October 22, 2009

Green Shoots of Democracy Sprouting in Asia

Ajay Chhibber, Jakarta Post

AP Photo

The seeds of democracy have been sown in much of Asia and green shoots can be seen across the region. Today there are democratically elected Governments in all eight South Asia countries and many in Southeast Asia.

The region stands at a cross-road. Some are young democracies like Bhutan and the Maldives, others like Afghanistan, Nepal and Timor-Leste are emerging from decades of conflict, and some have opted for democracy over military rule, like Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. These countries have a choice. They can deepen the roots of democracy or slip back into old ways.

Democracy is a continuous process that does not end with elections. Free and fair elections are but a first step. They go hand in hand with efforts to provide opportunities for people's voices to...

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TAGGED: Asia, Bhutan, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Timor, Natural Disaster, Southeast Asia

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