Asia’s dysfunctional democracies

Asia's dysfunctional democracies - The Nation, September 6, 2004
...Voters there may also extend a disturbing paradox that has emerged in the region: the more “vigorous” Asian democracy becomes, the more dysfunctional it is...
Indeed, the precedents of democratic immobility in Asia are hardly encouraging. For example, since Pakistan’s creation in 1947, partisan divisions have ensured that no elected government has been able to serve its full term. So Pakistanis have grimly accepted military rule as their destiny. The problem in Asia often arises from something the French call “cohabitation” – an awkward arrangement by which a directly elected president must co-exist with a parliament controlled by a rival party or parties...
True, Asian democracies, however unstable, are preferable to autocracies, whether military, as in Pakistan and Burma, or communist, as in China and Vietnam. But the danger in a weakened democracy is not merely blocked legislation and ineffective government...
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