Record voter turnout saw the pro-democracy Move Forward party win the most seats and beat their conservative and military backed opponents. After forming an eight-party coalition, their candidate for prime minister Pita Limjaroenrat failed to win the needed majority. Many rejected his bid after his vow to amend Article 112 a law that permits up to 15 years in jail for insulting members of the royal family. Pheu Thai, have now nominated their own candidate who is up for vote in late July. Protesters claim the law is misused by the government to stifle democratic reforms. Ambitious changes that Move Forward campaigned for such as ending military conscription, reducing defence spending, and demonopolising the economy will remain on hold and mass protests are set to continue.
On 9 May, Pakistan's former PM was arrested on alleged corruption charges, sparking mass protests by his supporters. After several army installations were damaged, the current government and army launched an unprecedented crackdown on Khan's supporters, who are being tried in military courts. Pakistan is on the brink of economic collapse following last year's devastating floods. General elections are due to be held this year, but there are fears that they could be delayed by the authorities, citing a lack of funds and the security situation.
Bongbong Marcos – New President of the Philippines
After a landslide victory in the May 9 election, concerns about the consequences for democracy in the country are widespread. Hailing from a notorious political family, his father's corrupt and brutal dictatorship ended in just 1986. The family have spent decades attempting to wipe clear this legacy through disinformation campaigns and publicity via social media. Lack of accountability for their misdeeds has angered campaigners, and the world will be closely watching developments concerning the economy, civil liberties, and press freedom.
The worsening crisis has caused a divided society to unite against the government. Protests began peacefully but have turned violent in the face of repression, to the point where thousands of protesters invaded President Rajapaksa's house and he was forced to flee. Inflation has made basic goods unaffordable, and food and medicine are in short supply. Fuel shortages are so widespread that the government has suspended sales to ordinary citizens, as there is not enough for essential services such as buses and ambulances.
After more than a year of uninterrupted protests and the deaths of several farmers, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to repeal the three controversial farm laws that sparked the public outcry. The laws were passed in September 2020, after parliament claimed the laws would strengthen farmers' rights, but major trade unions and opposition politicians claimed they would give more power to big business in particular. Farmers formed a large movement called "Dilli Chalo" and organised general strikes and a protest march to Dehli with millions of participants.
This month marks 75 years since the division of British India and the subsequent creation of the two separate states of India and Pakistan. British withdrawal prompted the painful divide which was violent and deadly. It forced people to identify with a particular region, and caused the biggest migration event of the century. The concept of ‘martial races’ was born, which led to false ideas of racial purity. Religious violence, insecurity, forced conversions, arson, and sexual violence became rife within communities and even families. Tensions and divisions still exist even today, especially over disputed areas such as Kashmir.
On June 30th 2020, this controversial new law was imposed on Hong Kong by the government of China. Many countries have criticised the harsh law which includes severe penalties for protesting, demands for independence, and slandering of the Chinese government. It takes control away from Hong Kong, curtails free speech, and many see it as a loss of idendity.
On February 1st, a coup was carried out in Myanmar. The military arrested political leaders including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, shutting off the internet and showing presence in the streets. A state of Emergency was declared for one year and the power was handed over to the commander-in-chief of the army, General Min Aung Hlaing. As a result, the military, which had been in power since 1962, regains full control of the country after a de facto democracy since 2011.
As the leader of one of the world’s most repressive states, Kim Jong-Un is enjoying his 8th year of total political control. Freedom of expression, religion, political opposition, independent media, and even trade unions are all restricted. Learn more here about U.S war threats, nuclear weaponry, and much more about this secretive government.
Since 2017, Rohingya Muslims have been persecuted by the Myanmar army. They argue that they are only fighting Rohingya militants, but many see it as a clear example of ethnic cleansing. They are denied citizenship, excluded from the census, and their villages are destroyed. They are forced to make dangerous escape attempts since Bangladesh is no longer accepting refugees across the border.