Asia

Articles about voting issues in Asia, Australia and Oceania.

Maldives: Voters fear fraud as high-stakes election looms | Al Jazeera

The usual din of fishmongers’ cries on the Maldivian capital’s waterfront was drowned out by loud boos on Tuesday when a truck carrying flag-waving activists campaigning to re-elect President Abdulla Yameen lumbered past them. It’s a sight that has become common in Male’s busy market, where a web of pink and yellow campaign banners hangs between every lamppost and from every fishing boat’s mast. Earlier this week, Yameen’s spokesman was booed out of the area by opposition supporters angry over corruption and human rights abuses in this popular Indian Ocean honeymoon destination. Yameen, 59, is standing for a second five-year term in polls on Sunday, promising “transformative economic development”, including jobs and housing for the Maldives’ large youth population. Read More

Malaysia: Cabinet decides to lower voting age from 21 to 18 | The Straits Times

The Malaysian Cabinet has decided to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. The decision was made at its weekly meeting on Wednesday (Sept 19), and work on amending the Federal Constitution will begin soon, said Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman. “One of the things to be done is to work closely with the youth wings of opposition parties as a two-thirds majority is needed for laws to be amended,” he told reporters. “By the next general election, 18-year-olds can cast their votes, that is for certain,” he added. Read More

Maldives: Opposition party raises alarm over fair conduct of presidential poll | Times of India

The Maldives’ opposition party Wednesday raised concerns over conduct of the presidential elections on Sunday in a free and fair manner by the country’s poll body, which it alleged has deployed activists of the ruling dispensation for the poll duty. President Abdulla Yameen, of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), is seeking a second five-year term in the Indian Ocean archipelago, a popular high-end tourist destination. Yemeen had imposed a state of emergency in February after the Supreme Court quashed the conviction of nine opposition leaders, including the country’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed, the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leader, is currently in exile in Sri Lanka. He has been barred from contesting the Sunday’s polls. Read More

Bangladesh: National Economic Council approves USD 456 million project to procure electronic voting machines | Business Standard News

Bangladesh plans to buy 1.5 lakh electronic voting machines at a cost of nearly USD 456 million, the country’s top economic policy-making body announced Tuesday. The project was approved at the weekly Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) meeting here headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal said the Prime Minister had directed that the voting machines should initially be used in urban areas as the number of educated people in cities and towns is higher. “The EVMs will be used mainly in urban areas at first and will gradually be introduced in other areas,” he was quoted as saying by the ‘Dhaka Tribune’. Read More

Maldives: Tropical Maldives heads to polls amid criticism over fairness of vote | Reuters

More than a quarter of a million people will vote on Sunday for the next leader of the tropical Maldives in an election criticized internationally for a lack of transparency and suppression of government critics. President Abdulla Yameen is seeking a second five-year term in the Indian Ocean archipelago, a popular high-end tourist destination and a key state in the battle for influence between India and China. But the government has jailed many of his main rivals after speedy trials for charges ranging from terrorism to corruption, and introduced new vote-counting rules that observers say will prevent them from seeing individual ballot papers, leading to doubts about the legitimacy of the vote. Read More

Bhutan: Ruling party defeated in first round of polls, the country’s third-ever election | AFP

Bhutan’s prime minister conceded defeat on Sunday (Sept 16), after the ruling party was knocked out in the first round of the small Himalayan nation’s third-ever election. Harvard-educated Tshering Tobgay was seeking a second term in the poll but fell short of two rival parties, who will contest a runoff on Oct 18. Election officials said that the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) party, which won Bhutan’s first-ever election when the kingdom transitioned to democracy in 2008, attracted nearly 93,000 votes, narrowly beating the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) party. “I congratulate DNT and DPT and their candidates (on) their outstanding performance,” Mr Tobgay posted on Twitter. Read More

Bhutan: Bhutan seeks more happiness in third election ever | AFP

Voters in Bhutan, “Land of the Thunder Dragon”, went to the polls Saturday in the first round of only the third election in the small Himalayan nation wedged between rivals India and China. The two parties with the most votes will contest a runoff on October 18, with Harvard-educated Tshering Tobgay, 52, hoping for a second consecutive term as prime minister. But the keen mountain-biker’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) faces a tough challenge from the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), winner of Bhutan’s first election in 2008, and two other parties. The 800,000 inhabitants of Switzerland-sized Bhutan got television in 1999 and democracy arrived only in 2008 when its “dragon kings” ceded absolute power. Read More

India: Old electronic voting machines destroyed, buyers have to seek election commission nod | Hindustan Times

The election commission (EC) does not provide or sell electronic voting machines (EVMs) that are no longer in use to any local body, state or university to conduct elections nor can buyers procure machines from the manufacturers without the consent of the poll panel. Officials aware of the issue said on Friday that all obsolete machines –that are older than 15 years—are sent back to the manufacturers where these are destroyed as per protocol in the presence of EC officials. “A decision was taken in 2010 that all machines that are discontinued will not be lent out to anyone; because when the machines were given earlier, the users did not stick to the necessary protocol for use. When glitches occurred thereafter, there was confusion and the EC ended up getting blamed, so a decision was taken that all EVMs that are discontinued after 15 years of use will be destroyed,” an official requesting anonymity said. The EC’s clarification comes in the wake of allegations that the machines used during the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections, the results of which were announced on Thursday, were faulty. Read More

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Georgia’s Rose Revolution Recedes Into Russia’s Shadow | Bloomberg

Georgia’s Rose Revolution, one of the most dramatic and hopeful episodes of the post-Cold War era, will mark its 15th anniversary in a matter of weeks. For 20 days in November 2003, citizens flooded the streets of Tbilisi and other major cities to protest a stolen election. By the end of the month, a strongman had resigned and a new Georgia was born. At the time, most Western observers saw these protests and elections as a triumph of the liberal, democratic world order. Today, as the gains of 2003 erode, this former Soviet republic is in danger of becoming a cautionary tale. I was able to assess the matter for myself this week on a trip to Tbilisi for a conference aptly titled “The World Upside Down.” It’s a mixed picture. On the one hand, there are genuine opposition parties and a free press. Most urban Georgians consider themselves European, and most of their politicians still openly say they want to join NATO. When the leader of the Rose Revolution, Mikheil Saakashvili, stepped down as president in 2013 after losing an election, another important milestone was reached with the peaceful transfer of power. Read More

Maldives: Farcical Elections In Maldives – Analysis | Eurasia Review

Several countries including the United States, India and the European Union (EU) have raised serious doubts over the fairness of the Maldives presidential elections to be held on 23rd September. Bending the rules and abusing state resources, an autocratic President “Abdulla Yameen” is fighting to get himself ‘selected for his second term. He has been accused of series of corruption charges-he has mocked the human rights of the people of the nation, has put every possible contestant in jail or driven them to exile, muzzled the press and has controlled all administrative apparatus to silence his political opponents. The foreign media ( domestic has been terrorized and subdued) has strongly condemned this impropriety. China loves dictators and is not comfortable with true democracies! Ignoring immediate neighbours and their concerns Yameen has sought the support of China just to stay in power by any means. Read More