A vast realm of Asia, unearthed in the east of the Indian subcontinent and to the south of China is popular as mainland Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is composed of eleven countries, namely Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Brunei, East Timor, Thailand and Vietnam. The Indochinese Peninsula comprises Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, occupying the entire eastern portion of the mainland. Southeast Asia is a prominent geographical because of its compelling history and ancient traditions.
Southeast Asia beholden three democratic breakthroughs, which has generated a fascinating political history. The first incident of the democratic events took place in 1986. At that time, there was a new democratic government reformed under Cory Aquino. In the Philippines, the famous and powerful People Power Revolution drove the overthrow of the Marcos regime and gave rise to a new democracy. The series of extensive demonstrations in Metro Manila part of the Philippines was significant combat and campaign for acceptance of civil resistance. The protest was against electoral fraud and regime violence. The protest was non-violent yet powerful and led to the decline of the Marcos era by the departure of Ferdinand Marcos. The People Power Revolution ended a long twenty-year of dictatorship and reinstated democracy.
In 1998, the second important event took place in the political history of Southeast Asia when Indonesia’s President Soeharto resigned from his authority. This was one of the most significant events ever generated in the mainland. The resignation came with a positive boost, and direct elections became a part and parcel of Indonesia’s politics. The authority was decentralized, and the three-decade-long authoritarian government was put to an end. The Post-Suharto era began after the authoritarian president ended the long turmoil period, and the transition phase started, popularly referred to as the ‘reformasi’ period in Indonesia. Greater autonomy was restored with stronger democracy, and civilian rule was introduced, a new political era began in Indonesia.
Lastly, political reformation took place in Myanmar in 2015. The National League for Democracy (NLD) owned by Aung San Suu Kyi won the parliamentary elections. In the Assembly of Unions, NLD won a maximum of nominations in both the houses of parliament. Their nominees won the seats for both president and vice-president and gained the authority to control most of the regional and local governments.
Almost five countries of Southeast Asia were thrived by the monarchy. There was a collaboration between kingship and the modern form of constitution. There were two forms of the monarchy - archaic and modern, both of them co-existed in the mainland. The end of the colonial-era depicted the departure of colonial rulers, the citizens adopted democracy, and the adoption of different forms of government resulted in the limitation of power. During this transition, the survivor monarchies gained the authority and influence that potentially gave them the reformation power in terms of the constitution. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the most sought-after king in Thailand, and his monarchy rule extended beyond all hardship. It is said to be the longest-reigning monarch in world history. The democratic-minded civilians started protesting against him, and a troop ended his ruling authority in 1932. The throne was ascended in 1946, reinventing the monarchy into the core influence of societal development. After this era ended, a long period of military dictatorship began, and to date, the constitution is controlled by the military forces.
Post the military authoritarianism in mainland Southeast Asia took over, the countries were not entirely free from the hardships and turmoil of a dictator government. Democracy was restored in all the countries, but independence and freedom were not granted. Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines gained partial independence, where freedom was far away from Brunei, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. It was a concern and argumentative cause that democracy was somewhat deteriorated and adulterated with authoritarianism.
The Association of Southeast Asian nations came into existence on 8th August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand. This association was formed with the insight of creating one single community with a shared vision and identity. Thailand signed the Bangkok Declaration and became one of the founding fathers of ASEAN. Other countries, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines joined the association, followed by Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia, making ASEAN an association of ten members. The purpose of ASEAN are as follows:
● Acceleration of political growth, the progression of social reforms, and the development of culture and ethics with joint ventures among the member nations.
● Strengthen the sense of togetherness among the nations for the foundation of a flourishing community comprising the member nations.
● Promotion of cooperation and mutual acceptance for achieving the common interests of masses in cultural, economic, social, scientific, technical, and administrative fields.
● Encouraging the nation to support each other in the diverse form of training, research, and educational facilities. It will help them to achieve growth and success and give them the power to behold democracy.
● Utilization of industries and agriculture with a collaborative attitude among countries will improve the long term hurdles of international trade and commodity surplus.
● Improvement in transportation and communication facilities between the member nations and uplifting the living standards of the residents by providing the authority to relocate and improve employment ratios.
● ASEAN also encourages the members to devote and promote Southeast Asian studies among all communities.
● Promotion of international relationships among traders and organizations for the sharing of resources and explore all possible avenues with collaboration.
Diversified religious beliefs, ethnicity, and language diversifications are common characteristics of Southeast Asian development. It is considered to be one of the world’s great melting pots, as various communities of people moved into this region in search of employment and better lives. The new political reformation is giving freedom to the countries, and the military promised to uplift other bans laid on the people. The lawmakers will establish budgets, recruit more enthusiastic people, gather funds from members, and amend changes in the constitution.
Jul 23, 2020