Thailand will soon hold its first election since the military seized power in a 2014 coup and many hope the vote will return Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy to democracy. The government lifted a ban on political activity when it announced the Feb. 24 election last week, but critics say the junta has taken several steps to remain in power after the vote, casting doubt on how credible the poll will be. “We have seen a systematic manipulation and distortion of the electoral process, of the will of the people, starting from the constitution,” said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political analyst at Chulalongkorn University, referring to the military-drafted constitution that was publicly ratified in 2016, two years after the coup.
Articles about voting issues in Asia, Australia and Oceania.
Technology seems to be tripping up the electoral process in the world’s largest democracy with disturbing frequency. Of late, two key issues have threatened the right to franchise of many of India’s 800 million voters. One is a software that seems to be marking genuine voters’ names for deletion from the electoral rolls. The other is electronic voting machines (EVMs), which some believe are vulnerable to tampering. While complaints relating to these issues have done the rounds for years, the latest bout, involving a large number of such grievances, was sparked during the recent elections to five Indian state legislative assemblies. The most egregious complaints occurred in the south-central state of Telangana. On polling day (Dec.07) in the state, many voters were shocked to find their names missing from the electoral rolls. This followed the election commission of India’s (ECI) admission weeks before that up to 2.2 million names had been deleted by its software for being supposed duplicates.Some people, including international badminton ace Jwala Gutta, tweeted #whereismyvote in frustration.
Two people have been killed in pre-election violence in Bangladesh, according to police, as clashes between armed rivals left dozens injured. More than 100 people have been hurt in violence on the campaign trail since Monday, when candidates from the two major parties began campaigning ahead of the December 30 poll. Police on Wednesday said two supporters from the Awami League, the ruling party headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, died from injuries sustained in brawls with opposition rivals late on Tuesday. Mobs armed with knives and batons faced off at a rally in Noakhali, a southern district, where a pro-government demonstrator was seriously injured.
Cyberattacks have threatened elections in several countries, and one of the major hacking cases was alleged foreign interference using cyber networks during the US presidential elections in 2016. Any form of interference in the election results, be it through money politics or cyberattacks, could endanger democratic well-being of the targeted country. Hence, cybersecurity must be taken seriously to take precautionary measures and prevent threat of cyberattacks. On April 17, 2019, Indonesia will hold simultaneous presidential and legislative elections believed to be among the most complex and largest elections in the world. Indonesia is the world`s fourth most populous nation, with some 260 million people, and the world`s largest archipelagic country, with over 17 thousand islands. Four months prior to the elections, cyberattacks have already increased in Indonesia, according to the National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN).
Thailand’s election law governing its lower house of parliament is set to take effect on Tuesday, paving the way for a long-awaited election to be held, likely next February. In what is expected to be a heated campaign, much attention will focus on the extent of power the military will hold following the vote. As the countdown starts, the focus now is on what Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s plans are regarding his own position and that of other parties. Since the military ousted former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014, the junta government has delayed an election several times, holding back the return of democracy.
Thousands of Georgians have staged a mass protest over the results of the country’s presidential runoff vote, alleging widespread electoral fraud and demanding snap parliamentary elections. About 25,000 opposition supporters demonstrated in the capital, Tbilisi, on Sunday, days after the former Soviet nation elected its first woman president, Salome Zurabishvili. An independent candidate backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, Zurabishvili claimed almost 60 percent of the vote to beat the opposition candidate Grigol Vashadze on Wednesday. But opposition leaders including Vashadze have refused to accept the result, pointing to instances of alleged vote-buying, voter intimidation and ballot-stuffing in the election’s second round.
A senior official at the US embassy in Dhaka said on Saturday that Washington was planning to send 12 observer teams to monitor the December 30 parliamentary elections in Bangladesh. Each team will comprise two observers and will monitor polls in various constituencies across the South Asian country, William Moeller, a political officer at the US embassy in Dhaka, told the Reuters news agency. “The Bangladesh government has emphasized that it plans to hold a free and fair election,” Moeller said.
Hong Kong authorities have barred a pro-democracy legislator from running in a local election due to his “implicit” support for Hong Kong’s independence from China, in what critics say is another instance of civil rights being eroded in the Beijing-ruled city. Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, 40, a former journalist and land activist, was democratically elected as one of Hong Kong’s 70 legislators in a 2016 election, winning more votes than any other candidate despite running as an independent. He had planned to contest a separate grassroots poll to represent a village in the rural hinterland of the New Territories.
Thousands of Georgians protested in the capital Tbilisi on Sunday against the result of the country’s presidential election, as defeated candidate Grigol Vashadze said opposition parties would challenge the outcome in court. Vashadze has described the election as a “criminal farce” and has called for snap parliamentary elections after the central election commission said on Thursday that Salome Zurabishvili, who was backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, had secured 59.5 percent of the vote. Vashadze had 40.5 percent, it said. “We don’t recognize illegitimate results of this rigged election and demand an early parliamentary election to be called in the country,” Vashadze told thousands of supporters at Sunday’s rally in Tbilisi. Zurabishvili is set to become the country’s first female head of state, although the role is largely ceremonial.
The battle to win over millions of first-time and undecided Thai voters is now increasingly being fought online as the military-run government bans campaigning ahead of a general election expected next year. New and established parties and even junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha are vying for attention on platforms ranging from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to the Line messaging service. The contest is set to intensify as the military government that seized power in 2014 prepares to finally hold an election on Feb 24. While the junta in September eased its ban on political activity, allowing parties to raise money and elect leaders, electoral campaigning and political gatherings of more than five people continued to be prohibited.