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Showing posts for "Joshua Kurlantzick"

How To Market A Nation

by Joshua Kurlantzick
joko-widodo-chamber of commerce dinner Indonesian President Joko Widodo speaks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dinner in Washington on October 26, 2015. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo made his first visit to Washington last month as leader of the country with the fourth-largest population in the world and the sixteenth-biggest economy on earth. Indonesia has made a dramatic transition, in just twenty years, from the decades of dictatorship to one of the most vibrant democracies in the world. Read more »

Opposition Landslide in Myanmar Won’t Push the Army Out of Politics

by Joshua Kurlantzick
myanmar-elections-2 Supporters of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi celebrate as partial results are shown on a television the outside National League for Democracy (NLD) party headquarters in Yangon on November 8, 2015. (Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

This past Sunday, Myanmar men and women voted in their first true national elections in twenty-five years. On Election Day, the mood in many towns and cities was exuberant. The 1990 elections, the last national elections, were essentially annulled by the armed forces, which continued to govern until launching a transition to civilian rule in 2011. Unlike in 1990, this time many Myanmar people believed that the election would be upheld, leading to the country’s first democratically elected government in five decades. Read more »

What to Expect After Myanmar’s Elections

by Joshua Kurlantzick
myanmar-elections-1 Supporters of Myanmar's pro-democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi gather outside National League for Democracy headquarters (NLD) in Yangon, Myanmar, on November 9, 2015. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

On November 8, Myanmar held general elections, a milestone in the promised process of democratization and political reform. Early results indicate a landslide victory for the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party led by former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi. Read more »

What Will Happen in Rakhine State after Myanmar’s Election?

by Joshua Kurlantzick
myanmar-elections-Rakhine Supporters react as Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi gives a speech during her campaign rally for the upcoming general elections in Toungup, Rakhine state, on October 16, 2015. (Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

Myanmar’s election last Sunday has been hailed, by the world, as a major step forward for the country’s young democracy. The excitement on the ground in Myanmar in the days leading up to the election, and on Election Day, was intense—Myanmar residents reported a kind of giddy feeling in many cities and towns, as people thrilled to the idea of voting in a real national election for the first time in twenty-five years. On the campaign trail, Aung San Suu Kyi and other National League for Democracy (NLD) leaders drew enormous and often jubilant crowds, similar to the situation before the 1990 national elections. Read more »

Thailand’s Junta Leader Threatens to Stay on “Forever”

by Joshua Kurlantzick
PM-prayuth Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha gestures after presiding over Thailand Corporate Excellence Award for Financial Management at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, on September 9, 2015. (Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters)

As Thailand’s political situation continues to deteriorate, with civilian politicians beginning to push back against army rule, and the deadline for a new constitution and free election delayed again, Thai Prime Minister and junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha seems increasingly frustrated with the debate, compromise, and public scrutiny common in a constitution-drafting process, and a democratic society. The prime minister has become known for his outbursts at the press and other critics, but in recent weeks his speeches have become more vitriolic. Read more »

Is a Genocide Taking Place in Myanmar?

by Joshua Kurlantzick
rohingya-idp-camp Rohingya people pass their time in a damaged shelter in Rohingya IDP camp outside Sittwe, Rakhine state on August 4, 2015. (Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

Since 2011, when Myanmar’s political reforms began, launching a stuttering process of democratization, attacks on Muslim Rohingya in western Myanmar have become common. The violence often has been abetted by paramilitary groups, hard-line Buddhist monks, and Buddhist civilian groups affiliated with the hard-line monks. Since the violence worsened in 2012, neither the government nor the leaders of the National League for Democracy have taken any effective steps to stop anti-Rohingya discrimination, provide suitable accommodations for Rohingya who have left their homes, help Rohingya who were stripped of their Myanmar citizenship regain it, or halt the activities of paramilitary organizations. Read more »

Will Irregularities and Fraud Spoil Myanmar’s Election?

by Joshua Kurlantzick
myanmar-election-NLD-rally Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi gives a speech to supporters during her campaign rally for the upcoming general election in her constituency Kawhmu township, Yangon division on October 24, 2015. (Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

On November 8, Myanmar will hold its first free national elections in twenty-five years. If the vote goes smoothly and the results are respected by all actors in the country, Myanmar could have its first democratically elected government since the early 1960s. Yet despite the excitement building over the election, and the vibrant campaigning going on across the country (itself a sign of the freedoms unleashed in Myanmar), the past few weeks have caused some Myanmar politicians and international observers to worry that this election will be fraudulent, and that a large proportion of voters will be denied the chance to call ballots. Read more »

Jokowi’s Short Trip to Washington

by Joshua Kurlantzick
jokowi-visit-obama-meeting U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (L) shake hands after their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington on October 26, 2015. Widodo will return earlier than planned from his official trip to the United States due to a haze crisis at home, a palace official said on Monday. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s visit to the United States was cut short this week. Jokowi decided to return to Indonesia less than halfway through his trip to America in order to deal with the haze crisis in Indonesia. Parts of Sumatra and Kalimintan have been devastated by the haze, which is closing businesses and causing hundreds of thousands of respiratory ailments. Jokowi will “possibly fly directly to the haze-devastated provinces of South Sumatra or Central Kalimantan…He made the decision [to cut the trip short] after he received news that conditions in these provinces had deteriorated over the last two days,” the Straits Times reported. Read more »

How Jokowi Could Solidify Reforms

by Joshua Kurlantzick
jokowi-economic-reforms Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (L) prepares at the start of cabinet meeting as State-owned enterprises minister Rini Soemarno walks past at the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, on September 29, 2015. (Darren Whiteside/Reuters)

Since August, when Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo reshuffled his cabinet, and then promised a wave of new deregulatory reforms, it has appeared that the president finally was going to embark upon serious policy changes. Jokowi had been criticized by Indonesian commentators, during most of his first term as president, for offering mixed and sometimes directionless policy messages. But his new team of ministers includes a new chief of staff renowned as a corruption-fighter, as well as a respected former central banker as his new head economic minister. Read more »

Najib Faces Trouble on All Fronts

by Joshua Kurlantzick
najib-razak-parliament Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives at parliament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on October 19, 2015. Hee Loy Sian, a Malaysian lawmaker in opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's People's Justice Party, known by its Malay acronym PKR, has submitted notice for a motion of no confidence against embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak. (Olivia Harris/Reuters)

Since July, when the Wall Street Journal and other publications broke stories alleging that hundreds of millions of dollars, possibly from a Malaysian state fund, had been deposited into Prime Minister Najib tun Razak’s personal accounts, the prime minister has been struggling to hold onto his job, and to keep more scandals from erupting. Read more »