False Hope for the Alliance of Hope?


Partyforumseasia: 

With the wild rumors swirling about an early date for the next general election in Malaysia, everybody wonders about the chances of the opposition to win in its third attempt. 2008 and 2013 saw important advances against the ruling National Front (Barisan Nasional or BN) coalition, but the gerrymandered election system, expensive gifts to certain voter groups, clever fear mongering, and insufficient co-ordination among the opposition parties kept UMNO and BN comfortably in power.

Prime minister Najib Razak, who is also president of UMNO, quite shrewdly managed to dismantle the People’s Pact (Pakatan Rakyat or PR) by eliminating its leader Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy prime minister, probably the only politician who could unite the opposition. The seventy-year-old leading figure of the People’s Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Rakyat), is still in jail with a controversial conviction for sodomy and banned from politics for five years. For the ruling BN coalition, the end of the Pakatan Rakyat in 2015 was a dream come true.

PM Najib, in the meantime, had other dangerous problems. The 1MDB financial scandal with billions disappeared from this state fund and hundreds of millions discovered in the prime minister’s private accounts would have led to his resignation or unseating in most other political systems. Not so in Malaysia. With remarkable cold blood and chutzpah, Najib has not only survived the storm so far but cemented his leadership in party and coalition as well.

But the opposition is reorganizing itself as well. And 91-year-old veteran politician and former long-term prime minister Mahathir Mohamad is playing an interesting role in this new game. He has left UMNO and started a new party, the United Indigenous Party (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia or PPBM) and just joined the new opposition coalition, the Alliance of Hope (Pakatan Harapan).
This new coalition unites now four opposition parties, namely Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the Democratic Action Party (DAP), a Chinese-dominated party with a socialist approach, the National Trust Party (Parti Amanah Negara), a splinter from Islamist PAS, and Mahathir’s PPBM as newest member since 20 March. The PH coalition is planning to optimize its forces by campaigning with a common logo and without competing against each other in any constituency.

With PAS keeping a hostile distance toward Pakatan Harapan because of the “anti-Malay” DAP and the “renegade” Amanah, the opposition has lost a former ally with a stable number of seats in the national parliament. The BN coalition of UMNO and twelve component parties holds 132 of the 222 seats. To oust BN and PM Najib, the opposition would need at least 112 seats. This looks like a tall order at the moment, up from 75 in the sitting parliament.

The next general election is formally only due by August 2018, but in the British tradition, the prime minister can call it earlier at his discretion and sense of opportunity. Najib is obviously playing the guessing game for all, has started the BN campaign machinery, and, most importantly, has survived the financial scandal so far with gaining more strength and power in his own party and coalition. His power to fire any internal critic and any civil servant or legal office bearer, and his grip on the government’s and the party’s cash flows, make him look more or less unbeatable. Large parts of the population, especially his Malay vote banks, seem to be relatively unfazed by the financial scandal, and the new proximity with PAS and its Islamist hudud (Muslim criminal punishments) project makes it even more difficult for the opposition.

But no election victory is ever guaranteed. With all the instruments in his hand, from the Election Commission to the money supply and distribution, the prime minister may still be feel too sure about winning. If the Pakatan Harapan coalition manages to unite and avoid all three cornered fights, and, of course, find the appropriate central message to the voters, nothing can be excluded.

Which New Power Arrangements in the Philippines?


Partyforumseasia:    With the high voter turnout of 81.62 percent, president-elect Duterte’s landslide lead was so clear that his victory could be announced long before all votes had been properly counted. The very successful electronic vote counting system left no doubts only 17 hours after the polling stations closed when already 95 percent of the results were available to the Election Commission (Comelec). Technically and organizationally, this is an admirable success story. Runners up Mar Roxas and Grace Poe gracefully conceded defeat immediately and congratulated Duterte.

Leni R

Vice president elect Leni Robredo

The race for the vice-presidency, which is a separate election in the Philippines, not a running mate solution like in other presidential systems, turned out to be a more complicated story. Only on Friday, May 20th, at 7 p.m., eleven days after the election, the paper thin lead of Leni Robredo was finally confirmed by the Comelec. She won over Ferdinand Marcos, eldest son of the infamous dictator with the same name, with just 263,473 votes. This is a mere .92 percent of all 28.57 million valid votes, but clear enough. With some local results contested or coming in late from remote islands, the lead was sometimes attributed to Marcos and sometimes to Robredo. She can now smile, first for herself and her victory, but also for possibly keeping open a door into the new government for her party, the Liberal Party of the Philippines (LP).

President-elect Duterte, who will take over from president Aquino end of June, had offered her a post in his cabinet but changed his mind already. He may have preferred Marcos. Duterte is considered to be a social democrat and open to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), to which he has offered four cabinet portfolios, namely agrarian reform, social welfare, environment and natural resources, and labor. “Thanking his former student for the “magnanimous offer,” exiled CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison politely declined the cabinet positions, clarifying, however, that the offer would be studied seriously.” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 21st, 2016, LINK).
A government with Socialists and Communists would be quite a game changer in the Philippines and threaten the cozy power arrangements of the elites and the traditional politicians called “trapos“. Duterte himself is backed by his party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan or PDP Laban with now 82 out of 292 seats in the House of Representatives.PDP-Laban_logoThey have already signed a coalition agreement with the conservative Nacionalista Party (20 MP’s and 5 senators), the center right National Unity Party (24 MP’s) and the conservative Nationalist People’s Coalition (36 Mp’s and 2 senators). Altogether 162 members of Parliament will give Duterte already a comfortable majority of 55 percent, but the opportunistic political tradition will certainly see more elected members switch into the presidential camp.
A big question is now whether Leni Robredo as vice president will open a door for her Liberal Party which, otherwise, would lose all the jobs in government and administration it held during the six Aquino years. In terms of ideology and compatibility it might look awkward to coalesce with Socialists and Communists, but since at the end ideology is not that important, not in the Philippines and no longer in Western democracies, a flexible solution will be found. May it help the country  to catch up and improve the living conditions of the neglected part of the 100 million Phillipinos.

Philippines Political History

A timeline of the country’s governments since 1945 (The Economist)

 

Malaysia: Mahathir’s or Najib’s War of Attrition?


King

Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, King of Malaysia

Partyforumseasia: So far, Prime Minister Najib Razak has managed to weather the months of heavy political head winds with remarkable cold blood. His former mentor turned nemesis, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, so far, has been the driving force in a sort of “Oust-Najib-Movement” and recently brought together a group of Najib enemies described in the Malaysian media as “strange bedfellows”, especially because Mahathir’s earlier victim, Anwar Ibrahim, has joined from behind bars. He has been imprisoned under Mahathir and is now serving a five year term under Najib, again for alleged sodomy and again perceived as politically motivated.

Last Monday, 7th March, in a speech at the opening of parliament, Malaysia’s 88-year-old King, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, “told Malaysian legislators that they should stop playing politics of narrow interests, as this has gone on for so long that it has become stressful for the people and the government.” (Asia One).  Given the circumstances of the entrenched war between the PM and his domestic foes, the king’s admonition sounds rather in support of Najib and very probably won’t end the war of attrition by Mahathir and partners including the opposition. But Mahathir has a credibility problem himself. Many Najsee him guilty of starting the level of money politics he is accusing Najib of, only that Najib with the hundreds of millions in his private accounts has pushed it to unprecedented levels and triggered international suspicion.

Money politics under Najib: If the king may not wield much political influence, there are other strong arguments for the Prime Minister’s supporters in the UMNO party hierarchy to keep the number of defectors relatively small. “He didn’t invent the system but Najib has perfected the art of sleaze”, writes the AsiaSentinel on 2 March (Link), and continues with very concrete figures:

“Once a month, each of the 191 loyal district chiefs that make up the hierarchy of the United Malays National Organization receives RM50,000 for “expenses.” It doesn’t come from Malaysia’s fiscal budget. It comes from Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal accounts at Ambank in KL. Multiplied out, that totals RM114.6 million annually (US$27.498 million). It is a system that has sustained party loyalty through several premiers for 35 years, if Najib is to be believed, and it points to the deep, long-running corruption of the entire Malaysian political system. It is just part of what keeps Najib in power against the combined investigations of five countries on allegations of money laundering, fraud and bribery.”

The Wall Street Journal is also in the forefront of questioning PM Najib’s personal finances by publishing beginning of March new estimations that he has more than a billion US$ in his personal accounts and that much of it originates from the mismanaged and debt-ridden 1MDB investment fund whose board of advisers happens to be chaired by Mr. Najib.

In regional comparison money politics and patronage are common and sophisticated. Members of parliament as well as local office bearers of political parties are expected to “help” their voters, from waving parking tickets to funding businesses. But it seems that relatively rich Malaysia has reached levels which a majority of voters is no longer prepared to condone. Najib seems to be in control so far, not least because the opposition is divided, but the scandals may change the public mood so much against UMNO that Najib will be more of a liability than until today.
Strategy-wise, though, Najib follows the (immoral) textbook prescriptions: Business as usual, deny everything until you can’t deny it any more and in thin slices, attack the attackers, and eliminate your internal enemies.

Political “Dynasties” in Southeast Asia


Partyforumseasia: Political families are not uncommon in party politics, take for example the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush and his son, the 43d President, George W. In Europe it happens less on the top level, but often enough in regional and local politics. The corruption and enrichment scandal in Indonesia’s Banten province and the remarkable career of Mukhriz Mahathir in Malaysia have brought the issue back into the media. MukhrizIn the Mukhriz case two narrowly lost elections, his candidacy for one of UMNO’s vice-presidential posts and the recent by-election in the federal state of Kedah, where he supported the local party candidate, are interpreted as defeat and the campaign support by his father Mahathir Mohamad, 88, a liability, signalling the end of father Mahathir’s overpowering influence in Malaysia’s and UMNO’s politics.
RatuThe Banten case (already posted by Partyforumseasia) has much broader ramifications with family members of the governor Ms Ratu Atut holding seats in the national parliament, mayors, deputy regents and numerous business positions close to politics and administration. Continuing practices of money politics remind many Indonesians too much of Suharto’s family clan and the enrichment of his sons.
If the Banten-related corruption case involving the chief justice of the Constitutional Court should turn out as the tip of the iceberg, as it looks like, it will be more than difficult to fight family dynasties and money politics throughout the huge Indonesian archipelago.
By the way: Partyforumseasia has other (possible) family dynasties on its radar:
Thailand: Not only sister Yingluck, but also son Panthongtae Shinawatra
Malaysia: Mukhriz Mahathir from UMNO and Nik Abduh from PAS
Singapore: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, a successful succession with a long break after his father resigned.

Unity Government in Malaysia: Extended Wayang Kulit?


Najib denies
najib 2Partyforumseasia: Compromising after the bitterness of the GE 13 election last May cannot be easy for opposition leader Anwar nor for PM Najib, the latter even stabbed in the back by UMNO godfather Mahathir. And before a solution has been found it would not be clever to leak details one by one. A power-sharing solution won’t be easy to swallow for party members on both sides but would probably be conducive for the social cohesion of Malaysia. UMNO would be well advised to swallow its pride since it has to change dramatically if it wants to survive. A majority of the voters has given them a clear signal.

Source: Straits Times 17.08.2013

Malaysia: DAP Can’t Win Against RoS


DAP 1Partyforumseasia: The GE 13 election results have been a big shot in the arm for the DAP. But ignoring the Registry of Societies’ verdict on the internal party elections could not be a viable policy, as different as the internal perception may have been. The danger of being deregistered seems to have changed the minds of the leadership.
As in most similar cases the complaint to the RoS came from disgruntled members of the party. Internal party elections regularly highlight and reveal the ambitions of members and candidates which, more often than not, do not overlap with their image and popularity. Standing for elections is a highly emotional risk and affects the sensitive egos of party activists.

DAP 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source / Link: Straits Times 16.08.2013

Malaysia: Compromise between BN and PR?


Partyforumseasia:Political contestation is as normal in democratic multi-party systems as eventual compromise. National unity governments have helped to reconcile the competitors after bitter election campaigns. Channels of dialogue should be the very least that voters can expect from politicians who declare themselves as patriots and want to serve the country. This is why many fingers should be crossed when signals of dialogue between PM Najib and opposition leader Anwar ( or PM Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy in the Cambodian case) become visible.
See (link) Asia Sentinel 12 August 2013
NajibAnwar

Cambodia: A Surprise in the Pipeline???


Partyforumseasia does not like fortune-telling but the political timeline for the last few weeks looks a bit like indicating a surprise solution:

Mid July
Royal Pardon for Sam Rainsy at the request of PM Hun Senin a spirit of reconciliation

19th July
Triumphant return of Sam Rainsy after four years in exile to avoid imprisonment after a dubious sentence he calls politically motivated

28th July
Election results with heavy losses for the ruling CPP and significant gains for the opposition under Sam Rainsy: 68 seats CPP – 55 seats CNRP

29th July
Press conference of Sam Rainsy: “We are asking for this (investigation into alleged massive irregularities) not to bargain for positions in the government
(Source: Straits times Indochina Bureau Chief Nirmal Gosh, who continues: “He (Sam Rainsy) said it was “premature” to talk about power sharing in the new government.”)

31st July
PM Hun Sen: “The Cambodian People’s Party has an open heart to talk to the CNRP” Background: The CPP has not enough seats to convene parliament and needs the CNRP’s cooperation…

Soon???
– A grand coalition between CPP and CNRP in the national interest of the country?
Sam Rainsy finance minister? or better Foreign Minister?
Partyforumseasia: Probably not a bad solution for Cambodia!

Hun Sam

What is Internet Voting?


Partyforumseasia: Since personal identification techniques are working well with banking services or tax returns, internet voting may be the next step to facilitate a higher voter turnout or make the voting more convenient in remote places.
ballot boxBenjamin Goldsmith, Election Technology Adviser with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems gives an overview on the developments in this field:     

Source/Link:    IFES 17 July 2013
PC

Cambodia: Sam Rainsy Back Home to Challenge Hun Sen?


RainsyPartyforumseasia: Yesterday, 7 July 2013, Sam Rainsy has announced his return to Cambodia.  See his Facebook page.

The country will be going to the polls on 28 July and – as usual – Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is expected to win big. The long term ruling party is well prepared with a total penetration of the administration and its control of media and economy. Could opposition leader Sam Rainsy be Hun Sen’s nemesis this time? Rainsy lives in exile since 2009 to avoid imprisonment up to eleven years after a dubious conviction, but the internet allows him constant contact with his party. And this time the opposition has managed to unite in the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP).
Sam Rainsy is the only Cambodian politician with the format and popularity to challenge PM Hun Sen, whose official title is as impressive as his long term grip on power: “The Noble, Supreme, Great, and All Powerful Commander-in-Chief, Prime Minister Hun Sen”. But many Cambodians resent the cronyism and corruption of the CPP regime and the evident nepotism in the Prime Minister’s family.

Hun Sen

Vietnam: First “Lack of Confidence Vote”?


DungPartyforumseasia: Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his government risked a confidence vote last Monday, 10 May, for the first time in their regime’s history. Given the 90% majority of the Communist Party in Vietnam’s Parliament and the remaining 10% not really antagonistic opposition, the risk was not life threatening.
But more than 30% “low confidence”votes may
be signaling Dung’s fading popularity for a lackluster performance widely blamed for the slow economy on one side. On the other hand they will give hope to the population that their unhappiness with party and government will not go unnoticed by them any more. The keen interest in specially televised parliamentary debates since a couple of years shows that citizens are not indefinitely prepared to suffer in silence. But will the party be capable of opening up? Will rivalries inside the ‘nomenclatura’ allow for genuine party reform? See more details in today’s (link:) New York Times article.

UMNO is a Democratic Party, UMNO is a Democratic Party, UMNO is…


AsterixPartyforumseasia …would never say it isn’t. The debate is inside the party about the two top leadership posts. It is an old habit since the times of Asterix about 2000 years ago to lift “born” leaders on a shield without wasting time for elections. Acclamation is sometimes acceptable if clear majorities are evident. But the normal way of determining party leaders is a contested election because it shows the margin of support for the winning leader. Obviously some leaders in UMNO want to do it the Asterix way, without the shield of course. Some others seem to prefer a proper election. But both are sure that UMNO is a democratic party:
Pahang’s chief minister Adnan Yaakob told reporters that he is against the uncontested top job solution: “UMNO is a democratic party. It is better if we do not do this because it will show that we are autocratic”. Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO deputy leader Muhyiddin Yassin who would profit from an uncontested re-election did not want to comment.
Actually the last contested election for the UMNO leadership was in 1987, 26 years ago, when Dr. Mahathir Mohamad narrowly won against Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, which led to a party split. Najib 1

Beginning of the End of Indonesian Money Politics?


WidodoPartyforumseasia: Will this man change the endemic political corruption in Indonesia? Joko Widodo, the governor of Jakarta, seems to meet the expectations of a growing number of Indonesians fed up ad nauseam with big style money politics in their country. President SBY turning out more and more as a lame duck at the end of his term, popular darling “Jokowi”, as the former mayor of Solo is affectionately known, may be the early front runner in the presidential race for next year.
In a recent poll by think tank CSIS Widodo leads with 28.6% in front of former general Prabowo from the Gerindra Party with 15.6 %. Golkar chairman and business tycoon Abdurizal Bakrie, in strong headwind after scandals, comes third with 7%, and PDI-P long term leader Megawati Sukarnoputri is nearly written off at 5.4%.

The humble style of Widodo, e.g. using the office driver but in his private car, obviously meets the dreams of many voters of an approachable politician who is not showing the usual priority of lining his own and his party’s pockets. One of the leading experts on Indonesian money politics, Marcus Mietzner from the Australian National University, estimates the campaign cost for the governorship of an average Indonesian province at a staggering 10 million US$. The popular dream of cleaner politics may pick up with Jokowi. So more parties than his own PDI-P are eying him as their own presidential candidate…

Malaysia After the Election: No Smooth Sailing for the Winner


UMNOPartyforumseasia: Prime Minister Najib Razak is still more popular than his victorious National Front (BN) coalition. But the opposition, harping on their popular vote advantage of 51% (which is not decisive in a first-past-the-vote system), seems to touch the nerve of hundreds of thousands of citizens who understand the unfairness of the electoral system. And they feel outraged by Najib’s and the Election Commission’s calls for  reconciliation and calm acceptance of the results. The protest rallies may go on, now that the official and final results are out, which is the start for formal complaints about election fraud and legal battles to come. The opposition is planning to challenge in court the election outcome for 41 seats won by BN at a narrow margin. Fraud is not easy to prove and rarely leads to reversed seat allocations. But the legal procedures may take many months and keep the hostile climate at the level of a war of accusations and counter accusations. This, in turn, will not help PM Najib to renew his party mandate as chairman later this year. Serious challengers are not yet visible but party politics sometimes has few choices except “support or topple”. Malaysia’s political climate remains volatile.

Indonesia: Democrat Party in continuing decline


Partyforumseasia: Personalized “presidential” parties tend to deteriorate with their leader-founder, see the “Three Kims” in Korea for example. With president Yudhoyono (SBY) having to go soon, his Democrat Party seems to disintegrate already with a string of scandals speeding it up.

See the following article in (link:) Asia Sentinel
PD Indonesia

Partyforumseasia: At the same time the losses of PD seem to translate into gains for the PDI-P. Sunday’s gubernatorial election in Central Java preliminary results see PDI-P candidate Ganjar Pranowo with a huge lead close to 50%, obviously with tailwind by support from popular Jakarta governor Jokowo and grand dame of the party, Megawati Sukarnoputri. Pranowo’s campaign slogan “no corruption, no lying” seems to have struck a chord with the voters.

Political Party Funding in Southeast Asia


Corruption 4

Partyforumseasia is preparing an overview on party funding in Southeast Asia, a region where public funding for political parties is widely unknown, though Indonesia and Thailand are experimenting with it. The party laws prescribe certain minimum infrastructures like the number of branches in so many provinces, etc. And election campaigns cost in the billions, not only in the US but also in Southeast Asia. So, where do the political parties get their funding from? Donations, sure, but why give businessmen and corporations money to the parties?
At the same time, the general perception of corruption, except Singapore, is comparatively high. See here an excerpt of Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perception Index (CPI):
TI 2012

Partyforumseasia: What can be expected in the practice of political party funding in this environment?
Contributions, examples, comments will be most welcome for our study. Please send them to:

webmaster@political-party-forum-southeast-asia.org
Corruption 1

Timor Leste: The Most Democratic Country in Southeast Asia?


Partyforumseasia: In the Economist’s Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2012 (an excerpt for Southeast Asia attached) Timor Leste tops the regional neighbors’ ranking as no.43 with Indonesia following as no.53 and Laos at the low end as no.156. As all these rankings are debatable, Partyforumseasia would lift Singapore to the flawed and downgrade Cambodia to the authoritarian category.
Anyway, the good ranking of Timor Leste deserves attention and applause.
Economist SEA DEmocracy Index

But the splintered party scene in Timor Leste may deserve more attention and research. Contributions from scholars outside and political analysts from inside Timor Leste would be most welcome on Partyforumseasia!
Timor Leste parties (Wikipedia)Source: Wikipedia

Election Results 2012:

Timor Leste Election Results 2012 (Wikimedia)

Source: Wikimedia

A “GE13-Autopsy” with Four Preliminary Conclusions


Popular vote

Source: http://malaysiasdilemma.wordpress.com 10 May 2013

Partyforumseasia:

  1. Majority of mandates and minority of the popular vote
    Barisan Nasional had to win this election at any cost and it did so, never mind the further eroding simple majority. It had to win it in order to keep its grip on the political power, its control of the administration, and the connected business networks which have oiled its machinery for decades. A victorious opposition with a probably cleaner and more transparent government style and consequently cutting the cronies off the pork barrels would have meant much too radical losses for the beneficiaries of the established system. And a losing Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition will certainly face problems to keep its ranks closed.Eventually, PM Najib’s strategy of an all-out campaign with a mix of threats and goodies, neglecting the short and long term costs for the taxpayer, was successful against the groundswell of opposition sentiment in the population. The much discussed popular vote majority for the opposition (50.9 against 47.4 % for BN) is rather irrelevant in terms of power politics as long as Malaysia does not change the British-heritage first-past-the-post system, though it affects the legitimacy and credibility of the continued BN-rule. So, for the next five years don’t expect changes to the electoral system. As Lee Kuan Yew from neighbouring Singapore once said, a ruling party cannot be expected to make it easier for the opposition.
  2. A stolen victory?
    If an incumbent ruling party or coalition has to win at any cost, at least some preparations for manipulation must be expected. And many Malaysians did expect it. What came up during election night and triggered the complaints of the opposition is probably haunting the BN as well and will continue to do so for a while. The congratulations from president Obama and the EU were urging PM Najib to carefully address the alleged fraud cases. That is a quite unusual diplomatic formulation which affects the international image of Malaysia. But in the face of a critical Bersih (Malay for clean) movement monitoring the elections with tens of thousands of local observers specially trained to detect attempts of fraud, the BN strategists and campaigners may have been prepared for very cautious procedures and for mudding the water after the end of the vote counting as well. More than a week after the election now, the EC chairman urges the opposition to accept being defeated. Opposition and Bersih, on the other hand, seem to be slow with presenting proof of fraud, saying they are still compiling evidence. But the EC by-laws give them ample time for that. Much material published online has disappeared from the internet, but as of 13 May the PKR Election Fraud Investigative Team is looking into 237 complaints, especially in cases with a winning margin under 5%. Future investigation by Election Commission (EC) and courts may bring up more evidence than we have so far. Nevertheless, the anger of hundreds of thousands of outraged protesters clad in black show the public sentiment and the lack of trust in government and EC.  That is a difficult and dangerous situation showing quite brutally the cleavages in Malaysia’s society.
  3. Reconciliation despite bitterness and mistrust?
    Fortunately, Malaysia has enjoyed many years of peaceful development without open conflicts. But unfortunately, political interference, like preferential treatment for Malays, housing and settlement policies, the crony-networks, and the religious undertones in the UMNO-PAS competition about who has the better Muslim credentials, have created and intensified resentment and critical opposition to the decades of BN-rule in growing sectors of the population, nota bene including urban Malays. This is why PM Najib’s first reaction in disappointment and anger, holding a “Chinese tsunami” responsible for his lacklustre victory was a serious mistake. All his calls for reconciliation and unity sound hollow after this, and may cost him the leadership of UMNO eventually.
    On the other hand, the world political history of the last few years is full of narrow and dubious election outcomes with opposition protests fizzling out sooner or later. In the Malaysian case, the final price for the May 5th narrow victory may turn out to be costly for UMNO. Much depends on Anwar’s and Bersih’s perseverance in questioning the results. But even if their protest dies down sooner or later, the BN administration will have to continue to pamper its supporters with material goodies or risk being let down even further. This type of indirect and thus not illegal vote buying will turn out to be more and more costly, after the outrageously costly campaign we have seen already.

4.    Toward a two-party system?
During the last few weeks many commentators were talking about an upcoming two-party system. We can safely assume that the heavy losses of BN’s component parties are gradually pushing UMNO into admitting that it is more or less alone in charge. MCA and Gerakan have been kept alive with the financial and logistic support of UMNO and both have relied too much on this relationship. This political miscalculation has been punished on May 5th and may lead to their dissolution sooner or later.
On the opposition side it is rather difficult to see any tendency toward a merger. As long as Anwar Ibrahim does not retire from politics and joins academia, as he had announced (or threatened?) for the case of losing the election, PKR will remain a strong player. Whether PKR or DAP is the more stable and stronger party is not clear despite the better results of DAP. Merger tendencies or even merger talks between the two have not been published so far, and a merger of any of them with PAS is even more improbable. Racial issues, the urban-rural divide and its gerrymandering advantages, as well as religious preferences will continue to create high barriers against the formation of a united opposition party. But in the longer perspective it may be possible with a new leader even more charismatic than Anwar and who can galvanise the resistance against the prolonged BN rule even more successfully. With the popular vote already on the side of the opposition, the BN strategists cannot lean back and rule as usual. They will try to divide the PR parties as much as possible, but this may backfire with the growing number of voters who suspect UMNO of working more for their own survival than for the progress of the country.

Are Voters Stupid and Greedy or Smart and Wise?


Voters...Partyforumseasia: Tonight, 5 May, we will know more about the mindsets and the intentions of Malaysia’s 13.3 million voters. Are goodie bags and promises enough to convince them and produce a clear majority? Are the leading politicians and strategists reading the ground correctly? Are the pollsters more and more wrong like in most European countries? Will the first-past-the-post election system generate an outcome which does not reflect the majority of intentions and voter sentiments?

How the voters are being seen by candidates and partisans will depend on the outcome. Opposition voters are stupid if you are on the ruling party’s side and vice versa.

Churchill‘s famous quote that the best argument against democracy is a five-minute discussion with an average voter sounds more than arrogant today. Having a choice after more than five decades without a real choice is already a victory for the Malaysian voter.

Malaysiakini is suggesting the following websites which will carry the live results tonight:
http://www.malaysiakini.com
https://www.malaysiakini.com
http://m.malaysiakini.com
http://www.mkini.co

https://www.facebook.com/MalaysiaKini
https://twitter.com/malaysiakini
https://twitter.com/Yahoo_MY

http://www.kinitv.com
http://www.youtube.com/kinitv
https://www.facebook.com/kinitv
http://www.youtube.com/malaysiakini

http://live.undi.info
https://ge13.s3.amazonaws.com
http://bit.ly/ge13result

Malaysia’s GE13: Any Economic Risk if the Opposition Wins?


Partyforumseasia: A recommended background article from an economic and investor’s viewpoint. Not surprisingly, the BN campaign predicts economic decline and chaos if the opposition should win. That is a routine threat of incumbent governments world-wide if they feel that defeat is possible. The four opposition state governments since 2008 have not messed up the economy so far and the BN strategists know that the voters know that. But campaign strategists and party leaders always hope that threats can be as powerful as promises… And few Malaysians remember that nearly half of the federal budget comes from oil revenues and not from taxation.
Investor

Source / Link: Institutional Investor Magazine

Malaysia’s GE13: Cleaner Election With Indelible Ink?


Partyforumseasia: After decades of extremely predictable election results with more than two-thirds majorities for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, 2008 has changed the game. In the 5 May election BN is fighting for survival and continuing access to the huge spoils of power, the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition feels that victory is possible. Election campaigns in Malaysia have always been intense and costly with visible party propaganda like flags and posters all over the country. But this time the population is more divided and politicized than ever before. To calm down widespread suspicions after a long history of election anomalies, the Election Commission (EC) is introducing indelible ink for the first time. And the very first test run when 230.000 Army and Navy personnel came for advance voting on 30 April, immediately produced doubts about the durability of the ink – seven days according to the EC.
GE13ink

Source / Link: Straits Times 1 May 2013

Malaysia’s GE13: Of Frogs and Princes


Partyforumseasia: The ugly frog turned out to be a handsome prince, at least in the fairy tale. In a country where party switching has a long tradition (see national cartoonist Lat’s 1992 cartoon), turncoat politicians are not unknown, even welcome by other parties if they seem to be winnable candidates. But this universal feature, often accompanied by cash handouts, seems to be less acceptable with the Malaysian voters this time. The turncoats are now called katak = frog…

Lat 1
Partyforumseasia: One of the frogs has been nominated by PM Najib to the surprise of many. This rather controversial politician was with PAS first, then with PKR, and is now running as religious and Malay supremacy wild card for BN against a moderate from PAS… This pairing could hardly be more ironical.

Zulkifli

Source / Link: Straits Times 24.4.13

Indonesian Parties Struggle for Electability


Partyforumseasia: Here’s a new contribution to our (young) collection of scholarly contributions to the topic of how political parties in Southeast Asia work. Ulla Fionna is a visiting fellow in Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, which has published this paper in its series ISEAS Perspective available at the homepage http://www.iseas.edu.sg

Link: Read the paper
Ulla Fionna

Candidate (s)election in Southeast Asia… Today: Thailand


Partyforumseasia:  Winnability is certainly the most important criterion for the selection of candidates. Whether the candidate elected by his or her branch with participation of the party members has better chances than the one appointed by the party leadership with its higher overview and wisdom is debatable. With all the appointments going on in the overheated campaign preparations in Malaysia (and the “sulking” dropped incumbents…) on both sides, in Thailand there is still the demand from the ground to hold proper elections, this time from the “Red Shirts” in Chiang Mai, obviously unhappy with the way PM Yingluck is promoting her sister…
Yinluck&sister

Chiang Mai

Source / Link: The Nation 16 April 2013

Malaysia’s GE 13: “Best Election Ever” and Sulking Dropped Candidates


GE13Partyforumseasia:   Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, chairman of the Election Commission (EC), announced 5 May as polling day and 15 days for the official campaign yesterday. Dismissing claims that it could be one of the dirtiest, he said: “We hope that this would be the best general election.” (Link: New Straits Times) Whether the 15 days are a sign of “healthy democracy”, as PM Najib says, may not be so important after nearly two years of unofficial campaigning. But the procedures organized by the EC have certainly improved, from indelible ink (colour still kept secret…) to more attention to the voter list and the possibility for voters to check it online.

Another feature, obviously less controversial in Malaysia and other countries in Southeast Asia, but at least questionable for a “healthy democracy” is the selection of candidates. As if elections inside the parties were not an option, party leaders decide among themselves on the most winnable candidates – under the risk of being sabotaged by the dropped hopefuls. For the Barisan Nasional this must be a tricky procedure given their attempt to renew the party with 40% fresh candidates. See also Straits Times, 11 April:
Candidate list

Malaysia’s GE 13: 1.5 million pensioner votes for BN?


Partyforumseasia: Older voters have been mobilized world wide under the assumption that they are conservative and vote for the ruling party. PM Najib, concerned about retired top civil servants joining the opposition PR, tries to woo the over 700.000 retired civil servants with the promise of increasing their pensions if they support his re-election. The calculation that the oldies can bring in their spouses’ votes as well and yield up to 1.5 million votes for BN may be too optimistic, though. And according to the Election Commission, 2.3 million or 21.69 % of Malaysia’s 13.29 million registered voters are young first timers. Will it be old BN suppporters against young opposition voters?
Retirees 1

Retirees 2

Source/Link: The Malaysian Insider, 8 April 2013

Malaysia GE 13: Less than 1% overseas voters registered


Partyforumseasia:  The most interesting changes to the organization of the voting process world wide are related to overseas and postal voting. With more citizens living abroad their participation in elections has become more important in several ways. The extremely narrow victory of George W. Bush in 2000 with 537 postal votes in Florida is unforgotten. If Malaysia’s Election Commission is disappointed with the low registration rate of the 700.000 Malaysians overseas, there may be, as in many other countries, the hope that this is a conservative voter group probably supporting the ruling coalition.

The opposition does not exclude fraud and manipulation with the postal voting. See: The Malaysian Bar, 6 April 2013, reprinting an interview in the Sun of 27 March 2009 in which Anwar Ibrahim speaks about fraud with postal votes.

Find some comparative international information at the end of this post:

Overseas voters

See the full article in The Straits Times 6 April 2013
________________________________________________
International comparison:

Italy:
Nearly 3 million Italians abroad (.5 m in Germany) vote for 12 MPs in the National Parliament. Right of overseas voting since 2006.
Spain: 1.5 million Spanish citizens abroad, 870.000 in Latin America, 60% of them eligible. In the 2008 election PM Zapatero campaigned there for his Socialist Party.

Turkey: 2.5 million Turkish voters abroad, 1.5 m in Germany alone. Postal voting since 2008.

Germany: Postal voting since 1957, percentage in 2009: 21,4%. Overseas voting since 1985, 55.000 (approx. 10%) registered and voted in 2009.

World wide: E-voting in its infancy and still rather costly. With e-identification on its way for banking and business, e-voting may develop soon and result in tremendous savings for the organization of elections.

 

 

Malaysia: PAS Fields First Christian Candidate


Partyforumseasia: Since UMNO is competing for the same voter pool among rural and pious Malays, opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) has tried for some time already to open up to non-Muslims, also showing at the same time that nobody should be frightened by its Sharia policies which would apply only to Muslims. Fielding for the first time a Christian candidate in the upcoming election is certainly a significant symbolic step. It is also in line with the Pakatan Rakyat and Parti Keadilan Rakyat line of multi-racial party development in Malaysia.
Link: Straits Times 5.4.2013
PAS 5.4.13

Malaysia: “Anything But UMNO” (ABU) serious about poll watching


Partyforumseasia: Election fever is on the rise since Prime Minister Najib Razak was expected to dissolve the Malaysian Parliament nearly two years ago but hesitated to do so. Now that the election date is near, the temperature is rising even higher. For outsiders the wording of ABU leader Haris Ibrahim may sound exaggerated, but knowing how much is at stake for supporters and cronies if UMNO should lose this election, fears of manipulation don’t seem to be baseless. The Malaysian Insider (link) reports:
5 April 2013
ABU 5.4.13

Malaysia: How strong is ABU?


NajibAnwarPartyforumseasia: In many democracies the ruling parties have to face dropping popularity and voter support. That is quite normal and tends to get worse with the years in power. Malaysia, today, is deeply divided, given the general information available about arrogance of power, money politics, corruption scandals and election manipulation seen as typical for UMNO which is ruling the country since independence. In an article for the Straits Times, Singapore, Wan Saiful Wan Jan, head of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) in Kuala Lumpur, remains cautious about an opposition victory, but points out the average voters’ frustration with UMNO: the “Anything But UMNO” or ABU sentiment. Combined with the opposition strategy of attacking long term strongholds of the ruling coalition like Johor, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak and doubts about the cleanliness of the upcoming election, ABU may tip the scale for the Pakatan Rakyat.

Link: Straits Times, 4 April 2013
Wan 4.4.13

Indonesia’s Democratic Party: President SBY new chairman


Links: Straits Times(30.3.2013), Straits Times (31.3.2013), Jakarta Post (31.3.)
SBY ChairPartyforumseasia: The rescue operation for the somewhat “anorexic” Democratic Party by an extraordinary convention in Bali on 30 March 2013 has worked as planned.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
(SBY), with acclamation ( not vote) of the delegates,  has taken over the chairmanship after former chair Anas Urbaningrum had stepped down under corruption suspicion. Other candidates were being discussed, but only SBY himself was supposed to be elected without exposing the internal cleavages of the party in which Anas still enjoys major support among members and local leaders. SBY, after being elected, called for unity and cohesion, but critics say that the concentration of power is not healthy. The president who looked reluctant to take over and only under the condition that an executive chairman (to be appointed by SBY!!) does the day-to-day work, now chairs the party’s central executive committee and supreme assembly as well as the board of patrons, and his son Edhi Baskoro Yudhoyono is secretary-general.

As a sideline, the reports reveal a few details about the organizational structure of the Democratic Party: The chairpersons of the 33 provincial branches had prepared the convention by seeing the president beforehand in Jakarta “to pledge support for him”. The Bali convention assembled 754 party cadres with voting rights from provincial, district and city heads plus several other party elites. Interesting and allowing a glimpse into the internal cleavages was the exclusion from the Bali convention of former Cilacap district chairman Tri Dianto because he had no more voting rights. He happened to be one of the possible successors of Anas as new chairman…
Strategy-wise the exercise could unite the party in preparation of and until the 2014 elections, but, as it happens in medical practice, it could also turn out to be a successful emergency operation leaving the patient dying nevertheless. With SBY’s presidency definitively ending in 2014, the struggle for his succession is visibly on in the Democratic Party.
Follow-up:
Link: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/03/31/sby-names-minister-dems-executive-chairman.html
SBY names minister as Dems executive chairman
Bagus BT Saragih, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua | National | Sun, March 31 2013, 12:17 PM
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as the new Democratic Party chairman, has appointed Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Syariefuddin Hasan as the party’s executive chairman. “The executive chairman will be more active in dealing with the party’s organizational matters and its other day-to-day business,” Yudhoyono told a press conference in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Sunday. Yudhoyono also announced that House of Representatives speaker Marzuki Alie had been appointed to serve as the deputy chairman of the supreme assembly, the party’s highest organ. Transportation Minister EE Mangindaan has been named the executive chairman of the party’s board of patrons. Yudhoyono has asked for the creation of the three positions to ease his duties in the Democratic Party after he was appointed as the party’s chairman in an extra-ordinary congress in Sanur, Bali. Yudhoyono said he accepted the proposal to name him the party chairman as long as it would not hinder him from his main duties as a state leader.Currently, Yudhoyono also serves as the party’s supreme assembly chairman, honorary council chairman and chief patron. “The formatur (formation of new appointments) has begun and these three positions are part of the initial results. We will continue to work in Jakarta and announce the results in the days ahead,” Yudhoyono said. Both Mangindaan and Marzuki said they did not know what other positions Yudhoyono would reshuffle. A rumor was circulating that the party’s secretary general, Edhie “Ibas” Baskoro Yudhoyono, the President’s youngest son, would leave his position because he would study in the US. Marzuki said Ibas should stay in his position as secretary general. “He has capability and his work in the party has been good so far,” he said, adding that he did not know about the rumor of Ibas’ plan to study in the US. (ebf)
Partyforumseasia:
More appointments than elections and rumors, the price parties pay for strong leadership.


 

Vietnam: Fearless bloggers – fearful government


Partyforumseasia: As seen in many other countries, attempts of the governments to control the social media turn out to be something between difficult, costly, and useless. As Straits Times Indochina bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh describes in this article, 22 bloggers have been detained last year. This did not stop others from embarrassing the ruling Communist Party by inviting themselves to their debate about constitutional changes. Their proposed alternative constitution, among others, takes out the dominant role of the VCP and its Marxist-Leninist ideology and asks for free and fair elections. Obviously the balance of fear seems to shift more to party and government despite 22 jailed bloggers…

Link: Straits Times
Vietnam constitution

Trust (in governments) is good…but rare


Partyforumseasia:   According to the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer (link here), in which an American market research company measures the trust in governments, business, media, and NGOs in 25 countries, the majority does not trust the governments. For Southeast Asia, the index has data only for Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore:
Trust Barometer

The figures above are for the “informed public” segment of the survey and look comparatively positive for Singapore (77% in 2011 and 73% in 2012), Indonesia (falling from 62% to 40%), and Malaysia (49% when it was included in 2012). In contrast to Western countries, the percentage of people who don’t trust government leaders at all to tell the truth looks relatively low here. The regional results are: Indonesia 36%, Malaysia 24%, Singapore 15%. But the overall distrust rates may be much higher.

Looking at all 25 countries, the deficits in credibility are shown as the difference between the expectations and the perceived reality: For the question: government “listens to needs and feedback” of the citizens the gap is 50%, for “has transparent and open practices” also 50%, and for “communicates frequently and honestly” the gap is 49%.

Partyforumseasia’s Conclusion: The survey certainly has its own limitations, not least the sometimes  rather wild changes between the years surveyed since 2000. But if we extrapolate some of the disquieting results to the political parties running the respective governments, there should be enough lessons to be learned. One important development is the growing diversification of trust in the media and the number of sources of information:
Trust in different media

Southeast Asian Media: Trust is good, control is better…


Partyforumseasia: Probably Lenin’s famous formula “trust is good, control is better” comes closer to the Southeast Asian reality than Confucius’ “rectification of names” concept. But maybe modern media ownership and its possibilities of political control are a clever combination of both. The Confucian concept may be a bit too idealistic about good intentions of ancient rulers. Today’s political parties and their leaders certainly have enough good intentions, but owning and controlling the all important media seems to be considered the safer bet for electoral success.
Nota bene: Media control quasi monopolies are everywhere: Murdoch and Berlusconi, and…

Partyforumseasia suggests to collect ownership affiliations between media and  political parties in the region, starting here with a number of Indonesian media.

BakrieMost prominent is tycoon, Golkar chairman and possible presidential candidate in 2014, Aburizal Bakrie, who controls news channels TVOne and ANTV as well as online news portal Vivanews.

National Democrat (NasDem) chairman Surya Paloh owns Metro TV and daily newspaper Media Indoenesia.

Media tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo, controls the large media network PT Media Nusantara Citra (MNC) and seems to focus his political ambition on the Hanura party.

About 3,000 private radio stations over the country may be open to political bidders during election campaigns.

But there is also good news: Kompas, the most influential and widely circulated newspaper in Indonesia is politically independent. Its owner, Kompas-Gramedia Group, controls a large networks of local papers and the Jakarta Post.

Election manipulation: Is Southeast Asia average or world class?


Manipulation

Partyforumseasia:
Election manipulation and fraud are not unknown in Southeast Asia.
This (Link)new book  by Alberto Simpser looks already so interesting in the publisher’s advertisement that we are looking forward to have it. Here are some snippings from the introduction:
Three interesting findings:
“First, electoral manipulation is often utilized when it is patently unnecessary for victory. Second, even when electoral manipulation is needed to win, it is frequently perpetrated far beyond the victory threshold and in excess of any plausible safety margin. Third, electoral manipulation is often perpetrated blatantly, a practice that does not directly contribute to victory and goes against the intuition that, as with any cheating, the perpetrator stands only to lose if his or her activities become known. These three observations constitute what I shall call the puzzle of excessive and blatant electoral manipulation.” (p.1-2)
On the indirect effects of electoral manipulation: “…the consequences to individual citizens, politicians, bureaucrats, and organizations of their political choices and actions today depend strongly on which party ends up holding power tomorrow, and on how powerful such a party turns out to be. (p.6)
The book provides “a systematic, global picture of electoral manipulation”, based on “more than 800 multiparty, country-level elections around the world from 1990 through 2007” (p.8)

Among the empirical findings: “For example, of all executive elections that were substantially manipulated in roughly the past two decades, more than two in five were won by the manipulating party by a margin of victory exceeding 40 percent of the vote, suggesting that excessive electoral manipulation is quite common.” (p.8)

Philippines: Understanding the flawed party system


Partyforumseasia: Patronage politics in the Philippines, often described, but the parties have hardly been defined so bluntly or brutally as:

“convenient vehicles of patronage that can be set up, merged with others, split, reconstituted, regurgitated, resurrected, renamed, repackaged, recycled, refurbished, buffed up or flushed down the toilet.”

Nathan Quimpo, The left, elections, and the political party system in the Philippines, Critical Studies 37, 2005: 4-5 is being quoted with this verdict in: Hutchcroft and Rocamora, Patronage-based parties and the democratic deficit in the Philippines, in: Robison, Richard (ed), Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Politics, 2012: 97-119.

It sounds very sad, but Hutchcroft and Rocamora put the deficits into the proper historical perspective to understand how it could happen. And they sketch the necessary reforms to overcome the historical burden. Fortunately, the present administration under president Aquino seems to be set to push through the most urgent reforms.
Partyforumseasia: A must read for anybody who wants to understand the Philippino party system!

Indonesia: Political Dynasty or Asian (family) Values?


Partyforumseasia:  Political families” are a world wide feature; the Kennedys, Bushes, Ghandis etc. are well known. But the following surprise move makes it to the regional headlines, as President SBY promotes his son to better control the Democratic Party in waters troubled by a series of corruption scandals. If party stalwarts can’t be trusted any more, family bonds might be the safer bet.

Source / Link: Straits Times, Singapore
Edhie Yuhoyono

“Ants, Partisans, and Party Members” – Tribalism in Human Nature


Partyforumseasia: The great biologist  Edward O.Wilson, (The Social Conquest of Earth, New York 2012) studied ants to better understand human group behavior. The psychological evidence is most interesting for partisanship and party membership:

“Experiments have shown that it is shockingly easy to elicit a sense of solidarity among a group of strangers. Just tell them they’ll be working together as a team, and they immediately start working together as a team, all the while attributing to each other a host of positive qualities like trustworthiness and competence—an instant five-star customer review.
Yet we are equally prepared to do battle against those who fall outside the fraternal frame. In experiments where psychologists divided people into groups of arbitrarily assigned traits—labeling one set the Blue team and another the Green, for example—the groups started sniping at each other and expressing strong prejudices toward their “opponents,” with the Greens insisting the Blues were untrustworthy and unfair. The “drive to form and take deep pleasure from in-group membership easily translates at a higher level into tribalism,” Wilson says, and can spark religious, ethnic and political conflicts of breathtaking brutality.”  Source: Smithsonian
Institute

Partyforumseasia: So far so bad, being member of a successful party feels good, but inside political parties tribalism among factions can be as or even more brutal than with outside enemies. A quotation attributed to Konrad Adenauer, first chancellor of post war (West) Germany, should warn us: His line was: enemy – mortal enemy – party comrade…

Singapore: Punggol East by-election results


Partyforumseasia:The opposition frontrunner Workers’ Party scored big in the Punggol East by-election on 26 January 2013. The results:
Workers’ Party:             54.5% (16,038 votes)  + 13.5%pts compared to the 2011 GE
People’s Action Party: 43.7% (12,856 votes)  – 10.8%pts compared to the 2011 GE
Reform Party:                 1.2% (353 votes)
Singapore Democratic Alliance: 0.6% (168 votes)

The Punggol East single seat constituency can be classified as Singapore heartland with predominantly lower middle and middle class population, many of them young families with children. A tight neck to neck outcome had been predicted, the victory margin of nearly 11 % pts comes as a shock for the ruling PAP, after discounting the “by-election effect” which works against the PAP and its super-majority in Parliament by not threatening the stability of the government as such, just “teaching them a lesson” or “make them work harder”.  The PAP had been caught on the wrong foot when speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer resigned and a candidate had to be found fast to confront the young female candidate of the WP who had scored a respectable 41% in 2011 already. And there is still a lot of anti-establishment resentment in heartland constituencies like Punggol as well, despite enormous progress in the suburb’s infrastructure.
Even more dramatic is the poor result of the two candidates from small opposition parties Reform Party and Singapore Democratic Alliance. They both lost their deposit of S$ 14,500 for some limelight to keep their small parties recognizable for the national public. And all suggestions that their participation might dilute the opposition vote and favor the PAP can be dismissed. What the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) might have scored without their strategic blunder of asking the strong WP to support their candidate, and the following pullout after failing this call for opposition unity, is now futile to discuss anyway.

More interesting for discussion seems the question of what some suggest as an upcoming two party system. Are the very small parties doomed to follow the two losers in Punggol East????

The floor is open
Please send your suggestions to: webmaster@political-party-forum-southeast-asia.org

Malaysians abroad to vote


Malaysians abroad

Link: Straits Times, 7 Jan 2013

Partyforumseasia:
Expectations on both sides seem to be high and the question is whether Malaysians living abroad are more pro or more anti establishment. If they are really a million voters the effect could be crucial.
For comparative purposes and not predicting anything: When Germany introduced overseas voting in the late 1970s, most expectations were disappointed by a very low turnout.

What type of parties are there in Southeast Asia?


Partyforumseasia: 
Many – maybe too many – scholars have been searching for a suitable typology of political parties in Southeast Asia. Many see at least a semblance of “Duvergerian” types of parties, others don’t.
Historian Wang Gungwu‘s assessment is very clear:
“None resembles the classic parties of the West.”
See also in: Party Theory

Partyforumseasia: The floor is open…
Please send your suggestions to:
webmaster@political-party-forum-southeast-asia.org

 

DAP Malaysia: Never change a winning team…


Partyforumseasia:The party convention on 15 December has confirmed father and son Lim as well as party veteran Karpal Singh as “top dogs”. According to the following Straits Times report the DAP has grown from 300 to 1100 branches and the membership from 84.000 to 150.000 since 2008.

DAP 16.12.2012Link: Straits Times, 16 December 2012

UMNO and BN: Weak only by infighting?


UMNO inf

NewNewStraitsTimes   2 December 2012

Partyforumseasia: Competition for candidacies and influential posts are the normal in all parties. As first chancellor of (West) Germany’s Federal Republic Konrad Adenauer once said, the usual sequence within a party is enemy – mortal enemy – party comrade…
But some leaders are better than others in keeping the party together. And of course: The more you can win or lose, the tougher the infighting.

Singapore: PAP elects new CEC


Partyforumseasia:  In the past the PAP has been described as a secretive cadre-style party, keeping its internal developments mostly in the dark. Here is a rather public glimpse into the election of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) by the “close to 2000” party cadres. Straits Times, 3 December 2012

CEC1CEC2