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South-east Asian judicial politicisation may grow

Friday, February 13, 2015

Subject

The implications of judicial politicisation in South-east Asia.

Significance

A Malaysian court on February 10 upheld Pakatan Rakyat opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy conviction. This has widely been interpreted as being politically motivated, although Malaysia's government has denied this. Such cases ignite public calls across South-east Asia for the independence of judiciaries, which have become deeply involved in national politics.

Impacts

  • Lese majeste and corruption cases will increase as the Thai junta suppresses former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's allies.
  • Aquino could pursue constitutional changes to limit the judiciary's power.
  • Elite polarisation after 2014's presidential election will test the Indonesian Constitutional Court's independence.
  • Increasingly, social media will be used for political dissent, which governments will resist.
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