Step aside Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, there are equally (some would argue more) gripping electoral contests occurring on the other side of the world—in Southeast Asia. Myanmar’s by-elections on April 1 were groundbreaking. Timor-Leste’s ongoing presidential elections seem to have already thrust the country in a new direction. And in Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak may not have called for a vote, but election fever is in the air.
Nearby India’s elections in five states, including its most populous—Uttar Pradesh—delivered a rude shock to the incumbent state government and the national Congress Party. And in China, the events surrounding Bo Xilai, the ex-mayor of Chongqing, will undoubtedly have a bearing on the Communist Party’s internal elections later this year. The government needs to fill seven positions in the nine-member Standing Committee of the Politburo—the country’s most powerful political body.