Asia

Articles about voting issues in Asia, Australia and Oceania.

Indonesia: Russian, Chinese language Hackers Interfering With Indonesian Presidential Election | Brinkwire

Indonesia has identified China and Russia as sources of an ongoing wave of relentless cyber assaults intended to disrupt the country’s presidential elections on April 17. The attacks originate in Russia and China, said Arief Budiman, head of Indonesia’s General Elections Commission or KPU. Budiman also said some of the cyberattacks are attempts to “manipulate or modify” content. Others aim to create ghost voters, or fake voter identities. “They try to hack our system,” according to Budiman. “Not only every day. Almost every hour,” he said. The KPU head said it remains unclear if the motive of this continuing wave of attacks is “to disrupt Indonesia” or to help one of the candidates win. Incumbent president Joko Widodo is squaring-off against Prabowo Subianto, a former special forces general in the election.

Full Article: Russian, Chinese language Hackers Interfering With Indonesian Presidential Election – Brinkwire.

India: For democracy’s sake, electronic voting machines must have proper VVPAT-based audit | Hindustan Times

The bizarre claim made in London recently about the alleged hacking of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in previous elections has done more harm than good by diverting public attention from genuine concerns about EVMs and the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) lack of transparency in the matter. The controversy over the security of EVMs dates back to the early 2000s, and is not confined to India. A consensus has emerged that voters can’t verify whether their votes have been recorded and counted correctly, and that miscounts due to EVM malfunction or fraud are undetectable and unchallengeable. Hence, an additional verifiable physical record of every vote cast in the form of voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) is required. In 2013, the Supreme Court mandated the use of EVMs with VVPAT units, and ECI has been deploying these in assembly elections from 2017 onwards.

Full Article: For democracy’s sake, EVMs must have proper VVPAT-based audit | analysis | Hindustan Times.

Comoros: Leader’s main rivals barred from March vote | AFP

Thirteen candidates have been cleared for the March presidential vote in the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros, the Supreme Court announced Saturday, barring the main challengers of President Azali Assoumani. Nineteen candidates had registered for the March 24 election and of those given the go ahead, only Azali is backed by a party. The others are contesting as independents. Azali, who was voted into office in 2016, is tipped to win the election. His chief rivals were former vice-president Mohamed Ali Soilih and Ibrahim Mohamed Soule, whose bids for the top job were quashed by the Supreme Court, which is composed exclusively of Azali’s allies.

Full Article: Comoros leader's main rivals barred from March vote - Journal du Cameroun.

Indonesia: Cyber Challenge in Focus with Looming 2019 Elections | The Diplomat

Late last week, Indonesia’s military chief issued a call to the country’s security forces to upgrade their digital skills to confront a range of challenges. His comments were just the latest in a long string of similar statements issued by Indonesian officials highlighting the country’s cyber challenges as it prepares to head into presidential elections in April. As I have noted before in these pages, along with other Asian states, Indonesia has been taking steps to confront some of the cyber challenges it has long faced. Indonesia is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to cyber attacks, and the challenge has grown at an alarming rate over the past few years including under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, with the full spectrum of challenges including not just national security or e-commerce, but also in the distribution of so-called fake news and even issues related to e-voting.

Full Article: Indonesia’s Cyber Challenge in Focus with Looming 2019 Elections | The Diplomat.

Philippines: Ballots to have additional security features | The Philippine Star

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is adopting additional security features in the ballots to be used in the coming May 2019 midterm elections to ensure their integrity and credibility. “The ballots will have the normal security features like marks, barcodes and a few others,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez disclosed in an interview over the weekend. One of the additional features is machine-readable ultraviolet (UV) markings on the ballots, he said. “UV marks can be read by machine and if not readable it will then be rejected,” Jimenez said. He declined to discuss the other features for security reasons.

Full Article: Ballots to have additional security features | Philstar.com.

Thailand: Princess disqualified from prime minister bid | CNN

Officials have disqualified a Thai princess from running for prime minister in next month’s general election after her brother, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, said her nomination would be “inappropriate.” Thailand’s Electoral Commission announced on Monday that the “monarchy must remain above politics.” In a shock announcement on Friday, Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya, 67, said she would stand as the prime ministerial candidate for the Thai Raksa Chart Party (Thai Save The Nation, or TSN) aligned with populist former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by the military in a 2006 coup.

Full Article: Thailand election 2019: Princess disqualified from prime minister bid - CNN.

Thailand: The Military Writes the Rules in Thailand’s Election | Fair Observer

Although Thailand will officially hold its first general election in five years on March 24, 2019, the notion that the country will become fully democratic as a result is naive at best and dangerous at worst. The fact is that after the election, Thailand will remain just as undemocratic and most likely governed by an undemocratic administration that has seized and held onto power through undemocratic means. It is absolutely imperative that the international community is aware of this and continues to apply pressure on the Thai government to undergo genuine democratic reforms. The current leader, General Prayuth Gen-o-cha, became prime minister of Thailand in May 2014 after engineering a coup following months of street protests against the government of Yingluck Shinawatra. It was Thailand’s 12th coup d’état since the abolishment of absolute monarchy in 1932. Since then, General Prayuth has ruled with an iron grip through essentially unlimited powers that he has granted himself in the 2014 interim constitution. He has arrested hundreds who have dared to criticize the junta and has gone out of his way to stifle both online and offline political discourse.

Full Article: Thailand's Upcoming Election Will Be Illegitimate.

Kazakhstan: President Dismisses Talk of Snap Election | Associated Press

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Tuesday dismissed reports that he was planning a snap election after he sought clarification on a clause in the constitution covering the length of his term. In a video address published online, Nazarbayev said his request to the Constitutional Court on Monday had been a routine one meant to clarify gaps in sections covering the replacement of a president, an incumbent’s resignation and other areas. “Of course, everyone is interested… in the elections, (political) transition,” he said.

Full Article: Kazakh President Dismisses Talk of Snap Election | World News | US News.

Thailand: 15 election candidates change their names to those of former Prime Ministers | The Guardian

More than a dozen candidates in the forthcoming Thai elections have changed their names to those of former prime ministers. Less than two months before the long-awaited elections, excitement is running high. Almost 6,000 candidates turned up on the first day of registration on Monday, no one wants to miss a chance to win a seat. Party spokeswoman Ketpreeya Kaewsanmuang said 10 men had legally changed their names to Thaksin, after the former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and five women had changed their name to Yingluck, after his sister who also led the nation.

Full Article: 15 Thai election candidates change their names to those of former PMs | World news | The Guardian.

Thailand: Enthusiasm crashes Thailand election website on first day of early-voting registration | The Straits Times

Thailand’s website for early-voting registration crashed on Monday (Jan 28) morning after a huge number of voters rushed to secure their balloting rights, leading to speculation that the upcoming election could see a high turnout. The March 24 poll will be the country’s first general election in seven years. Early voting this year will take place from March 4 to 17. The online registration opened after midnight on the website of the Department of Public Administration. But the website went down in the morning after too many voters tried to access the site at the same time. The Election Commission’s (EC) deputy secretary-general Nat Laosisavakul said the crash was due to a large number of people entering the website. The failure, in particular, affected those registering for overseas voting, he said.

Full Article: Enthusiasm crashes Thailand election website on first day of early-voting registration, SE Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times.

Bangladesh: Election under new scrutiny | The Hindu

The dust was about to settle with the election fever dissipating in Bangladesh. The political scene was slowly returning to an atmosphere of relative calm. Then came a damning report from the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) that uncovered “serious wrongdoings” during the December 30 election. The list of irregularities in 47 out of 50 constituencies surveyed by the TIB includes ballot stuffing in the hours to the election day, fake votes and obstruction of voters. The TIB also said security forces on the scene silently stood by when these irregularities took place. “Law-enforcement agencies, a section of administrative officials and election authorities were seen playing biased roles in the election,” Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB, who uses one name, said in a statement on January 15.

Full Article: Bangladesh election under new scrutiny - The Hindu.

Bangladesh: Some in election observer group say they now regret involvement | Reuters

A top official at an observer group that monitored Bangladesh’s election, as well as one of its foreign volunteers, have said they regret participating in the process, casting doubt on the credibility of a vote won overwhelmingly by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling alliance. The president of the SAARC Human Rights Foundation told Reuters he now believed there should be a fresh vote after hearing accounts from voters and officials presiding over polling booths that activists from Hasina’s Awami League stuffed ballot boxes the night before the poll and intimidated voters. “Now I have come to know everything, and can say that the election was not free and fair,” said Mohammad Abdus Salam, a 75-year-old former high court division justice.

Full Article: Exclusive: Some in Bangladesh election observer group say they now regret involvement | Reuters.

Thailand: Thailand to hold first election since 2014 coup d’etat | Al Jazeera

After more than four years of military rule, Thailand will finally hold elections on March 24. The poll will be the first since generals overthrew a democratically elected government in 2014 after months of violent street protests. The election commission announced the decision on Wednesday after having postponed the vote’s date several times. In December, the commission said the elections would be held on February 24, but the military government expressed concern that election-related events would clash with early preparations for the coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, scheduled for May 4-6.

Full Article: Thailand to hold first election since 2014 coup d'etat | Elections 2018 News | Al Jazeera.

India: Cyber expert claims India’s 2014 general election was ‘rigged’ | Times of India

An Indian cyber expert, seeking political asylum in the US, on Monday claimed that the 2014 general election was “rigged” through the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which, he says, can be hacked. Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, the man, identified as Syed Suja, said he fled India in 2014 because he felt threatened in the country after the killing of some of his team members. He claimed the telecom giant Reliance Jio helped the BJP to get low frequency signals to hack the EVMs. Shuja said the BJP would have won Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh elections if his team hadn’t intercepted the BJP attempts to hack the transmissions in these states.

Full Article: Cyber expert claims India's 2014 general election was 'rigged' | India News - Times of India.

India: Electronic Voting Machine and its history with India: Controversy over EVMs malfunctioning, rigging allegations are not new | Firstpost

Controversy is brewing over an Indian cyber expert’s claim that EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) were hacked in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections which the BJP had won by a landslide margin. Reacting strongly to the allegations, the Election Commission rejected the claims and insisted that the EVMs were foolproof and that it was ‘wary of becoming a party to this motivated slugfest’. Addressing a press conference in London via Skype, the individual, identified as Syed Shuja, said he fled India in 2014 because he felt threatened in the country after the killing of some of his team members. Although he appeared on screen through Skype, his face was masked. Shuja claimed that he is seeking political asylum in the US. Shuja, however, provided no proof to back up his claim. Shuja also alleged that other than the BJP, the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, AAP and Congress too were involved in the rigging of the EVMs. EVMs can record a maximum of 3,840 votes and can cater to a maximum of 64 candidates. There are 543 Lok Sabha constituencies and an equivalent number of seats in the Lower House of Parliament. To win a simple majority more than 272 seats are therefore needed. BJP won 51.9 percent of all seats in 2014 elections. In the 2014 election, 66.4 percent out of the total electorate of 834,101,479 voted.

Full Article: Electronic Voting Machine and its history with India: Controversy over EVMs malfunctioning, rigging allegations are not new.

Thailand: Thailand to Hold First General Election Since Coup in 2014 | Bloomberg

Thailand will hold a general election on March 24 for the first time since a coup in May 2014. The date was set by the Election Commission in Bangkok on Wednesday, a few hours after a royal decree was issued authorizing the poll. Voting will take place under a military-backed charter, ending one of the longest periods of rule by a junta in Thailand’s modern history. The military government over the years repeatedly pushed back the election timeline, after seizing power following a period of unrest that included bloody street protests. The looming vote now puts the focus back on political risk in a country with a history of polls followed by demonstrations and coups.

Full Article: Thailand to Hold First General Election Since Coup in 2014 - Bloomberg.

India: Electronic Voting Machines hacked in 2014, claims US-based Indian ‘cyber expert’; EC rejects allegations | Hindustan Times

A man claiming to be a cyber expert and a former employee of the Electronic Corporation of India Ltd on Monday made a series of unsubstantiated allegations about the vulnerability of electronic voting machines used in India, including in the 2014 general election. The man, named as Syed Shuja of Hyderabad origin, appeared at a news conference through Skype. He said he was based in the United States, where he got political asylum after fleeing India due to threats to his life and allegedly in a serious medical condition in 2014. According to Shuja, who said he also went by other names, 200 seats in the 2014 elections that would have been won by the Congress had been rigged in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party by manipulating data transmission through what he called ‘military-grade modulators’ installed in various parts of the country.

Full Article: EVMs hacked in 2014, claims US-based Indian ‘cyber expert’; EC rejects allegations | world news | Hindustan Times.

Thailand: Rival groups demonstrate in Thailand as election tensions grow | Reuters

Rival groups held demonstrations in Thailand’s capital on Saturday, with hundreds of people demanding quick elections to end military rule and a much smaller group of pro-junta supporters saying it was too soon for a vote. The competing protests were tiny compared to those that paralyzed Bangkok in 2014 before the army seized power in the name of ending instability, but were an indication of the tensions in the run-up to a long-delayed ballot. No date has been set for an election which was first promised for 2015 and most recently postponed from Feb. 24. Hundreds joined a demonstration calling for elections on March 10.

Full Article: Rival groups demonstrate in Thailand as election tensions grow | Reuters.

Thailand: Thailand faces bigger protests against election delay | Nikkei Asian Review

A backlash is growing in Thailand against the military junta’s apparent move to further delay elections that are supposed to restore civilian rule, with pro-democracy demonstrators planning to step up their protests in the capital this weekend. The government had given assurances that voting would take place on Feb. 24. But in the latest suggestion that the polls could be pushed back yet again, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam on Thursday said March 24 was the “most suitable date” because it would not overlap with events related to King Vajiralongkorn’s coronation in early May.

Full Article: Thailand faces bigger protests against election delay - Nikkei Asian Review.

Bangladesh: Government Rejects Report Claiming “Irregularities” In Polls | NDTV

Anti-corruption group Transparency International said on Tuesday it found “irregularities” in 47 of 50 constituencies it surveyed during last month’s general election in Bangladesh, which was marred by allegations of vote rigging. The poll that gave Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina a third straight term was undermined by ballot stuffing, voter intimidation and the occupation of polling booths among other malpractices, the group’s Bangladesh chapter said. The government rejected the report, saying the group had “lost its neutrality” and should be investigated for any “secret link” to the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). In its report, Transparency International said the BNP-led opposition could not effectively campaign for votes, opposition workers were threatened by government agencies, and the Election Commission could not ensure a level-playing field for all parties.

Full Article: Bangladesh Government Rejects Report Claiming "Irregularities" In Polls.