Stories by Joshua Kurlantzick

Expert Voices

Philippine midterm elections could further consolidate Duterte's power

Rodrigo Duterte speaking at a lectern
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Despite provoking international condemnation for his disdain for laws and institutions, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte seems likely to gain stronger domestic support in the May 13 midterms, when voters will elect the lower house of Congress and part of the Senate.

Why it matters: Long one of the most democratic states in Southeast Asia, the Philippines has seen under Duterte an illiberal crackdown on the press, judiciary and political opposition and an anti-drug campaign that reportedly has led to the deaths of over 12,000 people, often through extrajudicial killings.

Expert Voices

Indonesia's elections could shape the future of its democratic gains

Joko Widodo on stage
Indonesian President Joko Widodo at a campaign rally in Ngawi, Indonesia. Photo: Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images

Ahead of Indonesia’s elections on April 17, sitting president Joko Widodo has a lead of double digits in many polls over his challenger, Prabowo Subianto.

Why it matters: Until recently, Indonesia has been a model of democratization. Though those gains have slipped under Jokowi — as the incumbent is also known — and Islamist groups have gained some power, Prabowo could pose a greater risk to the country's fragile progress.

Expert Voices

Chaotic elections bring little stability to Thailand

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha casting his vote.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha at his Bangkok polling station on March 24. Photo: Anusak Laowilas/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Defying poor pre-election polling, Palang Pracharat, the Thai army's proxy party, performed well in this past weekend's elections, the country's first since 2011. However, its success came amid low turnout, claims of widespread fraud and irregularities, and repeated bungling of results by Thailand's Election Commission.

Why it matters: Thailand, a U.S. treaty ally, is now likely to remain alone among middle- and upper-income countries as a place where the armed forces wield dominant power, leaving it in league with poorer and more fragile states like Egypt, Pakistan and Mauritania.