ASEAN and Members States: Persistent Authoritarianism and the Democratic Deficit
Robert Compton, SUNY-Oneonta, United States
Southeast Asian regionalism and member states experience a deficit in creating democratic space within member states and within the organization itself. From the rise, re-emergence or persistence of the military (in Thailand and Myanmar), illiberalism (the Philippines), Communist rule (Laos, Cambodia, and Viet Nam), and soft authoritarianism (Singapore and Malaysia), the democratic deficit is pronounced. This paper will examine how ASEAN has addressed the democratic deficit within members states and in the organization itself. For many years, ASEAN member states’ non-intervention approach in member states prevented addressing the democratic deficit and human rights abuses within countries. To some extent the economic growth promoted by regionalism and member states’ success at achieving them masked the democratic deficit. However, with the advent of the SDGs and increased external pressure, ASEAN and members states need to find ways to address the democratic deficit. Issues of human rights and civil liberties, electoral integrity, and NGO representation at the national and regional level remain significantly curtailed in contrast to the EU and other regional organizations. The paper contends that there is a strong and systemic rationale that links the regional democratic deficit with member states' shortcomings. Both ASEAN and member states' legitimacy and moral authority are increasingly undermined by the democratic deficit through a mutually re-enforcing dynamic.
Presentation Date/Time: Sunday, December 11, 2022 (11:20)
Session: Session 2
Room: Fai Kham Room