Modi’s reformation

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a campaign rally ahead of local elections in Indian-held Kashmir on December 8, 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Deepanshu Mohan, O.P. Jindal Global University

Entering 2015 with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in power at the federal level in India, there appears to have been a metamorphosis in India’s social, political and economic environment. The BJP and its coalition was voted into power in 2014 in a landslide victory, promising ‘development’ for India. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development agenda has been held back by attempts to promote Hindu nationalism. Read more…

What will Abe deliver now?

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows after being re-elected, as lawmakers applaud in the Lower House of the Parliament in Tokyo, Japan, 24 December 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

After a decisive election victory on 14 December, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would seem to be in an extremely sweet spot to deliver on both his main domestic and international policy agendas. Read more…

What now for Abe third time round

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech at a New Year party of business group Japan Association of New Economy, 22 January 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Nobumasa Akiyama, Hitotsubashi University

Shinzo Abe’s second term as prime minister of Japan, unlike his first, was a modest success through till 2014. But he will have to bring real and tangible outcomes for Japan and the Japanese economy if it is to succeed the third time round. Read more…

Bright signs on the horizon for the Philippines


Author: Cesar Virata, Manila

The economy of the Philippines hit some rough patches in 2014. The outlook for 2015, on the other hand, is fairly strong.

GDP growth slowed down to about 6 per cent. This was because government spending — in particular, infrastructure spending — did not meet its targets. Read more…

People power trounces Sri Lanka’s war winning President Rajapaska


Author: Saman Kelegama, IPS

Two months before the Sri Lankan presidential elections, few thought that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would lose. There was no formidable opponent from the opposition to challenge him. Since his re-election after the war victory in 2009 for a second term in 2010, his party had won all the Provincial Council elections — except for the Northern Province — held on a staggered basis. Read more…

Change finally on the way for Cambodia


Author: Kheang Un, Northern Illinois University

Cambodia had a year of political reform in 2014, and observers are sceptical about how much change it will bring. But it might be premature to dismiss Prime Minister Hun Sen’s reform efforts as cosmetic. Read more…

Taiwan’s young rise up


Author: Jennifer Chen, Harvard Graduate School of Education

It has been widely argued that the defeat of Taiwan’s ruling Nationalist Party’s (KMT) in the ‘nine-in-one’ local elections revealed nationwide disillusionment with the government. The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won 13 of the 22 cities and counties, and the KMT only managed to retain 6 of the 15 localities that they had previously held. Read more…

Democracy is the biggest challenge for South Korea in 2015


Author: Kim Keeseok, Kangwon National University

It is not hard to list the domestic and international challenges for South Korea for 2015. There are many.

At the end of 2014, South Korea faces economic slowdown, an ageing population, worsening socio-economic inequality, rising youth unemployment, mounting household debt and a real-estate market slump. Read more…

No hope on the horizon for Pakistan’s myriad problems


Author: Sajjad Ashraf, NUS

Pakistan is in a state of discord. Its civilian governance structure is becoming corrupt and oligarchic. Its façade of democratic order belies a more tawdry reality characterised by money, patronage and cronyism, in which parliament exists to enhance the privileges of the few. Read more…

A new star playing to an old script in India

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The story of 2014 in India was the story of Modi’s rise from chief minister of Gujarat to prime minister of India. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Arun Swamy, University of Guam

The story of 2014 in India was the story of Narendra Modi’s rise from chief minister of Gujarat to prime minister of India. Son of a tea stall owner and once associated with the 2002 massacre of Muslims on his watch as chief minister, Modi electrified the electorate during a six-month campaign. Read more…

Xi’s the man in 2014


Author: Kerry Brown, University of Sydney

It became clear in 2014 that Xi Jinping was the dominant leader of China. Even President Obama recognised this at the end of the year, stating that no recent Chinese leader had consolidated power so quickly as Xi since Deng Xiaoping. Read more…

The economics of Sri Lanka’s mid-term elections

Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa holds a baby as he meets with supporters ahead of the upcoming midterm election, Vavuniya, 2 January 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Dushni Weerakoon, IPS

Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has called a snap mid-term election on 8 January 2015, two years ahead of schedule, in a bid to win a third term in office. What was largely expected to be a one-horse race has quickly become a close run proposition, with the surprise entry of Maithripala Sirisena —the General Secretary of the president’s own Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), no less — as the common opposition candidate. Read more…

A new India is rising

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters celebrate the party victory as results continue to come in favor of BJP, in Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir, India, 23 December 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Rajiv Kumar, Center for Policy Studies, India

India had a landmark year in 2014. A new political, cultural and economic reality is emerging.

The trend of political fragmentation that started with the general election in 1989 and saw a succession of coalition governments over the next 25 years has been decisively reversed. Read more…