United States of America. Doubts about the USA’s political system are allowed and widespread among Americans, but there is no comparison here with the remaining Communist regimes in Southeast Asia.
As IFES points out at the end of a recent article on“Global Measures of Electoral Credibility: Voter Participation and Political Finance”By Ayesha Chugh and Hani Zainulbhai,September 17, 2014 – IFES ( Link ), “While variables like voter turnout and political finance are useful, electoral credibility is ultimately a nuanced concept that requires consideration of the full context of an election.”
Indeed, but it is certainly useful to compare the different systems in the region in light of the voter turnout in the last years. The following charts are due to IFES on www.ifes.int/vt/
The regional overview (Last parliamentary elections) Compiled by Partyforumseasia
Detailed voter turnout statistics for the ten countries of Southeast Asia (Brunei has no parties) see the following page in the Partyforumseasia database:
Voter Turnout in Southeast Asia
Partyforumseasia: Globally, female representation in Parliaments stands at 21.9 percent, and at 19.0 percent in Asia, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (www.ipu.org/wmn-e/world.htm). In a new white paper the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is looking into the common problem “that women wanting to run for office have less access to resources than men”. The excellent research can be downloaded for free at the IFES website with the following Link: Political Finance and Gender Equality
The paper is very specific on electoral systems and financial regulations and their impact on campaign funding for women in a general perspective. The two concrete country studies, Tunisia and Yemen look less relevant for Southeast Asia at first glance, but provide a lot of insight nevertheless. Especially the Tunisian example shows that societies with a big gender gap in terms of political participation can improve rather fast if the political will is there. The white paper’s comparison of the MENA (Middle East North Africa) countries is interesting and cries for a similar study on Southeast Asia:
PS: Partyforumseasia’s book “Party Politics in Southeast Asia – Organization – Money – Influence” available at Amazon (link) is paying special attention to the gender attitudes in the parties.