After last March, followed by the Obama event, you'd think its a wave or things are just coincidental. Do political trends in one country affect another? If I can only say Yes or No, then I would say Yes. If its a neighbouring country, then it will be a more resounding Yes.
When we had the March 2008 tidal wave, many in Singapore were rattled. Some were in awe, some shocked, many began to question and wonder if something similar could ever occur in Singapore. Even ruling politicians in Singapore must have had many sessions and meetings debating the consequences and repercussions - the need to govern closely to to the pulse and will of the nation. It is when there is a growing divergence that waves and tides eventuate.
Neighbouring countries especially in Southeast Asia tend to look over at each other closely because culturally and racially we are quite similar in many ways. Caveat - we all don't know what the Thais themselves really want??!!! Now we just got wind of the election results for Indonesia. Is it a gentle wave or a tidal wave?
The party of Indonesia's president won a resounding victory in parliamentary polls, handing him a stronger mandate to push a reformist agenda in the world's third largest democracy.
Unofficial counts from five polling agencies showed Friday that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party would be the largest in the 560-seat lower house after collecting 20% of the popular vote. It ranked fifth in the last election in 2004.
That was a clear sign of widespread public approval for Yudhoyono's performance in his first years, but he will still have to form a coalition to garner enough seats to contest July 8 presidential polls and build a parliamentary majority that can push through his policies.
With preliminary, official results not expected for days, Yudhoyono made no comment about possible coalition partners, but analysts expect he will again join forces with the late dictator Suharto's party, Golkar, which took a beating at the ballot box, and any number of smaller Islamic parties.
Parties or coalitions need a fifth of the legislature or 25% of the popular vote to nominate a candidate for the presidential race.
The parliamentary election put Yudhoyono on track for "a landslide" in the presidential polls, said researcher Sunny Tanuwidjaja at the Jakarta Center for Strategic and International Studies. "This is an indication Yudhoyono is still very strong, very popular."
But while it gave him the political clout needed to seek a more ambitious agenda, it remains to be seen whether he would "dare to actually deliver the breakthroughs... He has always been perceived as a slow and indecisive figure," he said.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, emerged from 32 years of dictatorship when Gen. Suharto was swept from power in 1998, leading to reforms that freed the media, vastly improved the country's human rights record, and for the first time allowed citizens to vote for president. But corruption is still endemic throughout government institutions and the courts, undermining its democratic transition. Critics say deeper reforms are still badly needed.
Voting went smoothly at more than half a million polling stations across 17,000 islands, but pre-election violence left five dead in the easternmost province of Papua in an apparent rebel attack. There were also complaints about ballot paper mix-ups and incomplete registration lists that meant some people couldn't vote at all.
Copyright © 2009 Associated Press
p/s photos: Tomiko Van