June 14, 2019

Each day, 21votes gathers election and political news from a different region of the world. We explore Asia and the Pacific on Fridays. Click the map pins.

Hong Kong Local - November 24, 2019 and Legislative - Due September 2020

Washington Post: “What’s happening on Kong Kong? Scenes from the biggest protests in half a decade: Hong Kong saw its biggest protests in five years on Sunday, with thousands challenging a new bill that would allow extraditions to China.”

Meighan Stone, Council on Foreign Relations: “Five Questions with Denise Ho: From the Front Lines of the Hong Kong Protests”

Jonathan Manthorpe, Asia Times: “China determined to crush Hong Kong dream. The CCP has never seen HK as anything more than unfinished business from China’s ‘century of humiliation’”

Mike Ives, New York Times: “Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed chief executive, Carrie Lam, has stridently defended the bill and denounced the protesters. But one of her top advisers and a pro-Beijing lawmaker added their voices on Friday to calls for delaying the measure — evidence that Mrs. Lam’s hard-line position may be backfiring….The remarks could signal that public pressure is forcing Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing faction, which has been a staunch supporter of Mrs. Lam on the extradition issue, to speak out against it.”

Scott Neuman, NPR: “In a radio call-in program on RTHK on Friday, Executive Council convener Bernard Chan, who advises Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, acknowledged that he had underestimated opposition to the measure, particularly from the business community….And the lawmaker Michael Tien became the first member of the legislature’s pro-Beijing faction to openly call for a delay of the bill’s passage.”

Eleanor Albert, Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder: “Democracy in Hong Kong: As China’s power continues to grow, some fear that the considerable autonomy Hong Kong has enjoyed over the last three decades could slip away.”

Alice Su, Los Angeles Times: “A new kind of Hong Kong activism emerges as protesters mobilize without any leaders”

Rebecca Falconer, Axios: “In photos: Hong Kong government offices shut as protesters rally”

Greg Torode, Reuters: “Hong Kong tycoons start moving assets offshore as fears rise over new extradition law”

Chris Patten [the final British governor of Hong Kong], The Guardian: “Britain has a duty to help Hong Kong out of this dark moment”

Kinling Lo, South China Morning Post: “China summons US envoy in protest over Washington’s condemnation of Hong Kong extradition bill”

Kelly Olsen, CNBC: “Hong Kong activists say they are planning another mass rally at the weekend to pressure the government to drop a plan to allow extraditions to China, as worries over the future of the former British colony’s unique status grow. The Civil Human Rights Front, a political advocacy group, announced Thursday on its Facebook page that it applied for a police permit to hold a march on Sunday.”

AFP: “Encrypted messaging service Telegram suffered a major cyber-attack that appeared to originate from China, the company’s CEO said Thursday, linking it to the ongoing political unrest in Hong Kong. Many protesters in the city have used Telegram to evade electronic surveillance and coordinate their demonstrations against a controversial Beijing-backed plan that would allow extraditions from the semi-autonomous territory to the mainland.”

Layla Mashkoor and Kassy Cho, Buzzfeed: “Chinese State Media And Others Are Spreading Hoaxes About The Protests In Hong Kong. As protesters have filled the streets, so have hoaxes and misinformation online.”

Taiwan Presidential - January 11, 2020

Stratfor: “Taiwan is preparing to enter a fierce campaign season as it looks ahead to presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 11, 2020, with the election result set to determine the tenor of Taiwan’s relations with China for years to come.”

Nick Aspinwall, Washington Post: “Taiwan’s president holds off primary challenge in race that’s all about China. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen successfully fended off a surprise primary challenge from her former premier Thursday, giving a boost to her policies to counter China going into January’s election. Tsai’s personal popularity had been declining since her landslide election victory in 2016, and polls suggested she might have struggled to win reelection. But the primary outcome indicated support for her efforts to balance relations with China while also seeking closer relations with the United States as a counterweight to Beijing.”

Lawrence Chung, South China Morning Post: “The mainland-friendly KMT meanwhile announced five candidates for its primaries, based on public opinion surveys to be held between July 5 and July 15, with the results to be made public on July 16.”

Adela Lin and Chinmei Sung, Bloomberg: “China’s Hard Line in Hong Kong Boosts Beijing Critics in Taiwan”

Reuters: “Taiwan says Hong Kong’s planned extradition law triggers human rights concerns”

Burma Parliamentary - Expected November 2020

Moe Moe, The Irrawaddy: “President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will contest the 2020 general elections, said spokesperson of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) U Myo Nyunt.”

Htet Naing Zaw, The Irrawaddy: “The opposition Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDP) has fired back at accusations that all the party’s assets are illegally acquired, state-owned property….The USDP evolved out of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), a mass organization established by the military regime in the 1990s….The party is widely perceived as a political proxy for the military and has faced accusations of illegally appropriating public property.”

Japan Legislative (Half of upper house) - July 2019

Japan Times: “Speculation that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will dissolve the Lower House for a ‘double election’ this summer began to dissipate Monday, as an official close to him said such a move would not be needed when the Cabinet has stable support. Some had speculated that the prime minister would be tempted to call a snap election to coincide with the triennial election for half of the Upper House, in an apparent bid to boost voter interest and turnout.”

Australia Federal Parliamentary - May 18, 2019

The New Daily: “Federal election seat count finalised, with Morrison government securing 77 seats”

Joshua Kurlantzick, Council on Foreign Relations’ Asia Unbound: “What Do the Australian Elections Mean for Canberra’s Policies Toward Indonesia and the Rest of Southeast Asia?”

Philippines Legislative and Local - May 13, 2019

Shane Croucher, Newsweek: “Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned his politician daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio away from any aspirations for the country’s top office, and said he “deeply regretted” standing. Duterte-Carpio, also referred to as Inday Sara, has already followed in the footsteps of her father by becoming the Mayor of Davao, the same role he held before ascending to the presidency. She is touted as a potential successor and has expressed interest.”

John Reed, OZY: “Sara Duterte first became a national figure in the Philippines in 2011 when, as mayor of the southern city of Davao, she was filmed punching a sheriff during a dispute over a shantytown demolition. Since her father Rodrigo Duterte’s 2016 presidential victory, she has been propelled further into the national spotlight. She has been seen alongside the populist strongman at official functions, even acting as first lady during the recent state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.”

Nick Aspinwall, Foreign Policy: “Duterte Turns Death Squads on Political Activists. Government-backed vigilantes in the Philippines are targeting farmers and protesters.”

Claire Jiao, Andreo Calonzo and Hannah Dormido, Bloomberg: “A Power Shift Is Under Way in Duterte’s Game of Thrones: Think of it as Southeast Asia’s Game of Thrones without the dragons, zombies or sword fights: A group of families with ever-changing alliances battling for power across a diverse archipelago.”

Noah Flora, The Nation: “In the Philippines, a Youth Movement Stands Between Duterte and Dictatorship. Duterte will take control of Congress, but his quest for more power must be stopped.”

Editorial Board, Washington Post: “The U.N. must seek out the truth on Duterte’s death squads”

Indonesia Presidential, Legislative, Provincial - April 17, 2019

Reuters: “Lawyers for Indonesia’s opposition called on Friday for President Joko Widodo’s election victory to be annulled, telling the country’s Constitutional Court it had been achieved through ‘systematic electoral fraud and abuse of power.’ Official results released by the General Election Commission last month showed Widodo, or Jokowi as he is commonly known, beat Prabowo Subianto, a retired general, by 11 percentage points in the April poll, winning more than 55 percent of the votes. His rival has refused to concede defeat.”

Channel News Asia: “The dispute has prompted weeks of uncertainty in the world’s third-largest democracy. Violent clashes broke out between Prabowo’s supporters and police in the heart of the capital Jakarta last month after the official result was announced.”

Arys Aditya and Tassia Sipahutar, Bloomberg: “Indonesia Stays Calm as Court Hears Prabowo’s Election Challenge”

AFP Fact Check: “Multiple Facebook posts claim that the Indonesian Constitutional Court has declared defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto the “winner” of the country’s April 2019 election. The claim is false; the Constitutional Court only began hearing Prabowo’s legal challenge of the election results on June 14, 2019; there has been no court announcement on the outcome of the legal challenge and a verdict is not expected until June 28, 2019, the judge in charge of the case said.”

Thailand Parliamentary - March 24, 2019

Zsombor Peter, Voice of America: “When Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha swears in his new cabinet this month, the ex-general who toppled Thailand’s elected government five years ago will officially return civilian rule to a country that has made a cottage industry of coup d’états….Pundits already are predicting when, not if, the new government will collapse.”

Joshua Kurlantzick, Council on Foreign Relations’ Asia Unbound: “What is Prayuth’s Agenda? Earlier this month, the retired general who led a military coup in Thailand five years ago, Prayuth Chan-ocha, was formally confirmed as prime minister by King Vajiralongkorn, after parliament unsurprisingly voted to hand the position to the former coup leader.”

Toru Takahashi, Nikkei Asian Review: “Prayuth’s return as prime minister takes Thailand back to 1980s. Military still holds sway in a democracy that has yet to mature”

Caleb Quinley, Al Jazeera: “‘Can’t give up’: Rise in attacks against Thai democracy activists. Pro-democracy activists are the target of increasing physical assaults and intimidation since the March elections.”

Human Rights Watch: “Thailand: Authorities Punish Mockery of Junta: Critics Intimidated, Forced to Apologize”

Marwaan Macan-Markar, Nikkei Asian Review: “Thailand’s Prayuth delays naming cabinet to wield ultimate weapon”

Ken Lohatepanont, Open Democracy: “Thailand’s first elections since military coup loosen junta’s grip on power. Despite a rigged constitution, the results have left the junta vulnerable to parliamentary gridlock.”

Upcoming Elections
Hong Kong Local – November 24, 2019 and Legislative – Due September 2020
Washington Post: “What’s happening on Kong Kong? Scenes from the biggest protests in half a decade: Hong Kong saw its biggest protests in five years on Sunday, with thousands challenging a new bill that would allow extraditions to China.”

Meighan Stone, Council on Foreign Relations: “Five Questions with Denise Ho: From the Front Lines of the Hong Kong Protests”

Jonathan Manthorpe, Asia Times: “China determined to crush Hong Kong dream. The CCP has never seen HK as anything more than unfinished business from China’s ‘century of humiliation’”

Mike Ives, New York Times: “Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed chief executive, Carrie Lam, has stridently defended the bill and denounced the protesters. But one of her top advisers and a pro-Beijing lawmaker added their voices on Friday to calls for delaying the measure — evidence that Mrs. Lam’s hard-line position may be backfiring….The remarks could signal that public pressure is forcing Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing faction, which has been a staunch supporter of Mrs. Lam on the extradition issue, to speak out against it.”

Scott Neuman, NPR: “In a radio call-in program on RTHK on Friday, Executive Council convener Bernard Chan, who advises Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, acknowledged that he had underestimated opposition to the measure, particularly from the business community….And the lawmaker Michael Tien became the first member of the legislature’s pro-Beijing faction to openly call for a delay of the bill’s passage.”

Eleanor Albert, Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder: “Democracy in Hong Kong: As China’s power continues to grow, some fear that the considerable autonomy Hong Kong has enjoyed over the last three decades could slip away.”

Alice Su, Los Angeles Times: “A new kind of Hong Kong activism emerges as protesters mobilize without any leaders”

Rebecca Falconer, Axios: “In photos: Hong Kong government offices shut as protesters rally”

Greg Torode, Reuters: “Hong Kong tycoons start moving assets offshore as fears rise over new extradition law”

Chris Patten [the final British governor of Hong Kong], The Guardian: “Britain has a duty to help Hong Kong out of this dark moment”

Kinling Lo, South China Morning Post: “China summons US envoy in protest over Washington’s condemnation of Hong Kong extradition bill”

Kelly Olsen, CNBC: “Hong Kong activists say they are planning another mass rally at the weekend to pressure the government to drop a plan to allow extraditions to China, as worries over the future of the former British colony’s unique status grow. The Civil Human Rights Front, a political advocacy group, announced Thursday on its Facebook page that it applied for a police permit to hold a march on Sunday.”

AFP: “Encrypted messaging service Telegram suffered a major cyber-attack that appeared to originate from China, the company’s CEO said Thursday, linking it to the ongoing political unrest in Hong Kong. Many protesters in the city have used Telegram to evade electronic surveillance and coordinate their demonstrations against a controversial Beijing-backed plan that would allow extraditions from the semi-autonomous territory to the mainland.”

Layla Mashkoor and Kassy Cho, Buzzfeed: “Chinese State Media And Others Are Spreading Hoaxes About The Protests In Hong Kong. As protesters have filled the streets, so have hoaxes and misinformation online.”

Taiwan Presidential – January 11, 2020
Stratfor: “Taiwan is preparing to enter a fierce campaign season as it looks ahead to presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 11, 2020, with the election result set to determine the tenor of Taiwan’s relations with China for years to come.”

Nick Aspinwall, Washington Post: “Taiwan’s president holds off primary challenge in race that’s all about China. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen successfully fended off a surprise primary challenge from her former premier Thursday, giving a boost to her policies to counter China going into January’s election. Tsai’s personal popularity had been declining since her landslide election victory in 2016, and polls suggested she might have struggled to win reelection. But the primary outcome indicated support for her efforts to balance relations with China while also seeking closer relations with the United States as a counterweight to Beijing.”

Lawrence Chung, South China Morning Post: “The mainland-friendly KMT meanwhile announced five candidates for its primaries, based on public opinion surveys to be held between July 5 and July 15, with the results to be made public on July 16.”

Adela Lin and Chinmei Sung, Bloomberg: “China’s Hard Line in Hong Kong Boosts Beijing Critics in Taiwan”

Reuters: “Taiwan says Hong Kong’s planned extradition law triggers human rights concerns”

Japan Legislative (Half of upper house) – July 2019 Japan Times: “Speculation that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will dissolve the Lower House for a ‘double election’ this summer began to dissipate Monday, as an official close to him said such a move would not be needed when the Cabinet has stable support. Some had speculated that the prime minister would be tempted to call a snap election to coincide with the triennial election for half of the Upper House, in an apparent bid to boost voter interest and turnout.”

Burma Parliamentary – Expected November 2020
Moe Moe, The Irrawaddy: “President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will contest the 2020 general elections, said spokesperson of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) U Myo Nyunt.”

Htet Naing Zaw, The Irrawaddy: “The opposition Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDP) has fired back at accusations that all the party’s assets are illegally acquired, state-owned property….The USDP evolved out of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), a mass organization established by the military regime in the 1990s….The party is widely perceived as a political proxy for the military and has faced accusations of illegally appropriating public property.”

Past Elections
Australia Federal Parliamentary – May 18, 2019

The New Daily: “Federal election seat count finalised, with Morrison government securing 77 seats”

Joshua Kurlantzick, Council on Foreign Relations’ Asia Unbound: “What Do the Australian Elections Mean for Canberra’s Policies Toward Indonesia and the Rest of Southeast Asia?”

Philippines Legislative and Local – May 13, 2019
Shane Croucher, Newsweek: “Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned his politician daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio away from any aspirations for the country’s top office, and said he “deeply regretted” standing. Duterte-Carpio, also referred to as Inday Sara, has already followed in the footsteps of her father by becoming the Mayor of Davao, the same role he held before ascending to the presidency. She is touted as a potential successor and has expressed interest.”

John Reed, OZY: “Sara Duterte first became a national figure in the Philippines in 2011 when, as mayor of the southern city of Davao, she was filmed punching a sheriff during a dispute over a shantytown demolition. Since her father Rodrigo Duterte’s 2016 presidential victory, she has been propelled further into the national spotlight. She has been seen alongside the populist strongman at official functions, even acting as first lady during the recent state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.”

Nick Aspinwall, Foreign Policy: “Duterte Turns Death Squads on Political Activists. Government-backed vigilantes in the Philippines are targeting farmers and protesters.”

Claire Jiao, Andreo Calonzo and Hannah Dormido, Bloomberg: “A Power Shift Is Under Way in Duterte’s Game of Thrones: Think of it as Southeast Asia’s Game of Thrones without the dragons, zombies or sword fights: A group of families with ever-changing alliances battling for power across a diverse archipelago.”

Noah Flora, The Nation: “In the Philippines, a Youth Movement Stands Between Duterte and Dictatorship. Duterte will take control of Congress, but his quest for more power must be stopped.”

Editorial Board, Washington Post: “The U.N. must seek out the truth on Duterte’s death squads”

Indonesia Presidential, Legislative, Provincial – April 17, 2019
Reuters: “Lawyers for Indonesia’s opposition called on Friday for President Joko Widodo’s election victory to be annulled, telling the country’s Constitutional Court it had been achieved through ‘systematic electoral fraud and abuse of power.’ Official results released by the General Election Commission last month showed Widodo, or Jokowi as he is commonly known, beat Prabowo Subianto, a retired general, by 11 percentage points in the April poll, winning more than 55 percent of the votes. His rival has refused to concede defeat.”

Channel News Asia: “The dispute has prompted weeks of uncertainty in the world’s third-largest democracy. Violent clashes broke out between Prabowo’s supporters and police in the heart of the capital Jakarta last month after the official result was announced.”

Arys Aditya and Tassia Sipahutar, Bloomberg: “Indonesia Stays Calm as Court Hears Prabowo’s Election Challenge”

AFP Fact Check: “Multiple Facebook posts claim that the Indonesian Constitutional Court has declared defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto the “winner” of the country’s April 2019 election. The claim is false; the Constitutional Court only began hearing Prabowo’s legal challenge of the election results on June 14, 2019; there has been no court announcement on the outcome of the legal challenge and a verdict is not expected until June 28, 2019, the judge in charge of the case said.”

Thailand Parliamentary – March 24, 2019
Zsombor Peter, Voice of America: “When Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha swears in his new cabinet this month, the ex-general who toppled Thailand’s elected government five years ago will officially return civilian rule to a country that has made a cottage industry of coup d’états….Pundits already are predicting when, not if, the new government will collapse.”

Joshua Kurlantzick, Council on Foreign Relations’ Asia Unbound: “What is Prayuth’s Agenda? Earlier this month, the retired general who led a military coup in Thailand five years ago, Prayuth Chan-ocha, was formally confirmed as prime minister by King Vajiralongkorn, after parliament unsurprisingly voted to hand the position to the former coup leader.”

Toru Takahashi, Nikkei Asian Review: “Prayuth’s return as prime minister takes Thailand back to 1980s. Military still holds sway in a democracy that has yet to mature”

Caleb Quinley, Al Jazeera: “‘Can’t give up’: Rise in attacks against Thai democracy activists. Pro-democracy activists are the target of increasing physical assaults and intimidation since the March elections.”

Human Rights Watch: “Thailand: Authorities Punish Mockery of Junta: Critics Intimidated, Forced to Apologize”

Marwaan Macan-Markar, Nikkei Asian Review: “Thailand’s Prayuth delays naming cabinet to wield ultimate weapon”

Ken Lohatepanont, Open Democracy: “Thailand’s first elections since military coup loosen junta’s grip on power. Despite a rigged constitution, the results have left the junta vulnerable to parliamentary gridlock.”

The Year Ahead: Asia
Japan, provincial elections throughout the year; Bangladesh fifth and final phase of district council elections (June 18); Japan legislative – half of upper house (July – snap lower house elections possible); Nauru legislative (July); Papua New Guinea local (July 20-25); IndiaMaharashtra state (September); Tuvalu parliamentary (September); New Zealand local (October 12); Hong Kong local (November); Marshall Islands legislative (November); Kiribati legislative (December); Sri Lanka presidential (December 7); Taiwan presidential and legislative (January 11); Kiribati presidential (March); South Korea parliamentary (April 15); Niue parliamentary (May); Mongolia parliamentary (June).

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President Tsai Ing-Wen of Taiwan is up for re-election early next year in a contest that will focus largely on relations with China. Photo credit: Voice of America (public domain)

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