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Democratisation & new voter mobilisation in Southeast Asia

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As Southeast Asia entered the twenty-first century, the procedures and practices associated with democracy had become important social facts in many parts of the region. By the 1990s, competitive elections in Thailand and in the Philippines had (re)emerged as the primary mechanism for the assumption of state office. By the turn of the century, Indonesia, the region's most populous country, had likewise experienced two peaceful transfers of presidential office, as well as the country's freest and fairest election since 1955. Meanwhile, opposition parties made strong showings in federal elections in Malaysia, seizing control over state assemblies and increasing their share of seats in the national legislature. The papers presented (extracts of which are reproduced in this Special Report) and the discussions that took place at the LSE IDEAS Southeast Asia International Affairs workshop held in February this year, captured a vibrant phenomenon in the democratic process in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand which makes full use of the offerings of ICT (information and communication technology) while also employing the more traditional means of garnering political support.

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