Nepal constitutional reform an uphill battle

A boy carries the national flag of Nepal during a protest in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015 (Photo: AAP)

Author: Siegfried O. Wolf, Heidelberg University

Nepal is once again trying to change the nature of its political system. After the end of a 10-year Maoist insurgency in 2006, it is drafting a new constitution. Due to numerous unfortunate political undercurrents, numerous interruptions meant the constitutional-building process was delayed for more than seven years. Finally, on 20 September 2015 Nepal has formally adopted a new constitution, the first to be drawn up by democratically elected representatives after centuries of autocratic rule.

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Abe bites the security bullet

People hold placards to protest against Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's controversial security bills near the National Diet in Tokyo on 19 September 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

As the Japanese Diet moved to secure passage of the Abe government’s new security bills early Saturday morning, disquiet about what this might mean for Japan’s place in the world appears to continue unabated among the Japanese people. Abe’s legislative success has not been matched by an ability to persuade the majority of the electorate to get behind the new laws. Read more…

Abe’s new security legislation doubles-down on the US alliance

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waits for a vote of opposition-submitted no-confidence motion against his cabinet at the lower house of the parliament in Tokyo, 18 September 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

In the wee hours of the morning yesterday, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)–Komeito coalition muscled a suite of security-related bills through the upper house of the Diet. The bills, now certain to become law, fundamentally re-draw the legal parameters of security cooperation in which the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) may now engage. Read more…

Simultaneous local elections won’t help Indonesian governance

Indonesian electoral officials check ballot boxes at a local election center the day after presidential elections in Jakarta on 10 July, 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Alexander R Arifianto, RSIS

On 9 December, Indonesia will have its first simultaneous local executive elections to elect governors, district heads and mayors in 269 localities (out of 537) across Indonesia. While direct election of local executives has been held since 2004, this is the first time these elections will be held simultaneously on a single day. Read more…

PAP’s win silences its critics

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong celebrates after the results of the general election are announced, 11 September 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Netina Tan, McMaster University

In the 2015 election, Singaporeans strongly endorsed the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and gave Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong a strong mandate to lead for the next five years. Despite the online dissent and the large crowds that thronged the opposition rallies, the PAP won a handsome 70.1 per cent of the popular vote. Read more…

The rise and fall of Japan’s opposition


Author: Kevin Placek, SSRC

On 27 August, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto abruptly announced his resignation from the Japan Innovation Party (JIP). Hashimoto, who founded the party, has arguably been the single most important driving force behind the JIP’s electoral success and its emergence as the second-largest opposition party after the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). Read more…

Singapore’s PAP wins over the youth and secures its future

Singapore election

Author: Michael D. Barr, Flinders University

One of the lingering questions of Singapore politics over the last couple of decades has been how to measure the effectiveness the National Education program introduced to schools in the second half of the 1990s. The program was designed to instil into the next generation a deep sense of gratitude to founding father Lee Kuan Yew and the People’s Action Party (PAP) government that he led for 30 years. Read more…