Roundtable: Southeast Asia’s Contentious Polls: Electoral Management in Comparative Perspective

13:30 to 14:30

The Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) hosts this workshop with SEAC on Southeast Asian electoral management in comparative perspective. The event will involve a roundtable discussion with 5 invited speakers to be chaired by Prof. John Sidel and will cover a range of viewpoints from across the region.

Thailand’s March 2019 elections became intensely controversial after the Election Commission apparently changed the method of assigning party list seats after polling had closed.  In May 2019, riots began outside the Indonesian General Electoral Commission after one presidential candidate refused to accept the results. In February 2021, the Burmese military detained Union Election Commission officials after staging a coup, accusing them of complicity in voting fraud. Electoral management is an important, yet often overlooked area of comparative politics. Who organises elections, under what conditions and how has far-reaching implications for electoral outcomes as well as the legitimation of electoral processes and public trust in democratic governance. The proposed workshop will discuss electoral governance in comparative perspective against the backdrop of increasingly contentious recent elections in Southeast Asia. Why have so many recent Southeast Asian elections turned contentious? And what role did electoral management play in that?

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