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VOLUME 3

Asian Democracy Review
VOLUME 3 · 2014
1

Introduction: The Growing Scope of the Asian Democracy Index
The Consortium for the Asian Democracy Index
COUNTRY REPORTS
Downsizing Democracy in South Korea: Limited Liberty and
Increasing Inequality
Dongchoon Kim, Heeyeon Cho, Junghoon Kim, Hyungchul Kim,
Yooseok Oh, Hyunyun Cho, Kwangkun Lee

29

Asian Democracy Index 2013:
Persistent Oligarchy and Rising Civic Participation in Indonesia
Sri Budi Eko Wardani, Dirga Ardiansa, Muhammad Ridha,
Julia Ikasarana, Anton Pradjasto, Inggrid Silitonga

49

A Long and Winding Road to Democracy:
The 2013 Asian Democracy Index for Malaysia
Andrew Aeria, Tan Seng Keat

65

The Polarization of Thai Democracy:
The Asian Democracy Index in Thailand
Naruemon Thabchumpon, Jakkrit Sangkhamanee, Carl Middleton,
Weera Wongsatjachock

81

Challenges and Possibilities of Substantive Democracy in India:
A Critical Engagement Through the ADI Framework
Naveen Chander, Bonojit Hussain

127

Democratization Halfway through the Term of Another President
Aquino: The 2013 ADI Survey in the Philippines
Clarinda Lusterio Berja, Miguel Paolo P. Reyes,
Joshua Hans B. Baquiran

ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW

5

Asian
Democracy
Review
VOLUME 3 · 2014

2014

Asian
Democracy
Review
EDITORIAL BOARD
Melinda Quintos de Jesus (Executive Director, Center for Media Freedom and
Responsibility) · Zanaa Jurmed (Chief Executive Officer, Citizen’s Alliance Fund) ·
Prajak Kongkirati (Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Thammasat University)
· Seong-Hoon Anselmo Lee (Executive Director, Korea Human Rights Foundation,
Asia Democracy Network) · Firoze Manji (Head, Council for the Development of Social
Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) Documentation and Information Centre) ·
Ahmad Mohiuddin (Community Development Library, Bangladesh) · Massaki
Ohashi (Professor, Keisen University and Chairperson, Japan NGO Center for International
Cooperation) · Sushil Phakurel (Chairperson, Alliance for Social Dialogue) ·
Mohammad Sabur (Secretary General, Asia Resource Foundation) · Ichal Supriadi
(Executive Director, Asian Network for Free Elections) · Lawrence Surendra (Senior
Fellow, Indian Council of Social Science Research)
EDITORS
Heeyeon Cho
Andrew Aeria
Perlita M. Frago-Marasigan

MANAGING EDITORS
Keewoong Lee
Miguel Paolo P. Reyes

EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS
Jonathan Victor C. Baldoza · Joshua Hans B. Baquiran

Asian Democracy Review (ISSN 2244-5633) is the annual peer-reviewed journal of
the Consortium for the Asian Democracy Index, a network of research institutes and
independent researchers working on the development of the Asian Democracy Index. Apart
from the yearly country reports on the conduct of Asian Democracy Index surveys, the journal
publishes scholarly papers on democracy and democratization processes in Asia. This work
was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean
Government (NRF-2011-413-B00009).

Asian Democracy Review
VOLUME 3 · 2014
1

Introduction: The Growing Scope of the Asian Democracy Index
The Consortium for the Asian Democracy Index
COUNTRY REPORTS

5

Downsizing Democracy in South Korea: Limited Liberty and
Increasing Inequality
Dongchoon Kim, Heeyeon Cho, Junghoon Kim, Hyungchul Kim,
Yooseok Oh, Hyunyun Cho, Kwangkun Lee

29

Asian Democracy Index 2013:
Persistent Oligarchy and Rising Civic Participation in Indonesia
Sri Budi Eko Wardani, Dirga Ardiansa, Muhammad Ridha,
Julia Ikasarana, Anton Pradjasto, Inggrid Silitonga

49

A Long and Winding Road to Democracy:
The 2013 Asian Democracy Index for Malaysia
Andrew Aeria, Tan Seng Keat

65

The Polarization of Thai Democracy:
The Asian Democracy Index in Thailand
Naruemon Thabchumpon, Jakkrit Sangkhamanee, Carl Middleton,
Weera Wongsatjachock

81

Challenges and Possibilities of Substantive Democracy in India:
A Critical Engagement Through the ADI Framework
Naveen Chander, Bonojit Hussain

127

Democratization Halfway through the Term of Another President
Aquino: The 2013 ADI Survey in the Philippines
Clarinda Lusterio Berja, Miguel Paolo P. Reyes,
Joshua Hans B. Baquiran

for whatever methodological misgivings that the ADI project might currently have. 91). in addition to the papers discussing the conduct of ADI surveys in the aforementioned countries was a paper on pilot survey in Malaysia. which all too often prop up Western liberal democracy as an ideal. 3 (2014): 1-3 ISSN 2244-5633 . Indonesian. the country reports of the first three teams—from South Korea. and civil society to examine the state of democratization in the said experts’ countries. among other pieces. In that issues. ____________________________________________________________ The Consortium for the Asian Democracy Index (CADI) is a network of research institutes and independent researchers working on the development of a new Asian Democracy Index. its advocacy of “democratization as de-monopolization” (after Cho 2012) makes it a unique counterpoint to preexisting means of evaluating or “measuring” democracy. as the other teams have. though they collectively showed several possible country-specific variations in the ADI methodology and what one can reasonably derive from the ADI survey data. CADI members have been conducting annual perception surveys of various local experts on politics. These pioneering studies were hardly uniform in form and content.Introduction: The Growing Scope of the Asian Democracy Index THE CONSORTIUM FOR THE ASIAN DEMOCRACY INDEX The first issue of Asian Democracy Review (ADR) contained. and the Philippines—to conduct an Asian Democracy Index (ADI) survey in their country. the Malaysian study focused on examining the applicability of the survey in the Malaysian context. while the South Korean. and Philippine country reports attempted to compare survey results across (a brief expanse of) time. it did find that the survey’s value lies in how it is “able to put forward a completely different and more analytical perspective of democracy from that of the usual legal and normative definitions” (Aeria and Tan 2013. ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. The second issue of ADR contained four country reports. the Malaysian team raised several reservations about the ADI’s methodology. While. Indeed. Indonesia. economics. Since its formation in 2011.

Dirga Ardiansa. one should be disabused of the thought that this issue of ADR is “leaner” in terms of scholarly contribution because it only contains country reports. even with the existence of anti-corruption courts. post-colonial democracies from South to Southeast Asia. and the like. certain civil liberties remain restricted). and Joshua Hans Baquiran relay how in the Philippines. In South Korea. Perusing the studies herein. one sees how the results of each survey offer more than a snapshot of how democratization is proceeding in a particular country. according to Dongchoon Kim. and Inggrid Silitonga focus on how their survey results confirm that oligarchic control over politics. If only because it further demonstrates the limitations and potentialities of the ADI project. Hyunyun Cho. headed by the son of a “democracy icon. Lastly. While many of the survey results discussed here generally agree with the findings of other observers of democratization in Asia. Junghoon Kim. Heeyeon Cho. as in South Korea and Indonesia. and civil society in Indonesia remains an everyday reality. In this issue..2 INTRODUCTION The novelty/promise of the CADI formulation of democracy may very well be one reason why the number of country teams conducting ADI surveys continues to grow. democratization appears to have by and large stagnated. which suggests that economic inequality is worsening in South Korea. we can see the results of the first ADI surveys conducted in Thailand and India. Anton Pradjasto. countries that have (or are currently experiencing) extended periods under some form of martial rule. Sri Budi Eko Wardani.” failing to significantly weaken the grasp of monopolizers of power.” as the results of the 2013 survey hardly differ from those of previous surveys (e. A brief walkthrough of the country reports is appropriate here. Muhammad Ridha. Andrew Aeria . Clarinda Lusterio Berja. Hyungchul Kim. Yooseok Oh. economic. Miguel Paolo Reyes. such as the thus-far truly common situation wherein informants from supposedly diametrically opposed ideological positions agree on certain country-specific conditions in the political.g. with an allegedly reform-oriented administration. the project now contemplates a wider scope of that contentiously defined region called Asia. democracy has been “downsized. Similarly. Julia Ikasarana. and civil society fields. at times. the economy. results that defy expectations. there are. in addition to the country reports on the four countries previously mentioned. Thus. and Kwangkun Lee. ethnically (super)diverse states—in short. increasing voluntarism. the ADI project now spans East Asian states that underwent “developmental authoritarianism” prior to (re)transitioning to democracy. one clear trend they highlight is the plunging score of the variable called economic equalization.

by ADI standards. after conducting the first “benchmark” survey in Malaysia. 2013.” Asian Democracy Review 1. 2012. with certain “well-established political and economic groupings” (p. Heeyeon. 30)—democratic institutions are all for naught if they fail to address society’s myriad inequalities. Cho. “Democratization as De-monopolization and Its Different Trajectories: No Democratic Consolidation without De-monopolization. Naveen Chander and Bonojit Hussain use their ADI survey data to illustrate how the “robust democracy” in India is inextricably tied with elite interests that are sustained through “traditional” marginalization. 4-35. and Weera Wongsatjachock consider Thailand of late to be deeply polarized. . all of the papers here warn against complacency: whatever the current gains toward “democratization as de-monopolization” in these countries. there can be no “democratic consolidation” without de-monopolization (2012. Pending that refinement. “deeply authoritarian” (p. The ADI can certainly be refined further to become a more reliable and accurate means of assessing the march (or slog) toward democracy in particular contexts. Collectively. the ADI survey results remain an excellent means of emphasizing that. “The Asian Democracy Index for Malaysia 2012: Authoritarian and Ineffectual Government despite Formal Democratic Institutions. in the words of Heeyeon Cho. It should also be noted that all of the papers here display the emerging “autocritical tradition” of CADI.CADI 3 and Tan Seng Keat. find that theirs was a country that is. 81-122. 66) managing to hold on to power no matter the regime. Both of the “newcomers” in particular elaborate on how CADI’s methodological framework and theoretical underpinnings must be modified in the future so that the ADI can better reflect the realities in Thailand and India.” Asian Democracy Review 2. References Aeria. Jakkrit Sangkhamanee. Andrew and Tan Seng Keat.62). these countries have a long way to go before being considered democratic. Is the situation any less dismal in Thailand and India? Naruemon Thabchumpon. Carl Middleton. in their eyes and those of their respondents.

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development. it is thus crucial to analyze and determine how well it protects liberty and equality in the fields of politics. HEEYEON CHO. 3 (2014): 5-27 ISSN 2244-5633 . the more democratic a given society is. According to Barber. ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. the democratic government represents citizens’ daily exercise of power which enables them to place checks on the abuse of power (2006. and the higher the level of mutually binding discussions. and Kwangkun Lee are all from the Democracy and Social Movements Institute of Sungkonghoe University. what assessment can we make of Korean democracy today? Is it progressing or regressing? ____________________________________________________________ Dongchoon Kim.1 Using liberty and equality as key measures. 110). and is almost universally supported as an ideal. Jungchoon Kim. or decline of a given democracy. and civil society. The strength of a democracy. JUNGHOON KIM. Emphasizing civil rights as a key metric for deciding whether a democracy is mature or in crisis. lies in its ability to protect these basic civil rights.Downsizing Democracy in South Korea: Limited Liberty and Increasing Inequality DONGCHOON KIM. Heeyeon Cho. the greater the extent of protection or liberty from arbitrary actions of the state. YOOSEOK OH. Scholars strenuously stress liberty and equality as inalienable rights of the democratic citizen that must be protected against all abuses of power. Democracy has been praised as the most enduring and wisest of political arrangements that have appeared in history. Hyungchul Kim. economy. 23-27) argues that the greater the scope of protected civil rights the higher the level of equality. KWANGKUN LEE Introduction Democracy today is chiefly understood as a political arrangement that seeks to solve and manage conflicts on the basis of two fundamental principles: liberty and equality. normatively or empirically. HYUNYUN CHO. Hyunyun Cho. In assessing. Democracy thus hinges upon granting citizens’ basic rights to liberty and equality. the maturity. Yooseok Oh. Charles Tilly (2007. in other words. HYUNGCHUL KIM.

the economy field. Each group of nine. sixteen attributes and twenty indicators. centrist. Unlike other indices of democracy. and civil society—had a group specializing in its evaluation. Liberalization in civil society is measured along eight attributes and eleven indicators. Liberalization of politics is measured along ten attributes-cumindicators. the economy. . The experts were again divided into three groups (each with nine members) to assess politics. First. The questionnaire was distributed and collected via e-mail between early June and late July 2013. The ADI consists of forty-nine attributes and fifty-seven indicators in total.. we sought to control the distribution of ideological biases in the sample of experts we have gathered by employing an ideological measure or standard in selecting the experts to be included. fifteen attributes and eighteen indicators. and three conservatives. economy.6 SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013 In an effort to answer this question. the economy. equalization of politics. while equalization of the same field is measured along eight attributes-cumindicators. while equality is constituted by the subprinciples of pluralization and solidarity. we gathered responses twenty-seven experts representing the conservative. In sum. the ADI measures the extent of liberalization and equalization in different fields of each given democracy. politics. Next. the political field consists of eighteen attributes and nineteen indicators.e. we provided different evaluation groups for different sections of analysis. on the other hand. More specifically. Further divisions of the arrangements of attributes and indicators on the ADI are summarized in table 1. and the civil society field. Copies of the field-specific questionnaires developed on the basis of the ADI were distributed to experts in each of the three fields.e. The twenty-seven members were career scholars and activists. Liberalization is made up of the subprinciples of autonomy and competition. The two basic principles comprising the ADI are liberalization and equalization. was designed to include three progressives. and civil society.. i. Two decisions were made in order to ensure the objectivity and professionalism of the survey results. and progressive ends of the ideological spectrum in Korea. along eight attributes and nine indicators. we used the Asian Democracy Index (ADI) principally developed by the Democracy and Social Movements Institute of Sungkonghoe University in Korea. is measured along seven attributes and eight indicators. Liberalization of the economy. and the civil society of the Korean democracy. each of the three fields of democracy—i. in turn. the fields of politics. three centrists. while equalization in the same field is measured along nine attributes and twelve indicators. In other words.

KIM. AND OTHERS 7 . Asian Democracy Index KIM. CHO.Total Principle Equalization Liberalization Politics Field Economy Civil Society 4 4 Pluralization Solidarity 18 6 4 19 5 4 6 4 16 4 5 4 3 20 7 5 4 4 15 3 4 4 4 18 3 4 4 7 The The The The The The Number of Number of Number of Number of Number of Number of Attributes Indicators Attributes Indicators Attributes Indicators Competition Autonomy Table 1.

the corruption of the president’s relatives and cronies surfaced. The most shocking of the incidents that have threatened Korean democracy during this period is the inexcusable and systematic meddling by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) with the presidential election of December 2012 and the subsequent attempts by the police to cover up the NIS’s involvement. has been publishing the Worldwide Press Freedom Index reports each year since 2002. Korea is also not free from the trap of intensifying corruption. A survey of South Korea’s performance on this index between 2002 and 2012 shows that the country’s reading suddenly began to rise under the Lee Myung-bak administration. The most major incident involved the president’s older brother. Increasing limits on the freedoms of expression and the press have also been common features of the last several years. Conversely. the less free its press. the freer its press. activist organizations. . an organization of journalists established in 1985 to promote freedom of the press. Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press Index had assessed South Korea as having a “free” press from 1993 to 2009. who was eventually arrested. the higher the reading. widespread practices of corruption and bribery surrounding the Four Rivers Project championed by the Lee administration have been reported almost on a daily basis. The level of freedom of the press has been declining steadily over the last several years (see figure 1). and citizens have been organizing massive candlelight demonstrations since June 2013 demanding a thoroughgoing and transparent investigation into the suspicions surrounding the NIS and the police. raising significant concerns across Korean society. During this period liberty and equality took a step backward. Since the current Park Geun-hye administration came into power. opposition parties. Reporters without Borders.8 SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Current Political and Economic Status of Korean Democracy Worries over the signs of the decline of democracy are widespread in Korea today. Lee Sang-deuk. Violations of civil rights to liberty and equality were commonplace sights throughout the five years of the conservative Lee Myung-bak administration. Despite the transition it has made to democracy. Reporters without Borders ranked Korea in the fiftieth place among 179 countries surveyed in 2013. At the close of the Lee administration. The closer a country’s reading on this index to zero. but has assessed the Korean press as only “partly free” since 2010. Korea still suffers from chronic and pervasive practices of corruption and bribery. and also the first six months of the current Park Geun-hye administration. The fact that an agency of the state has so systematically interfered with the presidential election to make a specific candidate the victor seriously threatens to undermine democracy in Korea. six ranks lower than the forty-fourth place that the country obtained last year. In response.

The ongoing deterioration of socioeconomic equality has been posing a major challenge to Korean society since the Asian Financial Crisis of 199798. The deterioration of transparency in Korean society necessarily harms the public’s trust in the democratic enterprise itself and will ultimately contribute more to the decline of democracy in Korea rather than its consolidation. Trends in “Freedom of the Press”/Press Freedom Index Ratings Sources: Freedom House 2013. respectively. Growing socioeconomic gaps are commonly blamed as major factors contributing to rising rates of suicide and homicide. On the CPI. its international position declined by two ranks to the forty-fifth among 176 countries surveyed. James Gilligan’s study (2011) on the relationship between suicide rate and socioeconomic inequality shows that the sense of shame attendant upon growing socioeconomic inequality fuels various forms of “lethal violence” such as suicides and murders. inequality in Korea has notably been worsening since 2009. with scores of fifty-five points and fifty-four points.KIM. CHO. Korea came in thirty ninth among 178 countries surveyed in 2009 and 2010. KIM. It stepped down further to the forty-third position among the 182 countries surveyed in 2011 with a score of fifty-four points. AND OTHERS 9 The corrupt state of Korean politics and society is well reflected in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). If we took Gilligan’s argument and used the suicide rate as a measure of socioeconomic inequality in Korea. Reporters without Borders 2 . Although it managed to raise its score by two points in 2012 to fifty-six points. Figure 1.

96 while the index of equalization is 4. The index of liberalization is 4.91. the company still refuses to comply with the court’s decision.04.50 on an eleven-point scale.30) and economy (3. Despite the Korean court’s ruling that sided with the reinstatement of the unfairly laid-off workers of Ssangyong Motor Company. We compare the indices of liberalization and equalization in Korea to examine how the two ideals have evolved in Korean politics. Suicide Rate in Korea. The index of democracy in politics is 5. significantly higher than its counterparts in civil society (4. such as contract-based and part-time employees. showing a sizable gap between the development of liberty and the development of equality in Korea. The economy lags . seriously threatens the project of national integration which is crucial to the consolidation of democracy. This mediocre score indicates that the status of the Korean democracy still has a long way to go. 2013 A survey of the index of democracy in Korea in 2013 shows the country scoring 4. economy.10 SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Figure 2. This suggests that Korean democracy has evolved in a way that is biased in favor of autonomy and competition instead of seeking a more balanced approach to liberty and equality. Measuring Korean Democracy with the ADI in 2013 Index of Democracy in Korea. 2004-2011 Source: OECD 2013 The pervasive discrimination against non-regular workers.43). thus dragging the messy legal battle with the company’s labor union for years. and society.

30 4.KIM. Figure 3.43 4.34 2.84 4.91 3. KIM. mainly as a result of the neoliberal market policy pursued by the Lee administration.50 The conservative Lee administration lowered the corporate income tax and loosened regulation from its very first days. 2011-2013 . Yet the effect the administration aimed for never materialized and its policy has only served to widen the gap between large corporations and smaller businesses. CHO. Index of Democracy in Korea.75 4. 2013 Politics Economy Civil Society Total Liberalization 6.67 4. AND OTHERS 11 far behind other fields in terms of liberalization and equalization.48 3. The economic inequality in the corporate world is further deteriorated by the increasingly unfair system of competition in general and concentration of wealth. The low economic index indicates these phenomena character Korean society today.95 3. It insisted that redistribution was not possible without farther growth and the trickledown effect it would generate.04 Index of Democracy 5.96 Equalization 5. Trend in the Index of Democracy in Korea. Table 2.

33 in 2011 to 4. Although the margin of difference is smaller than the case with the index of liberalization.95 reflecting the nature of the financial and economic policies pursued by the last and current conservative administrations. from 4. the declining index of equalization nonetheless indicates that Korean democracy is growing more and more non-egalitarian from year to year.53 in 2011 to 4. reflecting the increasing restrictions of civil rights that are crucial to procedural and representative democracy. in particular.96 in 2013. The numerous recent cases of restrictions on liberty in Korea include: the increasing censorship and control of the press and the Internet in general and social network service posts in particular. the curtailing of political participation.91 for the index of democracy in Korean politics. has matured somewhat. which is slightly higher than the 5. We have sought to answer these questions by assessing the democracy of Korean politics and by comparing the 2013 survey results to the survey results from 2011 and 2012. Both administrations have prioritized growth over welfare and economic democratization without genuine regard for decreasing economic inequality in Korea.04 in 2013. the weakening of the protection of the right to assembly and unionization. at least in the domain of domestic politics. the increasing controversy over the unfairness of the competition system in general. This suggests that democracy.57 it scored in 2011 and 2012. Table 3 shows that both Korean politics has improved along both dimensions of liberalization and equalization. respectively. and the growing vulnerability of the rights of minority groups. The index of equalization reaches its dearth in the economic domain at 2. The index of equalization has similarly been declining.12 SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Comparing the three indices of democracy Korea scored over the last three years shows a clear and consistent downward pattern. has decreased from 5. the decline in economic transparency. it is important to ask from what source or sources the difference originates and what liberty and equality mean in the context of the Korean democracy. . The survey in 2013 yielded 5. The index of liberalization.73 and 5. Responses and Characteristics Politics Given the significant difference in the extent of guarantees accorded to liberty and equality in Korean politics.

AND OTHERS 13 Table 3. the principle of liberty maintained its precedence over the principle of equality. Autonomy. and Solidarity in Korean Politics. 2011-2013 Index of Year Liberalization Equalization Democracy 2011 6.69 4. KIM.86 5. respectively.78 6. and higher than the one in 2012. Table 4. The persistent gap between liberalization and equalization indicates that democracy in Korean politics is still mostly about procedural and formal aspects.31 .91 A comparison of the indices of liberalization and equalization in Korean politics also shows that in 2013.57 2013 6. The level of solidarity in 2013 is similar to the one in 2011.33 4.17 5.48 5. Pluralization.11 5.82 5.72 4. CHO.83 4. as in 2011 and 2012.73 2012 6.KIM.35 5. Yet the gap between the two processes has decreased slightly in 2013 from the gaps noted in 2011 or 2012. while the levels of competition and pluralization have grown. The subprinciples of liberalization and equalization in 2013 show that the level of autonomy has somewhat decreased from those measured in 2011 and 2012. Competition. civil liberties (Q2) and the freedom of assembly and political activity (Q3) were ranked lower on the 2013 survey than they were in the previous two years.36 2012 6.97 5. Liberalization and Equalization in Korean Politics. As for autonomy.91 2013 6.36 5.34 5.86 5. The decline in the rankings of civil and political freedoms on the index of democracy in Korea indicates that the country is increasingly losing its grip on “polyarchy” or “liberal democracy. 2011-2013 Autonomy Competition Pluralization Solidarity Year 2011 6.” as defined by Robert Dahl (1998) and Larry Diamond (1999).

How well do you think the 4.00 4..67 .. Indicators of Democracy in Korean Politics.78 5. How fairly and rationally do you think government agencies are being implemented in your country? 15.11 4..11 5.. How much do you think the public trust the government? 18..44 5.78 4.33 4. How well do you think affirmative actions are established and implemented in your country? 17. How much do you think the public trust Democracy? .00 4.11 5.00 5.. How much do you think the public trust the Parliament/ Legislature? 19.22 7.56 7. How actively do you think citizens are participating in elections and other political decision making processes in your country? 16..33 7.67 4.89 5. 2011-2013 Attribute Indicator / Question 11.. How well do you think 5.44 5.. 4.33 4.89 5.78 political power in power within the legislature is the parliament distributed in your country? ▷ Political representation Equalization ▷ Democratization of state institutions ▷ Participation system and degree of participation Solidarity Principles 2011 2012 2013 ▷ Affirmative action ▷ The public credibility of the current democratic institution 13.14 SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Table 5.78 3.67 4. How well do you think the Parliament or the legislature represent various social groups in your country? 14.11 3.00 government agencies maintain checks and balance? Pluralization ▷ Independence and checks and balances between state power apparatuses ▷ Dispersion of 12.11 4.78 7.78 3...

How well do you think all state government agencies implement government policies in your country? ▷ The presence of 7. How well do you think the rule 5.22 the laws of law is established in your country? ▷ Electoral fairness 9.78 4.33 7.44 8. How much do you think the political opposition opposition movements to the government or governing groups and the governing ideology are allowed in your country? ▷ The expansion of 5. How much do you think nonthe non-elected elected groups account for the hereditary power political power in your country? 2011 2012 2013 6.56 6.33 5.89 6. How fairly do you think 7.89 4. (continued) Competition Liberalization Principles Autonomy Attribute Indicator / Question ▷ The level of the 1.78 7.22 6.33 the operations of government agencies are in your country? .44 6.KIM.67 7.00 5.33 5. How well do you think suffrage the universal of the citizens is protected in your suffrage country? ▷ Efficiency of the 6.11 7.67 4.33 5.33 ▷ The rule under 8. How well do you think the citizens’ freedom is protected in your country? ▷ Freedom to 3.22 6. How much do you think the organize and act in freedom of assembly and activities political groups of political groups (parties and quasi-political organizations) are protected in your country? ▷ Permission for 4.11 7. KIM.56 elections are conducted in your country? ▷ Transparency 10. How transparent do you think 5. How well do you think the performance of citizens are protected from the state violence violence wielded by government agencies in your country? ▷ Civil rights 2.56 6.11 7. CHO.22 7.22 7.00 3.33 5. AND OTHERS 15 Table 5.67 7.89 6.

All the sub-indicators of competition except for transparency received higher scores in 2013 than they did in 2012. scored 5. which is lower by 0. . on the other hand. The index in the field of politics in particular was higher in 2013 than in the previous year. This suggests that peoples’ satisfaction is lowest when it comes to democratization in the economic field. albeit slightly higher than the score in 2011. The indicators of solidarity that continue to garner rising scores are affirmative actions for minority groups (Q16) and trust in democracy (Q19). the presence of a non-elected supreme power (Q7). performed better in 2013 than it did in either of the two preceding years. Citizens’ trust in government and the legislature (Q17 and Q18). the other subprinciple of equalization. Especially noteworthy were the score increases in the efficiency of the state (Q6). the index in the field of economy has continued to decline steadily over the last three years. has increased between 2012 and 2013. Electoral fairness and competition. Solidarity. received lower scores in 2013 than they did in the previous two years. the National Assembly is still conducting an investigation into the affair while tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand a thoroughgoing investigation of the truth and the reform of the NIS. Pluralization.16 SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013 The level of competition. most likely reflecting the ongoing controversy over the NIS’s involvement in the online campaigns of the last presidential election held in 2012. As of August 2013. The distribution of power within the national legislature (Q12). have remained the same for the last two years. Citizens’ participation in political decision-making (Q15) also scored higher in 2013 than it did in 2012 but lags far behind the score it had in 2011. In the meantime. while the index in the field of the civil society in 2012 was also higher than in the previous year. political representation (Q13). on the other hand.00. on the other hand. and the democratization of state organizations (Q14) all managed to score higher in 2013 than they did in previous years. Economy A common characteristic of the index of democracy surveys conducted in the last three years is that Korea always scores highly in the domain of politics. and the rule of law (Q8). The mutual independence and checks and balances among powerful organizations (Q11). and performs poorly in the field of economy. managed to do somewhat better than it did in 2012 but still lagged a bit behind the score it obtained in 2011. by contrast.11 points from the previous year’s result. a subprinciple of equalization.

Yet it declined by a big margin in 2013. involving a large producer and distributor of dairy products that customarily forced its retailers to suffer innumerable humiliations. The widening gap between large corporations and smaller businesses. Jeong Un-chan. The margin of decrease in economic liberalization (-0. to resign from his post in March 2012. The liberalization of the economy fared especially poorly under most questions in the 2013 survey.09 2012 4. from 3. The situation eventually culminated in the establishment of the National Commission for Corporate Partnership promoting greater equity between large corporations and smaller businesses. It was amid the heightening public resentment against the oligopolistic practices of large corporations that the Namyang Dairy Products scandal broke out in May 2013.KIM. Yet the continuing tension between the government and the corporate community eventually forced the Commission’s first chairman.51 to 3.67 2.84. AND OTHERS 17 Table 6.22.17 to 2. demonstrated that the flagrant neoliberal and pro-business policy the Lee administration pursued had no trickle-down effect.71 4. . Liberalization and Equalization in the Korean Economy. the index of liberalization stayed more or less the same along both indices of autonomy and competition from 2011 to 2012. KIM.84 2013 3.31 in 2013. CHO. which reached its peak in the latter period of the Lee administration. As table 7 shows.95 3. His resignation resulted in turning large corporations’ habitually unfair treatment of smaller businesses into a major social issue. This scandal. which is significantly lower than the 3.17 3. 2011-2013 Index of Year Liberalization Equalization Democracy 2011 4. except for Q3.95). which is on the ban on child and forced labor.31 The index of democracy in the economy field in Korea is 3.46 3. incited the public’s condemnation of the gross socioeconomic and psychological inequality characterizing the business community and Korean society at large. exhorting the government and the corporate community to outgrow their narrow perspectives.84 it scored in 2012 (see table 6).51 3.67) is much greater than the margin of decrease in economic equalization (-0. from 4.

The investigation eventually went on to embroil the distribution industry as a whole. 2011-2013 Autonomy Competition Pluralization Solidarity Year 2011 5. The answers to Q1 and Q6 reflect this overall social atmosphere. Q3. contract-based forms of employment in an effort to cut down their business costs. given the fact that it is impossible to increase the external autonomy of policy decisions when the world economy is being tightly integrated. Korea’s score fell along almost all indicators of labor (Q2. The level of the external autonomy of policy decisions (Q4) has also dropped.75 2013 4.19 3. The pervasiveness of contract and dispatch-type employment attests to the fact that neither the government nor the private sector is doing much to protect people’s labor-related rights. On his meeting with President Park.58 3. President Park eventually promised she would seek a solution to the matter. Autonomy.51 The Fair Trade Commission launched an investigation and prosecution of Namyang Dairy Products in response.89 2.33 3.00 2. illustrated the seriously compromised state of the Korean government’s capability to make independent decisions. and Q8). Complicating the situation was the fact that the Korean judiciary itself had earlier rendered a decision on what constituted a “normal wage. Akerson made a direct request to President Park to address the “normal wage” (a regular pay that a worker receives in a given period) issue in Korea.” which a foreign CEO sought to overturn by making a personal appeal to the Korean president.39 3.65 2012 5. except Q3. Pluralization.78 3.14 3. Q7.72 3. Yet the incident in May 2013 involving the meeting of President Park Geun-hye with Dan Akerson. The investigation goes directly against the spirit of deregulation that marked the Lee administration’s economic policy and hinted at the new administration’s willingness to get involved in the market again. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of General Motors. Competition. The decline mainly stems from the pro-capital and probusiness policy the Park administration has inherited from its predecessor. Yet multinational conglomerates like Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor continue to rely on illegal.18 SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Table 7. settling the normal wage issue may well act as a measure of the external autonomy of the Park administration. and Solidarity in the Korean Economy. . Although it is difficult to predict how this issue will pan out in the future.

KIM. The only indicator of equalization along which a marginal increase in score was noted was Q20.78 5.33 4. How much effort do you think the government is exerting to protect and guarantee labor rights in your country? 8.11 decision making in decision making processes of the the policy of the central government is from foreign international countries and/or foreign capital in political economy your country? ▷ Economic fairness ▷ Government’s accountability ▷ Corporate accountability 4. Indicators of Democracy in the Korean Economy.56 4.33 3. How much influence do you 4. which is about citizen’s awareness of inequality. AND OTHERS 19 The margin of fall in the index of economic equalization is not as great as that in the index of economic liberalization.22 3.44 2.44 3.22 4.89 5. How transparent do you think the corporate operations are in your country? 6.00 think the political power/elite have on the operation of private companies in your country? ▷ Economic transparency 5. 2011-2013 Competition Liberalization Principles Autonomy Attribute Indicator / Question 2011 2012 2013 ▷ Freedom/ autonomy of economic activities without political intervention ▷ Protection of basic labor rights 1. How well do you think labor 4.78 5. such as the strikes at Hanjin Heavy Industries and SsangYong Motor Company as well as the Namyang Dairy Products humiliation. CHO. How fair do you think the competition between companies is in your country? 7.67 3.56 rights are established in your country? 3.67 3. How well do you think private companies protect/guarantee labor rights in your country? 2.22 4. KIM.89 3. How well do you think the 5.22 4.11 3. How independent do you think 5.00 3.78 3.00 .67 5.67 prohibition of forced labor and child labor is observed in your country? ▷ Autonomy of 4. Table 8. The increase along this indicator proves that it is citizens and not labor unions that are playing increasingly decisive roles in the unfolding of the string of corporate scandals that have infuriated the public. mainly because the index of equalization was so low to begin with.

How well do you think the social insurance programs are operated in your country? ▷ The activity of 16.22 4.22 2.11 4.67 3.78 1. How enthusiastic do you think reducing the general public is about inequality improving the economic inequality in your country? 2011 2012 2013 3.20 SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Table 8.11 2.89 1.67 3.13 2.44 3. How much influence do you think labor unions have on the policies of the central government in your country? 18.88 3.11 4.33 3. How much do you think the economy is dominated by certain groups in your country? ▷ Regional 10.22 2.56 4.22 4. How serious do you think employment discrimination is in the labor market in your country? ▷ The social 14.89 3.00 3.00 1. How serious do you think the income income disparity is in your country? ▷ Inequality of 12.89 2. How well do you think support security system systems for the poor are working in your country? 15.00 3. How much do you think labor unions participate in the management process in your country? ▷ Corporate 19.11 2.11 . How serious do you think the asset asset disparity is in your country? ▷ Inequality of 13.78 4.11 1. (continued) Attribute Solidarity Equalization Principles Pluralization ▷ Economic monopoly Indicator / Question 9.67 3.11 2.11 3.78 2. How well-organized do you trade unions think labor unions are in your country? 17. How well do you think public watch monitoring is carried out on the corporate activities in your country? ▷ Awareness of 20.22 3. How serious do you think the inequality economic disparities/ inequality are between regions in your country? ▷ Inequality of 11.56 4.89 5.78 4.33 3.89 3.22 4.

it will necessarily have to interfere with the management of corporations. KIM.75. such was reflected in the drop in solidarity. This suggests that. The decline in the index of pluralization reflects the increasing monopolization of the economy and the polarization of the rich and the poor. The efforts to mitigate or correct these problems at a systematic level have not borne much fruit so far. AND OTHERS 21 The rest of the indicators of equalization have remained either stagnant (Q14) or have declined. which is significantly higher than the 3.30 in 2013. The efforts to mitigate or correct these problems at a systematic level have not borne much fruit so far. The decline in the index of pluralization reflects the increasing monopolization of the economy and the polarization of the rich and the poor. while Korean civil society has managed to achieve relatively greater independence from the political and economic fields. in turn.KIM. . and rarely produces visible results in a short period of time. such was reflected in the drop in solidarity. Should the government decide to divert at least a little from the neoliberal movement of deregulation. The score represents dire prospects for the future of Korean democracy in general. The rest of the indicators of equalization have remained either stagnant (Q14) or have declined.84 the index of equalization in the same field scored. which. the quality of democracy within civil society itself still remains in a backward state. suggests the health and potential of the democratic enterprise in a given state. The index of democracy in the Korean civil society read 4. The index of liberalization in the Korean civil society measured 4. Civil Society Civil society represents the potential and strength of a given state’s democracy. Change in the economic domain however is slower than its counterparts in politics and civil society. CHO. This means that the downward trend in the democratization of the Korean economy is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. notwithstanding the low indices in other domains. A high index of democracy in the civil society. It will take some time before the mounting criticisms against monopolization and polarization translate into actual legal and practical changes. may decrease the index of liberalization. Monopolization and polarization are ongoing phenomena in the Korean economy and both are problems that are unlikely to go away without conscious political efforts. especially along the indicator of autonomy. It is quite a low score in a 0-10 scale.

Pluralization.91 2013 4. along the two subprinciples of liberalization. Autonomy.52 and 4. Liberalization and Equalization in Korean Civil Society. scored 3. ..22 SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Table 9.30 5.89 4. while the other subprinciple.97 3.97. i.30 2013 4. Pluralization. and Solidarity in Korean Civil Society.e.69 3. 2011-2013 Year Liberalization Equalization Index of Democracy 2011 5. respectively.84 4. scored 3.83. solidarity.40 4.78 4. 2011-2013 Autonomy Competition Pluralization Solidarity Year 2011 5. The continuing socioeconomic polarization has increased economic and other hardships to which the minority groups and the poor are exposed.52 4. a subprinciple of equalization. Basic conditions of freedom for minority groups and the marginalized deteriorated even more rapidly during that time.75 3.84 2012 5.85.94 5.50 4.85 The level of independence from political and economic influences began to decline in 2012. Korea scored 4.83 3.59 2012 4. especially along the indicators of liberalization over the last three years. autonomy and competition.30 In the civil society field. Table 10 shows a clear pattern of regression in the democracy of Korean civil society. The popularity that the slogan of “economic democratization” enjoyed among the followers of both camps during the presidential election campaign reflects the increasing economic toils that the socially vulnerable were experiencing at the time.54 4.14 4. Social conflicts escalated during the campaign period for the presidential election late in 2012.42 4. Competition. The state’s supervision and control of the civil society reached a new height in Korean history when the Lee administration began to trail and investigate innocent civilians. Table 10.

The indicator of autonomy that received the lowest score in 2013 is tolerance (Q7. including education. in turn. has raised a sharp controversy. 6. received a relatively high score. The indicator that received the highest score was the opportunity of education (Q6. Competition in the civil society context is a principle that assesses the capability and democratic nature of voluntary associations. Korea’s score of solidarity in 2013 dipped slightly from the score measured in 2012 but is still higher than the score from 2011. probably indicating the increasing level of social conflicts within civil society before and after the last presidential election. The tendency continues into 2013. AND OTHERS 23 Another key feature to be noted is the consistent decline in the level of citizens’ tolerance of one another. Korea’s score for pluralization. while the satisfaction of the basic needs of the weak and the vulnerable (Q5) received a low score. This suggests that the Korean civil society still fails to provide adequate support and care for minority groups and the marginalized. The decline. The increasing popularity that the causes of exclusion and hatred enjoy in Korean political discourses suggests an erosion of tolerance that is integral to democracy. . suggesting the increasing affluence of the Korean society in general. This is due to the escalating ideological tension and conflict in the Korean society that was fuelled by the last presidential election. CHO. which popular among supporters of extreme right-wing politics. in particular.0). In the meantime.33). Politics of hatred became a major concern around the time of the election. The decline was prominent in the area of the influence and diversity of voluntary associations. Equalization has always lagged behind liberalization since the first survey conducted in 2011. KIM. the satisfaction of basic needs. Competition is the indicator along which the biggest margin of fall between 2012 and 2013 was noted. Korea’s score along this plane dropped by 0. Importantly. The consistent decline in the score on pluralization indicates that the inequality in the distribution of power and resources across the Korean civil society continues to deteriorate. while an online community for humor known as Ilbe.92 between 2012 and 2013.KIM. The finding matches those of other studies pointing toward the declining influence of civil activism in Korea. maintains its steady downturn. 3. suggests that civil activism has failed to accommodate the diverse demands raised in Korean civil society. of the attributes making up autonomy in the civil society.

.. ..67 3.00 5.22 5.67 4..00 voluntary represent public interest in your association country? ▷ Transparency of 10.56 5.22 voluntary represent different values and associations demands of society in your country? . 2011-2013 Competition Liberalization Principles Autonomy Attribute Question / Indicator ▷ Autonomy of 1.. and ideas in your country? ▷ Capability of 8.33 4..11 4.11 4.56 4.. How much do you think social member citizens’ basic needs are met in (basic needs and your country? basic human 5.00 6. How much do you think citizens respect different cultures..11 4.22 6.33 5.78 5. races. religions.78 6.56 6. Index of Democracy in Korean Civil Society.22 voluntary democratically operating in your association country? ▷ Diversity of 11. 4. How well do you think NGOs 6. and immigrants in your country? 6.00 4.56 6.. languages. Do you think NGOs are 5. nations. Aside from the basic needs development stated in question no. How much do you think citizens are provided with education opportunities in your country? ▷ Tolerance 7..11 4.24 SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Table 11.11 5.33 5. How much influence do you voluntary think NGOs have on society in association your country? 2011 2012 2013 4..67 6. How much do you think private society from the companies have influence on market society in your country? ▷ Autonomy of 4. how much level) do you think special care is provided for vulnerable people or minorities. people with disabilities.67 3. How free do you think society from state citizens’ social activities are intervention from government interference in your country? 2. Do you think NGOs well 5. How much influence do you think government organizations have on society in your country? ▷ Autonomy of 3.78 5.44 ▷ Public good of 9.00 3.89 5.67 6.56 4. women. such as children.67 5.

0.11 3. How equally do you think power power is distributed among people in your country? ▷ Institutional 16.78 3. How much influence do you the state and civil think NGOs have on society government's policy making processes in your country? 4. Do you think the media is fair and just in your country? ▷ Inequality of culture and information 13.56 (Q12). had the lowest score. The inequality of fora for public debates.00 3.78 5.89 3. with 2.75 3.67 The indicator of competition that received the highest score was the public nature of voluntary associations (Q9). Of the sub-indicators of pluralization. How wide do you think the 7. Do you think affirmative guarantee of actions are well established and diversity and operated in your country? affirmative actions ▷ Participation 17. KIM. While Koreans generally view the public contributions of civil activism in a favorable light. The dominance of conservative newspapers in the press. Do you think citizens have interest relations equal access to cultural facilities and activities in your country? ▷ Inequality of 15.33 4. This result reflects the contrast between the potential and the actual problems of civil activism in general in Korea. .22 4.89 4.56 ▷ Inequality of public spheres 12. while the indicator that received the lowest score was diversity (Q11). How actively do you think and support of citizens are participating in NGO social groups activities in your country? ▷ Governance of 18.78 2.00 4.89 3.89 4. they also think of civil activism as too centralized and not sufficiently representative of Korean society. CHO.11 4.67 5.89 3. (continued) Solidarity Equalization Principles Pluralization Attribute Question / Indicator 2011 2012 2013 2. the control of the airwaves by the government. access to culture received a score lower than 5.00 information gap between citizens is in your country? ▷ Inequality of 14. AND OTHERS 25 Table 11.11 4.00 3. however.KIM. but the survey respondents commented that Korean culture still maintained a relative equality of opportunity. and the emergence of extremely conservative cable general programming channels seem to have led to this perception.

Restrictions on civil liberties necessarily undermine participation and accountability. The steady pattern of decline in liberalization. attesting to the absence of solidarity and systems according respect and care to minority groups and the marginalized. crucially depends on citizens’ rights to participate in solving collective problems by expressing and debating their opinions (Dahl 1998). he argues. presents grim prospects for Korean democracy. and may even lead to the collapse of the system by fuelling people’s desire for its destruction and displacement by a political arrangement of another sort. The presence of diversity-protecting systems and affirmative actions was the indicator that received the lowest score (Q16. 3. present a serious setback to Korean democracy by increasingly restricting civil liberties. . The distortion in political representation will make it easier for certain groups or classes of people to mobilize their resources and monopolize access to power.26 SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Of the indicators of solidarity. however.00). as apparent in the increasing erosion of the basic rights to liberty and equality. Democracy is a political arrangement that revolves around the principles of liberty and equality. and guarantee the rule of people by allowing them to continue to participate in decision-making processes. the governance of the state and the civil society received the highest score. Democracy still remains in a restricted and partial sense in Korea as citizens’ participation in political decision-making continues to be curtailed and their access to democratic processes blocked.0 (Q18). The score is despairingly low even without comparing it to the scores under other indicators. in turn. Effective participation in such a system. The last five years and a half of conservative administrations. which are the key values of democracy. Worsening socioeconomic inequality. In a democracy. Robert Dahl has defined democracy as essentially a system of rights. Conclusion: Characteristics and the Future of Korean Democracy The survey of democracy in 2013 reveals a clear pattern of decline in Korean democracy. economic. and political resources and outcomes. free and equal citizens participate in procedures allocating social. The deterioration of socioeconomic inequality darkens the future of Korean democracy even further as it tends to distort the political equality that even minimal procedural democracies aspire to achieve. in particular. will undermine people’s trust in the democratic system. which is nonetheless lower than 5.

” Asian Democracy Review 1:36-87. AND OTHERS 27 Note 1. CADI (Consortium for the Asian Democracy Index). Larry. 2011. 2013. Robert A. Freedom House.freedomhouse. Benjamin R. On Democracy. . 1998.” and “indicator. James. New Haven: Yale University Press. Dahl. References Barber. Cambridge: Polity Press Ltd.org/report/ freedom-press/freedom-press-2013. 2012. 1998.org/social-issues-migrationhealth/suicides_20758480-table10. 2013. 2. http:// cpi. 2012. “The Asian Democracy Index: A Guide.” “attribute.KIM. Why Some Politicians are More Dangerous than Others. Freedom of the Press 2013. OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). http://www. LLC. Suicides: Death Per 100 000 Population. see CADI (2012).” as well as the rest of the ADI terminology. CHO. New York: Hill and Wang. Gilligan. a division of Farrar Straus and Giroux. A Place for Us: How to Make Society Civil and Democracy Strong.org/cpi2012/results/q. KIM. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.rsf. Corruption Perceptions Index 2012. Diamond. Data taken from http://en.” “subprinciple. Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation. 1999.transparency.org/press-freedom-index. Transparency International. http://www. On our definitions of “principle.oecd-ilibrary.

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The president’s intention with the coalition is to assure the effectiveness of his government by mobilizing the majority in DPR RI. altering the distribution of political power. gained a mere 26 percent of the national votes) has forced the president to gather political support by appointing members of parties in the coalition to be his cabinet ministers. and Julia Ikasarana are from the Centre for Political Studies.Asian Democracy Index 2013: Persistent Oligarchy and Rising Civic Participation in Indonesia SRI BUDI EKO WARDANI. Partai Demokrat. and civil society. 3 (2014): 29-47 ISSN 2244-5633 . Indonesia has experienced complex political dynamics in the years following the beginning of the Reform Era in 1998. Muhammad Ridha. ____________________________________________________________ Sri Budi Eko Wardani. ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. which had a strong impact in the process of Indonesian de-monopolization in the fields of politics. The coalition is known as the Joint Secretariat (Sekretariat Gabungan or Setgab) and holds 80 percent of DPR RI’s seats. Department of Political Science. The second term of the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (2009-2014) introduced a coalition of parties supporting his and Vice President Boediono’s administration. economics. MUHAMMAD RIDHA. ANTON PRADJASTO. The 2009 General Election placed nine political parties into the national legislature (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Republik Indonesia or DPR RI). INGGRID SILITONGA Introduction One of the most populous countries in the world. The absence of a majority party in the election (Yudhoyono’s party. DIRGA ARDIANSA. Dirga Ardiansa. Anton Pradjasto and Inggrid Silitonga are from the Indonesian Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (DEMOS). JULIA IKASARANA. Universitas Indonesia (PUSKAPOL FISIP UI).

the Party of the Functional Groups (Partai Golongan Karya. and the Prosperous Justice Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera. the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Partai Gerakan Indonesia Raya or Gerindra). a drop from 2012’s 5. like those of the Century Bank case and the fuel price increase. economy. This decrease calls for scrutiny. Despite the passage of several laws that guarantee citizens’ civil and political rights. The political temperature among the elite was rising. the enhancement of political space for public participation. the launching of economic programs to increase the welfare of the poor. This constitutional restriction opened the door for new candidates to be nominated by other parties. reform in the electoral system management. Indonesia’s score in the Asian Democracy Index (ADI) in 2013 was 4. In several cases. The politics of public policy was influenced by the interest of each coalition member. PDIP—led by Megawati Soekarnoputri—is the only party that has been consistently criticizing and has become the main opposition party against the central government’s policies. The other three parties in DPR RI—Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan or PDIP). an increase from the 2. the coalition could not form solid support for the government’s side.27. as it demonstrates that monopolies in the sectors of politics. However these three parties do not always share the same view on government policies. President Yudhoyono did not always manage to control his coalition members. Hanura and Gerindra sometimes share the same position with members of the coalition. Additionally.5 percent threshold in the 2009 elections. As the nation prepared for the election in 2014. political parties were in a hot pursuit for the presidency as incumbent President Yudhoyono was no longer qualified to run because he already served two terms. while civil society movements were gaining momentum as their bargaining position vis-à-vis the status quo groups became better in the nationwide fight against corruption. However during the course of his government. and civil society have not diminished from 2011 (the first year an ADI survey was conducted in Indonesia) to 2013. or PKS). which makes the opposition camp in DPR RI a rather “flexible” grouping. social security improvement. and the People’s Conscience Party (Partai Hati Nurani Rakyat or Hanura)—chose to be on the side of the opposition.30 INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 The Joint Secretariat consists of six parties.5 percent of the popular vote in order to get parliamentary seats. the new election law determines that parties must achieve 3. or Golkar).97 out of 10. with the the dominant ones being Demokrat. and the increase of the .1 with Demokrat as its leader.

Many political corruption cases were still “untouchable” by the law.24 percent).30.2 Even if the international community sees Indonesia as among the few free and democratic countries that managed to survive the 1997-1998 financial crisis. it went down to 0. However. Gorontalo (0. The Indonesian National Bureau of Statistics (BSP) stated that the number of the poor was 28. AND OTHERS 31 minimum wage rate. In the 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International. Also. One such example is the abuse of social benefit funds in the local budget as campaign funds of incumbent local heads of government during local elections. the gap of income in Indonesia remains a serious problem.34 score it received in 2010.profile corruption cases involving bureaucrats. or KPK) is perceived to be making a breakthrough in revealing and processing high. Bengkulu (0. (it was at 6. . West Kalimantan (0. Despite relatively high economic growth. ARDIANSA.37 percent of the population during September 2012 to March 2013. far from the “very clean” 90-100 range. The country’s Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi. Corruption remains a serious problem. the effort to eliminate corruption remains a massive ongoing task.5 percent during the whole of 2012). Furthermore.3 The main reason for this growth was consumption and investment.29 percent). Higher scores of Gini Ratio shows higher level of income gap. economic growth in mid-2013 was at 5. Banten (0. up from the 0. with a score of 32. The profile of the Indonesian macroeconomy from 2012 to 2013 showed positive performance. prominent businesspersons. The Indonesian Gini Index was 0. and Papua (0. RIDHA .4 These increases show that Indonesia’s supposedly positive economic growth was not accompanied by the decrease of income gap. Law enforcement officials found that this kind of cases were very difficult to take to court. The Gini Ratio is an index ranging from 0 to 1. and political party leaders. Economic inequality remains a threat even in the midst of high economic growth.47 percent). the country is still unable to combat chronic corruption. In 2012.28 percent). which indicates a country’s level of income gap. government spending was at a lower rate than in previous years due to the moratorium on civil service recruitment.41 in 2011. the concentration of political and economic power within certain few groups has resulted in unfair competition.76 percent). South Sumatera (0.03 percent).07 million or 11. eight provinces experienced an increase in their poor population: West Sumatera (an 0.18 percent. According to the Indonesian Central Bank.WARDANI. North Sulawesi (0. Indonesia ranked 114 out of 177 countries.83 percent).14 percent rise).

Methodology De-monopolization. Violence against minority religious or faith-based groups occured (e. the conceptual foundation of the Asian Democracy Index. Liberalization’s subvariables or subprinciples. conducted through interviews with twenty-seven expert informants utilizing questionnaires—one per field—as instruments of measurement. Each subprinciple is then broken down further into nineteen indicators in the political field. positions. and the national government refused to execute one decision of the Supreme Court that allowed such construction (USCIRF 2013. This situation only implies that pluralism and solidarity remain problematic in Indonesia. According to the Report. anti-). lastly. The process of determining the twenty-seven experts is based on criteria representing the spectrum of expertise. local government units kept on halting the construction of religious minority houses of worship. the resistance to the construction of houses of worship. To measure the development of democracy. twenty indicators in economy. In its observation on the subject matter. contemplates three fields: politics. especially religious ones. The sampling method was purposive sampling. the period of study was June 2012 to June 2013. and several other similar cases. For the 2013 survey round. while equalization’s subprinciples are pluralization and solidarity. the civil society sphere was marked by a number of conflicts among certain groups. ideological stances. along with optional explanatory comments.g. their roles in society (academics. civil society). . and civil society. practitioners. and eighteen indicators in civil society. Experts are asked to give answers to these questions in the form of scores that range from 0–10. economy. persecution. The firs consideration is the experts’ areas or fields of expertise (politics. secondly. de-monopolization is operationalized as having two main variables or principles: liberalization and equalization. are autonomy and competition.. and attacks on minority religious groups (236241). the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom stated in its June 2013 Annual Report that the Indonesian government had failed to take the right actions in coping with the discrimination. and roles in society. economy. their standing vis-à-vis the government (pro-.5 The ADI is a univariate measurement of the concept of democracy. The method used is expert assessment of questions. and decisionmakers). There are three considerations in selecting respondents.32 INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 In 2013. moderate. 238-239). rejection toward Ahmadi and Syiah minority groups.

. Like the previous year. see table 2) and civil society (5. ARDIANSA. significantly higher than the median score of 5).97 (see table 1).. neither of the main principles of democracy. which is at 5. However.71— lower than overall liberalization. liberalization and equalization. RIDHA . Table 1. increased in 2013. This is because of the politically motivated revision of the law on political parties in order to reduce the number of political parties. received high scores (i. the quality of access to resources score.11 in 2013. see table 4). i. AND OTHERS 33 The Results of the 2013 ADI Survey in Indonesia Indonesia’s aggregate ADI score for 2013 is 4. the lowest among the subprinciple scores. which had contributed the most in lowering the ADI score in the previous two surveys.43 4.24 in 2012 to 5. What follows is an attempt to give an interpretation of these numbers.23 Democracy Index Indonesia 4.02 5. although the increase is miniscule.18.23. Asian Democracy Index in Indonesia.71 Autonomy Competition Pluralization Solidarity 5.18 5. The high score of liberalization is still mainly due to the relatively high political liberalization score. is at 4.e. the subprinciple of pluralization obtained a score of 4. which contributed to the low score of the overall index. However. Under the principle of equalization. there has not been any significant change in the actual situation of democratization as demonopolization in the country.23 4. the liberalization score in the field of economy (see table 3). Monopolization in the field of politics is increasingly stronger.97 In the three years of ADI research in Indonesia.57 in 2012 to 5. However. This is a decline from the scores in previous years. it should be noted that the decrease of the 2013 score from the 2012 score is due to the decrease in the quality of de-monopolization in politics (from 6. 2013 Liberalization Equalization 5.64 in 2013. overall equalization. The alleged aim of the revision is to decrease the number of parties eligible to enter the legislative .e.WARDANI.

11) fields in the same year. and religion in a time when intolerant groups have become more and more malevolent.34 INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 body. it is safe to say that the political aim of those who want to limit political participation was successfully reached.89) and civil society (5.00 received by the liberalization subprinciple of competition in 2013 is still higher than the score in the same subprinciple within the political (5. The score of liberalization in politics. it is only open to the oligarchy. The Law is scheduled to be formally implemented in 2014. allegedly due to the enactment of the Law on Social Security. Megawati.30. . even if the liberalization score in that field decreased from last year’s score. The Law has become a stepping stone in concretizing social security plans. Wiranto. especially the right to freedom of thought. the Indonesian government has consistently shown relaxed control over political life. This demonstrates that the struggle of civil society organizations in the face of many societal problems has become a common struggle all over Indonesia.17) and economic (5.11).6 In the field of civil society. despite being slightly lower than the scores in the same field principle in the previous two cycles. conscience. which is at 6.64. It is also marked by the ongoing conflict between marginalized groups and owners of capital that cannot be managed by the state. particularly those within political parties. Competition among political actors has become more limited. so that the decision-making process in the legislature will become more effective and the government can also work more effectively. monopolization in the field of economy appears to have weakened. Meanwhile. at 5. as reflected by the endorsement of the same old figures nominated by parties as presidential candidates for the 2014 Election: Prabowo Subianto. Within the three survey cycles. and Jusuf Kalla. Even if the space for political competition is relatively limited. is significantly higher than liberalization in economy (4. the 6. Hatta Radjasa. The stronger monopolization in the civil society arena was mainly caused by the weakness of the state in protecting the rights of its citizens. The score for political liberalization is partly due to the relatively high political autonomy score. This trend has been consistent within the three years of Asian Democracy Index research in Indonesia. but the social security funds are already available. This suggests that political liberalization has been given wider space than economic and civil society liberalization. Considering that the number of parties eligible to compete in the election of 2014 was down to twelve from thirty-eight in the 2009 election.

44). especially cases of horizontal conflict. AND OTHERS 35 This variety of societal problems in Indonesia today reflects the variety of public interests. 5. and. Thus. one of the main problems was the state’s negligence in handling cases in which it had to intervene. as well as the overall arena of competition among media owners in alliance with party leaders. has been ignored—dogmatism is allowed to win over rationality. With the existing regulations.7 This. ARDIANSA. is allegedly caused by the policy on simplifying the number of political parties. The main factor behind the low score of equalization lies in the economic field. One of the main problems lies within mass media.14 in 2013) still has not significantly affect the quality of equalization.18. at 5. far lower than the scores in politics (5. it has become very difficult for people to form new political parties through grassroots networkbuilding without access to substantial amounts of money. which has become more faithful to serving media owners’ vested interests. Furthermore. 4. the protection of civil liberty. In the field of politcs.24 in 2011. The low overall equalization score—lower than that of liberalization—can be attributed mainly to the score of the equalization subprinciple of pluralization. This revision was the subject of public scrutiny throughout the year leading to its enactment.23. despite remaining within what can be called the poor range. pluralization in the Indonesian economy had a score of only 2. The increase of the solidarity score in the economic field (4.96 in 2013.WARDANI. as previously mentioned. who found it more and more difficult to enter the formal political field.79 in 2012. In the field of civil society.Many television programs have shaped the public to become an uncritical consumptive society. public interest is not represented in these programs. at 4. as evidenced by the enactment of a revision of the Law on Mass Organization in May 2013. it is the lowest among the four subprinciple scores. dropped to 5. Politics in Indonesia in 2013 was like a battle for political power among giants that took those in the grassroots as their victims. Despite increasing from last year’s score. tha state has become more controlling over mass organizations. which should be upheld by the state. The solidarity score. partly because this increase is accompanied by the decrease of solidarity in the field of politics (5. The absence of the state was then filled by market dominance within civil society life.44) and civil society (4.86 in 2012. which has a 5. while at the same time the state tried to .23 score (see table 2). is still better than the political autonomy score in politics. especially television. RIDHA .18 in 2013). political spaces created by political parties have tended to become more narrow. Besides.

the economy. It can thus be concluded that there had not been any significant changes in the state of Indonesian democracy from 2011 to 2013 based on the ADI survey data. is still focused in the political rather than the economic field. The creation of public mechanisms to guarantee the fulfillment of social and economic rights have been formally introduced. but they have not been implemented effectively. Any political. .36 INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 control mass organization through (i. Moreover. there is an imbalance of power in public discourse because the focus of news in the mass media was controlled by very few people. Furthermore. therefore. based on the survey data. Thus. independent and private community groups continue to face serious difficulties in their attempts to influence public affairs. the diversity of access to economic resources diminished since the previous year even if solidarity in the economic field had increased. the chances to create economic equality is perceived to be mainly in the hands of individuals and the market instead of the state. social.. any effort to de-monopolize is still concentrated at the state level. As the previous discussion showed how solidarity increased in the economic field. De-monopolization in Indonesia is thus defined merely by some political freedom from state intervention mixed with a variety of issues and ideas advocated by civil society activists. and economic development not based on facts or research or without the involvement of stakeholders may be a a causal factor as well. The next sections of this paper discusses these and the other gaps previously discussed in more detail. it can be stated that based on the 2013 survey data. The realm of civil society was more controlled by market forces either socially or politically through state regulation. through the Law on Mass Organization). De-monopolization. and civil society.e. This void occured between national and local governments and between the state and citizens as well. This situation went as far as the state determining the relevant role organizations can play in civil society. institutionalization within the fields of politics and civil society was not accompanied by mechanisms created to guarantee the fulfillment of social and economic rights of citizens. The guarantee of civic liberty does not serve the purpose of furthering demonopolization in the fields of politics. With the governing regime’s penchant to avoid taking responsibility in fulfilling its citizens’ rights. Social and political liberalization is not seen by those we surveyed to be substantial determinants of demonopolization of power resources. On the whole.

This view of the experts is reflected in score received by the indicator of freedom from state violence. Indonesia.17.18 5. The scores for the two subprinciples within the political field. under political equalization. Still on civil rights. RIDHA . but there were some freedoms that the experts found to be restricted. state officials did not necessarily act violently directly toward citizens. Civil rights were perceived by the experts to be generally hardly threatened. which received an average score of 7.48 Political autonomy in 2012 was higher (7.67. Political competition also suffered a 0.22.44 5. which.22. 2013 Liberalization Equalization 5. The indicator of civil rights and the freedom for political opposition scored 6. Index in the Field of Politics.00) than in 2013 (6.30 Autonomy Competition Pluralization Solidarity 6. ARDIANSA. There are two indicators that scored higher: freedom to vote at 7.48. a decrease from 6.16 in 2012 and 5. the political pluralization score is at 5.07 in 2012 to 5.78.56 and free and fair elections at 6.18 political solidarity score (see table 2).30).44. Political autonomy contains the freedom of association indicator.WARDANI.57 drop from last year’s score. is the lowest among the indicators under political autonomy. due to the decrease of the score in almost all the indicators within that subprinciple. at 4. Within political liberalization. Meanwhile. liberalization and equalization. higher than political competition’s 5. These relatively high scores .30. respectively. also dropped—the political iberalization score was at 5. while the political equalization score decreased from 6. but tended to be negligent in protecting civil and other rights of citizens.17 5. such as the freedom to practice one’s religion.78 and 6. AND OTHERS 37 The Politics Field The total score for political de-monopolization in 2013 is 5.30 5.30 in 2013. the highest of all indicator scores in the said field subprinciple.24 in 2012. Table 2.50 in 2011). the political autonomy subprinciple is at 6. higher than the 5.64 in 2013. It is lower than the score in the previous two surveys (6.64 Score 5.

This was the lowest score received by an indicator under political liberalization. which dropped from 6.67. because there has not been any significant progress made in those areas. The arrest of judges mentioned above indicates that there seems to be what can be called a thriving “mafia” within the justice system. all the other scores of the indicators under political competition remained relatively low. the clans of the deceased Haji Chasan Shohib di in Banten and the Limpo in South Sulawesi have been increasingly dominating local executive and legislative positions. Transparency of processes in parliament. the several high state officials were defendants in cases brought before the KPK.11. effectiveness of government policy scored 4. a 0. During the last several years. Poor transparency remains a big issue within the three branches of state institutions. which was widely perceived as a “clean” party. This low score reflects how informal groups based on religion. Another controversial case saw the leader of a religious political party. and the judiciary scored 5. More stunningly.67). These cases show the grip of corruption and collusion practices remained strong. several judges of the KPK at the local level were also allegedly taking bribes for the cases that they were handling.77 drop from its score in 2012. heads of local government. At the national parliament level. and the three high-state institutions still possessed weaknesses in terms of transparency. including members of parliament. From 2012 to 2013. either at the provincial or district level. Equalization in politics scored 5.38 INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 were largely due to the fact that free and fair local elections were held from 2012 and 2013. This decline can be attributed mainly to the decline in the score of the political pluralization subprinciple.78. In the context of regional autonomy. As previously mentioned. The indicator of informal groups’ existence in politics scored the lowest within the subvariable of competition (2. a number of local clans had demonstrated their domination in the course of elections of local legislatures and chief executives. the government.35 . ethnicity. cabinet ministers. One of the most high-profile cases involved the Minister of Youth and Sports who was also President Yudhoyono’s right-hand man. which makes the public pessimistic about the future of law enforcement. a number of senior politicians were also charged with corruption by the KPK. and law enforcement and rule of law scored 4. This is not surprising.30 in 2013. and clan relations still have significant—if not increasingly stronger—influence in politics. as can be observed in the provinces of Banten and South Sulawesi. also involved in a major corruption case. and high-court judicial officers.

67). legislative election.78.91 drop). The subprinciple of solidarity also suffered a 0.44 2013 (a 0. political parties are more eager in trading interests among themselves by negotiating the substance of policy bills—never mind the fact that the final results of their discussions are unresponsive to public needs. Post-New Order elections have resulted in a high number of political parties in the parliament.68 drop (5. It showed that for the political elite. formation of democratic state institutions.WARDANI. AND OTHERS 39 in 2012 to 5. power balance in the parliament. However. ARDIANSA. This relatively high score is in line with the results of many other surveys on public support for democracy. some indicators under the subprinciple of political solidarity received lower than the other indicators under political equalization. The score of guarantee of public participation and affirmative action for parliament seats. their parties’ survival within the political power circle is .89). Public trust in the parliament and the government scored 3. 79 percent of the respondents also agreed that democracy was better than any other political system. Scholars of Indonesian politics still seek an explanation on why political reform resulting in the emergence of a competitive multi-party system has not produced substantial institutional improvement. RIDHA . which is slightly lower than last year’s score (6.89. and presidential election bills. is still higher than the scores of the aforementioned two indicators. A survey by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences in 2012 showed that the majority of respondents (70 percent) assessed that democracy was a “good” or “very good” political system. despite having decreased from last year score. respectively.89 to 5. A clear example was the inter-party interaction in the discussion of the political party. and the representation of social groups in the parliament—scored within the range of 4. The expert’s assessment of the state of affirmative action in Indonesia is likely based on the increased number of women elected to the parliament after the 2009 election—18 percent in the national parliament.56 and 4. The highest score among the indicators under political equalization is the indicator of public trust in democracy (6.86 in 2012 to 5. On the other hand.18 in 2013). 72 percent of the respondents felt “satisfied” and “highly satisfied” with the current system of democracy. an average of 16 percent in the provincial parliament. the balance of power and checks and balances have failed to work properly. A number of indicators within the subvariable of pluralization— checks and balances. Rather than serving as critical counterparts to provide checks and balances among institutions. and an average of 12 percent in the district/municipal parliament.

This score is the aggregate of scores in economic liberalization (4.40 INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 more important than the ideal of establishing a more democratic and effective political system. and independence from the influence of foreign companies (4.23). 2013 Liberalization Equalization 4. Index in the Field of Economy. Indonesia is known to have one of the most comprehensive set of labor laws concerning workers protection.11 2.11).96 5. private companies awarded officials top positions within their companies.89)—all of which shows the weakness of state in the times or situations when it is badly needed.21 in 2012 to 4. The Economy Field The total score for de-monopolization in the field of economy in 2013 increased by 0. from 4. the lowest score was received by the political elite’s influence on private companies (4.89) and economic equalization (4. Indonesia.89 Score 4.28 points. As in the 2012 survey.67 5. receiving a score of 2. It is the aggregate of the scores in economic subprinciples of economic autonomy (4.48 The score of economic liberalization for 2013 is 4.49 in 2013. competition.89. child workers (4.14 4. both relatively low numbers.11). Economic autonomy. Another important matter to note is the collusion between political elite and private corporations perceived by the experts—in exchange for the protection over their businesses provided by state apparatuses. The low economic autonomy score can also be attributed to the low scores in three other indicators: protection for workers’ rights (5.67) and economic competition (5.96 (see table 3). Table 3.23 Autonomy Competition Pluralization Solidarity 4. and solidarity enjoyed a rise from 2012 scores. economic pluralization scored the lowest in the economic field. Despite all these. Among the indicators of economic autonomy.11). which shows the relative independence of those companies from state control.44). It has also .

This quantitative representation of the views of the experts can be verified by other measures.33).89). citing the existence of agencies of workers protection in other countries and the pertinent laws there as excuses. Among the important matters to note concerning these scores include the dillemma faced by private companies in terms of their financial transparency. If they implement full transparency. as the practice of corruption is still widespread within government apparatuses.11). For example. Economic equalization scored 4.41. AND OTHERS 41 ratified the largest number of International Labour Organisation conventions. It is widely perceived that bureaucracy is very weak.23 in 2013 as a result of the scores in the economic pluralization (2.WARDANI. As previously mentioned. weak law enforcement remains a serious problem. the BPS issued the Indonesian economic gap (Gini) index in September 2012. In terms of workers protection. and the extent to which private companies protect the rights of their workers (5. RIDHA . Conflicts based on natural resources management also led to the abovementioned figures. In line with the low score in the indicators under the economic pluralization subprinciple. However. It is an aggregate of the scores of four indicators: transparency of big corporations (5.96) and economic solidarity (5. labor supervisory officials do practically nothing to follow up on reports on the violations of the labor laws or on imposing crackdowns on labor movements. This is due to the very low scores in the indicators of inter-region economic equality (1. ARDIANSA. All of these indicators scored modestly.14) subprinciples. government effort in protecting workers rights (4. The Ministry of Labor seems to be neglecting the problems of workers protection abroad. The economic competition received an average score of 5.11 this year.11). economic pluralization received the lowest score among the field subprinciples in 2013.11). Some of the causative factors of the economic gap include the increasing number of corruption cases and the decreasing amount of government subsidy for public welfare. It was the highest Gini index that country had obtained since it attained independence. they could possibly suffer a deficit because large sums of money have to be paid to the bureaucracy. fairness in economic activities (5. Examples include widespread corruption among tax and customs officials. and the government is not yet ready to be fully transparent and clean.89) and monopoly by certain groups (2. there tends to be discrimination in treatment toward workers in and outside of Indonesia. As previously mentioned. which is at 0. the Asian Development Bank reported in 2014 .

at 6. the civil society competition subprinciple still scores the highest. On another note. those with a daily income of USD 2. This is because in general.44 5.11 Score 4.44).22) while the indicator of public monitoring over private companies scored the lowest (4. Index in the Field of Civil Society. with the the increase of minimum wage in 2012 being considered by experts as an indicator thereof.42 INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 that in 2013.00 (see table 4).. a decrease of score occured within all the principles and subprinciples of civil society de-monopolization. The indicator of public awareness in handling economic gap obtained the highest score (6.03. the political influence of labor unions is considered better.03 .00 4. It is the lowest average Indonesian civil society score ever obtained.e. 2013 Liberalization Equalization 5. Public awareness is still limited to matters related to environmental pollution or destruction. Among the subprinciple scores.52 5. The seven indicators under the subprinciple of economic solidarity obtained a better average score than those in under the subprinciple of economic pluralization. This went inversely against BPS data. Indonesia. Table 4. The parameter used by the BPS is the decrease in government spending for poverty eradication. which stated that the number of the Indonesian poor is decreasing.90 Autonomy Competition Pluralization Solidarity 4.37 6. the number of poor people in Indonesia—i.8 Another notable example is the decrease in asset ownership among farmers—current data shows that only 30 percent of Indonesian farmers possess their own lands.00 or less—increased (200). The Civil Society Field The total score of de-monopolization in the field of civil society is 5.

00) and the poor state of basic public needs services (3. differences have become a perceived as a threat in public sphere. which has also reached remote areas in the country.11 in 2013. its poor performance in protecting inter-religion or inter-faith relations among citizens still remained in 2013. except for public tolerance.56) and “the influence of mass organizations on the public” indicator (6.57 in 2012 to 5. Currently. which received a score of 2. the presence of the many different kinds of . liberalization is not merely the presence of civil liberty from state intervention— it is also marked by the freedom of civil society groups to compete with one another. market domination is indicated by the control of public services such as health. Meanwhile. thus the low score in the related indicator (4. Other indicators under civil society liberalization gained better scores. According to the experts.WARDANI. Based on the responses of the experts. ARDIANSA. As it was pointed out in the explanation of the concept of demonopolization. clean water. a threat that the state has not been able to handle satisfactorily. Public service provision by private companies is in contradiction with the notion that the state has the obligation to provide for the basic needs of its citizens. This means that the state has partly failed to do its duty to protect its citizens. one of the subprinciples of civil society liberalization. The 2013 ADI survey found that all of the indicators under civil society competition. banking. RIDHA . all scored below 5. and many others.89) especially for vurnerable and minority groups (3. such as the “variety of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that work to advocate public needs” indicator (7.46 points from 5.44). the public even has to bear additional burden to acquire public services. and education by the private sector. Indeed.22). market domination in Indonesia is clearly getting stronger. This is evidenced by the state’s disregard for the destruction of places of worship and killings of members of religious minorities. The causative factors of this condition are the strong grip the market has on society or the relative weakness of the public against the the domination of market participants (an indicator under civil society autonomy. which can be attributed mainly to the apparently worsening condition of civil society autonomy. as the state has allowed non-state actors and religion-based groups to hinder the protection of the basic rights of vulnerable and minority groups. AND OTHERS 43 The score of civil society liberalization dropped 0.56). Despite the regime’s recognition of the diversity of Indonesian society and its claim that the constitution guarantees the existence of such diversity. landgrabbing of farmers’ land by palm oil businessmen.

e. it is not free from the control of market and the interests of the oligarchy. especially television. e. Even if the media is considered relatively objective in its coverage. bisexuals.. Meanwhile.30 points from its 2012 score. However the implementation of an electoral affirmative action policy for women has not been followed by the creation of laws to further transform gender power relations. Examples of active public participation is the public’s enthusiastic response to coverage of corruption cases or enviromental issues. .44 INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 NGOs reflects the diversity of issues and sectors represented by those organizations. gays. A positive signal in the area of access to information is the objectivity of media coverage. Civil society equalization dropped by 0. The only notable political achievement as regards affirmative action policy is the action for women groups—30 percent of the electoral candidates of a political party has to be women.. affirmative action has not been implemented for marginalized groups such as lesbians. senior citizens. and the availibility of affirmative action policy for marginalized groups (4. has somewhat lost what can be called its public character. Among the reasons given by the experts for this decrease is the decline in citizens’ capability in gaining access to resources. it has become the arena of competition among capital owners. cultural activities and facilities (4. though the score in the related indicator remains rather mediocre (5. The poor quality of equalization in civil society is perceived by the experts to be something that can be alleviated to a certain point.11). assistance given by the public to natural disaster victims.11).g. those whose interests are intertwined with those of the political party elite. this diversity has not been transformed into an asset for challenging the dominant ideology/school of thought that has threatened Indonesian mass plurality. due to their opinion that members of society have reacted positively to programs offered by NGOs or other mass organizations (an indicator receiving a score of 6. The poor quality of civil society equalization can also be attributed to limited access to information (an indicator that received a score of 3.00).33).67). As previously mentioned. the mass media. i. However.44). and the disabled. Also. and their charitable activities. and transgender individuals. Most of the experts noted that the inequality in getting information is evidenced by the very wide social gap and the unequal distribution of public facilities and infrastructure. the experts believe that the influence of NGOs/mass organization on government policymaking is still quite considerable (6.

economic equalization remains the noticeably lowest-scoring field in Indonesia (4. and civil society still demonstrated the poor status of overall de-monopolization in the country..30 of politics and 4. found relative success in its campaign for reform.27 in 2012) and the fact that the overall score in politics (5. as is marked by the following notable points. AND OTHERS 45 Conclusion: Threats to and Opportunities for Indonesian Democracy There has not been any significant change in the process of demonopolization in Indonesia. which later became a significant force in promoting alternative presidential candidates who were considered genuinely popular among the public and had no ties to previous cases of human rights violations and corruption or any other connection to the former authoritarian elite. it is widely accepted that the emergence of Joko Widodo as a presidential candidate in the 2014 election was due to the support of these voluntary groups and individuals. members of parliament.97 in 2013 from 5.90 in civil society). Indeed. Corruption became the unifying issue .g. the opinion of the experts on economic pluralization is still very low. liberalization in the political arena remains the highest among the field liberalization scores.23. especially in the process of political recruitment.48) remains much higher than the scores of the other two subprinciples (4. e. ARDIANSA. economy. while the overall equalization score is more or less stagnant. Ten years of Reformasi saw the emergence of a new common enemy for civil society. RIDHA . The slight increase in the score of economy is notable.49 for economy and 5. but this is mainly due to a betterment of economic solidarity. as opposed to the 5. The achievement of KPK in disclosing and investigating corruption cases involving high level public officials and political figures such as cabinet ministers.03 for civil society).WARDANI. helped in no small part by support from the mass media. Building up of voluntarism by civil society activists had boosted the emergence of voluntary groups. paving the way to the possibility of deepening democracy in Indonesia. as the civil society movement became more dynamic in 2013. and heads of local government steeled civil society to combat the waves of attacks against KPK from politicians in the legislature. In 2013. many principle/ subprinciple scores or score relations remain the same. as evidenced by the drop in overall score (4. The 2013 ADI formed by an aggregate of scores in the fields of politics. Overall. Pro-democracy civil society groups in 2013 attempted to establish an alternative force to balance the influence of the political elite oligarchy. As shown in the discussions above. the movement. it should also be noted that political participation had also become more substantial.

The fact that the economic condition is stagnant.org/cpi2013/results.go. risking massive resistance from the political elite. was able to unify the otherwise fragmented parts of Indonesia’s civil society. Even if liberalization and competition in politics is dynamic and resulted in some of the ADI scores within that field being higher. in 2013. 5. and the National Awakening Party (Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa or PKB). For more details on Asian Democracy Index terminology.go. especially in the field of politics. For details. are still widespread and any effort to fight against such practices has faced huge resistance from the elite circle. significant obstacles in achieving the above objective. with increasing inequality and level of poverty. worsened by conflicts on natural resources among the local people. Their common aim is quite obvious: to combat the control of the oligarchy in all of the ADI fields. and the continued domination of the few mega-rich on economic resources.bps.46 INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 among civil society groups in supporting KPK. For more details on these statistics. as a common enemy. which in turn has boosted the necessary awareness among civil society activists to fight against the oligarchy in the political and economic fields. In light of all this. It remains difficult for civil society to combat the oligarchs who monopolize the decisionmaking process and control public opinion through the ownership of mass media. corporations. Indonesia still struggles to further strengthen its political institutions and balance the influence of the oligarchic political elite in political decisionmaking processes. The public undoubtedly has the weakest leverage. only complicates the problem of monopoly.aspx.id/. Fortunately. The next feature is the widening gap of inequality. see Consortium for the Asian Democracy Index (2012) Prabowo Subianto was presidential candidate in the 2009 election. and the government. 2. as political awareness among common people is also rose. Wiranto was presidential candidate in the 2004 and 2009 elections. the National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional or PAN).transparency. the balancing power of civil society is still peripheral. 6. go to http://www. These six are Partai Demokrat. the Party of the Functional Groups (Partai Golongan Karya. The issue of corruption. Corruption and collusion practices. go to http://www. visit http://www. the United Development Party (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan or PPP). hope lies in the sphere of civil society.bi. Developments in 2013 saw civil activism becoming more political. 4. or Golkar). Hatta Radjasa is a prominent .id/en/statistik/perbankan/indonesia/Default. 3. For details. Notes 1. KPK can be said to have shown considerable bravery in arresting a political and personal confidant of the president allegedly involved in a major corruption case. PKS.

Nasional Democrat (Nasdem). is led by a media mogul and was once also supported by another big media owner. and 2009. ARDIANSA. Lastly. Jusuf Kalla was Yudhoyono’s vice president in the latter’s first term and presidential candidate in the 2009 election. “The Asian Democracy Index: A Guide. References Asian Development Bank.” Asian Democracy Review 1:36-87. 8.pdf. 2014. http://www. 2004. It is the only newly formed party allowed to compete in the 2014 election. Megawati was president in 2001-2004 and presidential candidate in elections of 1999. for more details.go.WARDANI. RIDHA . 2012. 47 minister in Yudhoyono’s current cabinet and leader of PAN.id/. 2013. Annual Report. Asian Development Bank Outlook 2014: Fiscal Policy for Inclusive Growth. AND OTHERS 7. Local political parties are only allowed in the province of Aceh.bps.gov/sites/default/files/resources/2013% 20USCIRF%20Annual%20Report%20(2). Mandaluyong City: Asian Development Bank.uscirf. visit http://www. Again. USCIRF (United States Commission on International Religious Freedom). a new political party. Consortium for the Asian Democracy Index. .

.

Bangi. Indeed. Malaysia. and welfare. Tan Seng Keat is Research Manager in Merdeka Centre. Selangor. as well as social issues like crime prevention. public discourse centered upon issues of political governance. It was also an opportunity to test electoral support for BN. the results suggested a mixed picture. throughout the year and especially during the 2013 election campaign. the ADI survey for 2013 was a humble attempt to gauge the quality of democratic governance in Malaysia. ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. This short paper begins by briefly describing the political-economic and social background of Malaysia in 2013. we then proceed to present our 2013 ADI survey results along with our conclusions. ____________________________________________________________ Andrew Aeria is Associate Professor at the Department of Politics and International Relations.2 The subsequent general election of 2013 (GE13) was therefore an opportunity for Prime Minister Abdul Najib Razak (who took over from former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2009) to showcase his leadership credentials. He failed on both counts. We then describe our ADI survey process and its limitations. the economy.A Long and Winding Road to Democracy: The 2013 Asian Democracy Index for Malaysia ANDREW AERIA. Coming on the heels of the first Asian Democracy Index (ADI) pilot survey in 2012. 2013 was a year of intense political ferment. which largely reflected that the development of democracy in all its multiple facets was going to be a long and winding road. 3 (2014): 49-64 ISSN 2244-5633 . Faculty of Social Sciences. and racial and religious issues. University Malaysia Sarawak. Undertaken in June 2013. public amenities. the Pakatan Rakyat (PR). Nevertheless. With those limitations as caveats. TAN SENG KEAT Introduction The Malaysian General Election of 2008 was a watershed election when the Barisan Nasional (BN)1 governing coalition under the leadership of then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi lost its hitherto overwhelming two-thirds parliamentary majority of nearly forty years to the newly cobbledtogether and loose opposition coalition.

wages. Unsurprisingly. Figure 1. A social barometer poll conducted by the respected Malaysian polling agency Merdeka Centre in December 2012 captured some of the key issues of concern of the Malaysian public as the country entered 2013. security of employment. was still recovering slowly from the global recession of 2008 and 2009. the business environment. Exports and incomes suffered greatly in 2008 and in subsequent years thereafter.6 percent (2012). among others. which affected the mood of the Malaysian electorate (Malaysia 2013). although resilient with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 5. retirement concerns. namely jobs. the Malaysian economy in early 2013 was weak.50 MALAYSIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Malaysia in 2013 The backdrop of our 2013 ADI survey was a weak albeit recovering economy and one of Malaysia’s most contested elections in its history. Malaysia has long been a major producer of primary and electronic goods and consequently was deeply affected by global economic uncertainties and the weak export environment in the United States of America and Europe (Malaysia 2012). Next on the list of social concerns was crime and social problems followed by political issues. This was because the country’s economy. It was these issues that formed the foundation of subsequent tussles between the political parties and civil society over the direction of the country in 2013. racial issues. At the top of the public list of concerns was the economy. investment. and the quality of leadership in the country (see figure 1). Issues of Concern to the Malaysian Public. 2013 Source: Merdeka Centre 2013a . social welfare.

79 percent of the popular vote in the 2008 general elections (Wikipedia 2015). Dr. In consequence. Instead. no doubt. Making GE13 even more significant and crucial was that BN coalition president and prime minister. Anwar Ibrahim who. he has never shied away from putting across his views. Mr. Significantly.AERIA AND TAN 51 The groundswell of support for change was very much in the air in the run-up to the 2013 General Election. Although Mr. the persistence of many long-serving elite politicians in all parties across the political spectrum.39 percent of the popular vote. he successfully persuaded UMNO to displace his successor Mr. . oligarchic control (Singh 2000) and nationalist strongman governance in pursuit of “development” (Loh and Khoo 2002)—hence. Abdullah Badawi had come to power promising political. Najib also promised further reforms. the backbone of the BN coalition government. acidly if necessary. Mahathir has continued to influence and even dictate the direction of policy within the ruling party and the country’s leadership. the years of the Mahathir government (1981-2003) transformed Malaysia into a pseudodemocracy with elite contestation (Khoo 1992. hoped to topple the BN coalition in 2013. the months leading up to GE13 were intense in terms of their political contestation given the dynamism of the opposition PR coalition led by former Deputy Prime Minister. Thus. Badawi and the BN in 2008. This lack of significant reforms ultimately was the undoing of Mr. winning only 140 seats (a net loss of fifty-eight parliamentary seats) and only 51. As well. the opposition PR was campaigning from a position of relative strength after winning eighty-two seats (a net increase of sixty-one parliamentary seats) and 47. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister in 2009. Khoo 1997). the reality was otherwise. authoritarianism (Rais 1995. If Malaysia was formerly seen as being mainly a consociational state with elite accommodation (von Vorys 1976. he backtracked further by avoiding difficult economic reforms and persecuted protestors demanding electoral reforms. The country saw deepening corruption and the erosion of political and democratic institutions. after the BN’s electoral debacle of 2008. And he was doing it from a position of weakness after the BN in the 2008 general election experienced its worst ever performance. Correspondingly. Mahathir Mohamad retired in 2003. much of which he also did not deliver. Milne 1977). although Dr. Case 2001). and social reforms. Najib Abdul Razak to become Prime Minister in April 2009. economic. Mr. he remained influential within UMNO. This paved the way for Mr. Abdul Najib Razak was leading his United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) and the BN coalition into elections for the first time.

Philippines calling themselves the “Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo” (dela Cruz 2013) engaged Malaysian security forces in Sabah state in March 2013 over what they claimed to be a reclamation of “ancestral territory” (Calica and Lee-Brago 2013) by the heirs of the Sulu Sultanate. power black-outs during vote-counting. PR did not win enough votes or parliamentary seats to form government or to even dent the authoritarian tendencies of the BN coalition. Adding to the heightened state of political ferment at that time was the military stand-off that occurred when over 200 militants from Sulu. These results only led to further large-scale demonstrations throughout the country by the opposition PR coalition (called Black-Out Demonstrations) to protest the theft of an election by BN via vote fraud. The handout strategy worked. use of defective indelible ink.6 percent) to the opposition PR coalition. they lost the popular vote (BN: 46. and issued numerous press statements demanding genuinely free and fair elections in the country.4 percent of the popular vote. conducted dialogues. Nevertheless. and malapportionment of electoral constituency boundaries. phantom votes. The BN federal coalition won a majority of parliamentary seats (133 seats) in Malaysia’s heavily gerrymandered and malapportioned electoral system that favored rural seats controlled by BN. the government resorted to generous financial handouts in February to poor individuals and households that cumulatively earned less than RM2000/ month and RM3000/month respectively.52 MALAYSIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Prior to the election in early May 2013. Their eight demands3 clearly had sustained public support when hundreds of thousands of ordinary Malaysians throughout the country turned out repeatedly to demonstrate their demand for free and fair elections in July 2011. many ordinary Malaysians remained convinced that the deadly conflict was rooted in decades of illegal immigration into Sabah state from South Philippines. BN also retained widespread support in the rural East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. BN managed to hold on to their support among low income voters—even slightly increasing it—to avoid defeat in the election (Merdeka Centre 2013b). Worried. and January 2013. which won eighty-nine seats and 50. April 2012. Discouragingly for many. GE13 was still perceived as a failure for Prime Minister Najib and his BN coalition as BN did not manage to reverse their 2008 loss of parliamentary seats in any significant way. a move that the opposition decried as electoral bribes. The Malaysian government had long been running a secret but systematic program of granting citizenship to foreign nationals in Sabah to bolster electoral . Although the Malaysian government regarded this intrusion as “an invasion” (Khor 2013). However. the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (BERSIH) held rallies.

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53

support for the ruling BN coalition in the state (Malaysiakini 2006).
Others regarded the conflict as being rooted in local politics gone wrong
(ibid.). Whatever the case, the end result was that there was both a
sense of heightened nationalism among government supporters and a
deep sense of cynicism, anger, and despair among those (especially
native/indigenous Sabahans) who thought that the intrusion was really
a consequence of policy blowback.
In addition, there was deep social frustration throughout the country
over the rising incidence of serious crime in the country. Malaysians were
shocked when the Deputy Director-General of Customs was shot dead by
an assassin in Putrajaya, the country’s administrative capital, while on his
way to work in late April. This incident, just before the general elections,
only heightened longstanding public concerns about wanton crime and the
inefficiency of the police force in the country. Such concerns were not
allayed when in late July, the founder of the Arab-Malaysian Banking Group
was shot dead and his wife injured by a hitman, while in late October, a
bank officer died after being shot in the face by that bank’s own security
guard who proceeded to rob the bank. A spate of three senseless killings
over three days in late October/early November—namely the abduction
of an fifteen-year-old girl who was found dead, stuffed in a suitcase;
the assassination of the Pahang State Religious Department’s Head of
Enforcement; and the murder of a Taiwanese tourist and the abduction
of his wife in Sabah—only added to the public perception of a crisis of
policing in the country.
Tragic developmental disasters, incidents of infrastructure collapse,
and the failure of various development projects during the year due to
negligence and corruption caused many fatalities and serious injuries.
Such incidents only added to existing social discontent. Public perception
of financial leakages and development project irregularities due to weak
government controls that allegedly involved politicians, public officials
and private contractors was entrenched when landslides repeatedly occurred
in urban residential areas, construction sites, and even rural highland valleys.
A stadium roof in Terengganu state collapsed for the second time, the
ramp of a major bridge in Penang collapsed, and a bridge in Terengganu
state was swept away by floods that hit four east coast states of Peninsular
Malaysia in December.
The emergence of various fascist/right-wing groups closely allied to
UMNO/BN like the race-based supremacist indigenous organization,
Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (PERKASA)4 and the ultraconservative religious-based Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA)5 that
exploited and inflamed ethnic and religious tendencies in support of the

54

MALAYSIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

BN government prior to the 2013 general election certainly contributed
toward further polarization of ethnic and religious communities in the
country Although such groups did succeed in rallying conservative
Malay-Muslim voters behind UMNO/BN during the elections, these
groups nonetheless contributed toward the BN losing significant support
among non-Malay and non-Muslim communities.
It was in this social context of deep public discontent that the Asian
Democracy Index 2013 survey was administered in Malaysia.
Asian Democracy Index 2013, Malaysia:
Scope, Problems and Limitations

The Asian Democracy Index survey was first introduced to Malaysia in
2012 when we conducted a pilot survey to evaluate the index instrument
that had been adapted from the one initially designed and administered in
Korea.6 After making some amendments to the index instrument, we
administered the index survey in June 2013.
As the ADI is an expert survey that targets the responses of professionals
and not a representative quantitative study, we drew up a pool of about one
hundred potential respondents throughout the country whom we felt
reflected the country’s ethnic-religious and regional profile—two main
political markers or ideological dividers of Malaysia. We sent out the
index instrument and followed up over the next two months. We finally
received responses from twenty-six of these one hundred respondents,
after two and a half months, by the end of August, a rather low response
rate. There were serious difficulties in getting professionals to respond.
They often articulated that they were too busy to spend time responding
to the “lengthy index which was time-consuming to complete.” Indeed, many
of these experts had to be persuaded via subsequent phone calls and emails to
participate as many were also conservative in wanting to keep their views to
themselves and worried about how the data would be deployed post-survey.
Of these experts who responded to our index survey, twenty-two
were men and five were women within the age range of 20-60 years.
While we tried hard to have a reasonable gender-balance, it would seem,
for reasons presently unknown, that the women we contacted for the
index survey were more hard-pressed for time to respond compared to
their male counterparts. Of these respondents, eleven were Chinese,
twelve were Malay, three were Indians and one was a non-Muslim
indigenous person. Of these professionals, six identified themselves as
pro-government Barisan Nasional supporters; sixteen identified themselves

AERIA AND TAN

55

as pro-opposition Pakatan Rakyat supporters; while the remaining five
persons identified themselves as independents without any party affiliation.
In terms of geographic location, six of these professionals were resident in
the state of Selangor; four in Penang; three in Kuala Lumpur and Perak; two
respectively in Johor, Negri Sembilan, Sarawak, and Kelantan; and one each
in Terengganu, Malacca, and Sabah making the spread of geographic
responses evenly distributed throughout the country.
With regard to the index instrument itself, there were limitations that
we were under no illusions about, which we acknowledged from the outset.
First and foremost, although the results were interesting, the fact remains
that the index survey was not representative of social reality in Malaysia.
Given its small sample size, it was impossible to be so. Nor was it intended to
be; we never set out to run the index survey to be representative since it
was designed to be an index that canvassed the views of a select number
of experts and professionals. Thus, the results allowed us to have a peek
into exploring the current state of opinion about democracy among
various professionals and experts in the country. As well, we found from
the outset that the gendered pattern of responses indicated that the results
were skewed toward having a male-dominated perspective. We also realized
that although the responses we got were indicative, they were merely
responses from the educated elites in Malaysian society. These elites,
many of whom are highly educated, middle or upper-middle class and
well-travelled certainly did not share the same understanding of democracy,
justice, ethnic tensions, et cetera as would have been understood by the
bulk of ordinary working-class people who have lower incomes and lower
educational achievements. Had these masses of working-class people been
surveyed, the results would have likely been significantly different since
elites/experts and normal/ordinary citizens do not share similar views or
ideologies on the political condition of Malaysia. Finally, as we administered
the index survey, we realized that the Malaysian respondents held different
meanings/connotations for terms such as “justice” or “fair” given their
varying religious, cultural, ethnic and language backgrounds. Similarly,
comprehension of certain terms like “affirmative action” carries significantly
different meanings among Malaysians (ethnically based) from that which is
generally employed in developed social-democratic countries (needs based).
With these caveats and disclosures, we now explore the post-GE
2013 views of Malaysian experts and professionals about the state of
democracy (i.e., the situation of monopoly control over politics, economics,
and civil society) in the country.

27).23 5.38 4.80 4.71 3. Since our index survey did not derive an index for 2012. Summary of Democracy Index Survey Values (2013) Principles Politics Category Economy Category Civil Society Category Index Values Autonomy 3. which indicated that there was little public choice in terms of political competition. which was .80). this index is the starting benchmark for all our subsequent Asian Democracy Index surveys in the years to come.10 4. The autonomy index value for the political liberalization category showed a low score (3.43 4.75 4.58 Aggregate Index Values: (L) and (E) only 3.73 Competition 3. That the competition index was also not much higher (3.74 5.67 6.27 4. the reality is that all these values are low.67) reflecting low individual and civil freedoms.41 Pluralization 3. Taking the broad view.00 3.21 Solidarity 4.87 3.93 3.56 MALAYSIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Overview of the 2013 Malaysian Asian Democracy Index The overall aggregate score for the index of democracy in Malaysia in 2013 was 4.09 4.08 (see table 1).08 (Overall) Liberalization Equalization Subprinciples It will be noted that the overall democracy index value of 4.27 3.10) and least so about civil society (4.21 4.95 Liberalization (L) 3. one sees from the values derived that the index survey respondents were most pessimistic about politics (3. 2013 was really a year in which a significant general election and vicious ongoing politics dominated all areas of public life in Malaysia.77 3. Yet.08 is a low score on a 0-10 scale. Reflecting these two values was that of political pluralization.75) followed by the economy (4. Table 1.82 4.57 Equalization (E) 3.26 2.05 3. In other words.16 4.

Similarly.71. larger incomes. this finding only reinforced the perspective that the economy was generally controlled by rich and politically well-connected elites. the relatively higher score of 6. the institutional character of the state and its ability to address this inequality was low as reflected in the low economic solidarity value of 3..g. it did suggest that there was public energy within the political system to challenge the entrenched disparity of power. Nevertheless. which gave them more resources and thus allowed them to perceive more freedom and independence . reflecting the depth of elite monopoly in the pattern of power relations in the country. What our respondent scores thus indicated was that Malaysia retained a very entrenched authoritarian political system in which power was highly concentrated in the hands of elites (political liberalization score: 3. it was unsurprising that the political equalization score was low (3. the value for political solidarity is relatively much better than that of the others in the same category (4. Hence. Within the economy category. Such a perception plainly showed that the monopoly of economic resources mirrored the monopoly of political power in the country with accompanying negative influences upon the overall quality of democracy.74).23. our economic pluralization index value of 2. many professionals perceived that the public still enjoyed a strong measure of freedom. among others.16.77). Seen as a whole. which likely reflected the perception of respondents having better education. an indicator of the dynamism of the country and the availability of substantial economic surplus given Malaysia’s status as a net exporter of valuable primary commodities (e.26).g. Accordingly. Interestingly. the economic sector had a comparatively better liberalization score of 5. Considering that politics and business overlap in Malaysia’s system of ersatz (Yoshihara 1988) and/or crony capitalism (Gomez and Jomo 1997).38 (which was the lowest recorded score of all field-specific index values) clearly indicated that economic resources in the country were tightly concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy elites and state enterprises (known as government-linked companies or GLCs).27). petroleum and oil palm) and manufactured goods (e. This was also somewhat reflected in the perception that much of the economic sector was not independent of government intervention and involvement. suggesting that political power was very unevenly distributed in the country with democratic institutions and processes heavily stymied or tightly controlled. and inherited wealth..AERIA AND TAN 57 the lowest in the category (3. as the economic competition index value is 4. electronics).09 (highest value obtained in the economy index) in economic autonomy suggested that despite high levels of economic monopoly.

the low economic equalization score of 3. Taking an individual view of the subprinciple of autonomy across all three categories of politics. Respondents thus regarded civil society as an unequal partner in society—civil society groups did not set the mainstream agenda. This . lacked information and influence (and also financial resources) relative to other political and economic actors. and civil society showed clearly that the Malaysian economy enjoyed relatively more independence from government interference and control than politics and civil society. All these new laws continue to stymie the growth and influence of civil society groups. Clearly. civil society was not free of numerous authoritarian regulations.73.00. they returned a weak score of 4. economics. This view was reflected in the civil society pluralization category. our respondents’ view of civil society in Malaysia was weak as well. suggesting that Malaysia lacked an autonomous civil society free of government or economic influences. giving it a very low score of 3. which supposedly replaced Section 27 of the Police Act. and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (2012) that supposedly replaced the odious Internal Security Act.05 suggested that the respondents perceived the economy to be woefully marginal to the majority but monopolized by elites with huge resources. Still. Their responses were likely due to the existence of numerous authoritarian laws like the Peaceful Assembly Act (2012). This was indicated by a weak civil society liberalization score of 4. limitations and disadvantages that civil society groups faced.82. the view remained a pessimistic one—the respondents did not think democracy in the country would develop in a vibrant or dynamic way since they did not regard civil society groups as faring well in the solidarity category. the respondents did not rate well the capacity of civil society groups to promote diversity. Yet. despite these low scores.58 MALAYSIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 of economic action in the country compared to members of the working classes. in line with their views on the economy and politics. Clearly. Accordingly. the respondents held a positive view that civil society had a crucial role to play in contributing toward democracy—the score of 5. given the various restrictions.93. Overall. social participation. often from a very disadvantaged position. the respondents also returned pessimistic scores about the future of democracy.21 for civil society competition category. For the civil society category.87. and improved governance. indicating that the Malaysian civil society sector was working against huge odds. this position of civil society weakness meant that the overall civil society equalisation score was very low at 3. But overall. which had a score of 4. awareness. When asked about civil society autonomy.

it was civil society that had emerged as the site of a self-reference system for democracy in the country (see figure 3). This is pictorially evident in figure 2. influence. the subprinciple of pluralization showed that it was really civil society that had the best distribution of power. resources. Economy. it was diffused into the civil society sector on account of the government’s strict control of the electoral system and its outcomes. the economic category was perceived to be the most unequal in terms of pluralisation (see figure 4). In other words. Instead of energies contributing toward a vibrant political sector by enhancing electoral competition between political parties. 2013 The individual view of the democratic subprinciple of competition across all three categories in the country showed that political competition was most established in civil society surpassing that of economics and strikingly even the political category. On the other hand. and Civil Society in Malaysia.AERIA AND TAN 59 was unsurprising since Malaysia has long been an economy that trades primary commodities and electronic manufactures on the global market while tightly restricting political activity and dissent. Relative Autonomy of Politics. This suggested that the political sector of the country was partly paralyzed. and information. In terms of distribution of power and resources across all three categories in the country. . Figure 2.

2013 As figure 5 shows. Relative Autonomy of Politics. . However. and Civil Society in Malaysia. Again. there was a sense that most people felt marginalized by the economy. Relative Pluralization of Politics. Economy. 2013 Figure 4. and Civil Society in Malaysia. it was also likely that part of the findings for economics here was skewed by a particular understanding of certain terms like “affirmative action” by all those polled. Economy. for the subprinciple of solidarity across all three categories in the country the politics category had the most active level of participation followed by civil society and then economics.60 MALAYSIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Figure 3.

what these scores suggested was that elite monopoly control over the politics and economics of the country was very significant and deep. and Civil Society in Malaysia. Figure 6. Economy. Relative Solidarity of Politics. and influence into something that was more liberalized and equalized. resources.58 while that of the former was only slightly better at 4. In other words.AERIA AND TAN 61 Figure 5. the core democratic principles of liberalisation and equalization indicated that the latter had a very low score of 3. the democratic fiber of Malaysia was perceived as being deeply stymied (see figure 6). 2013 When viewed across all categories. Overall Quality of Liberalization. 2013 . and Democracy in Malaysia.57. Put differently. This elite control therefore deeply impaired efforts to bring about a transformation of the inequality in the relations of power. rights. Equalization.

The governing Barisan Nasional (or National Front) coalition comprises thirteen national and regional political parties.my/. See their electoral manifesto for more information: https:// www. the economy remains monopolized by crony corporates close to the governing BN coalition. 2. All others were minor parties. and social reforms remain in the doldrums.barisannasional. the Malaysian Indian Congress. The problem of constituency malapportionment along rural-urban and ethnic lines also certainly helped the BN coalition remain in government. The opposition Pakatan Rakyat (or Peoples’ Alliance) comprises an uneasy coalition of three parties. BERSIH. political.62 MALAYSIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Conclusion Our 2012 index poll found that Malaysia was a country that was deeply authoritarian. Apparently. right-wing. the country is facing a long and winding road to democracy if it is to reach the Promised Land of a robust and functioning democracy. the failure of the electoral reform movement. 3. Since then.org. economic. legal. namely the multi-ethnic. Malaysia remains stagnant and political. In order to maintain their hold over government in Malaysia and especially to win GE13. ethnic-oriented. BERSIH’s eight demands were as follows: 1) a clean electoral roll. the country has not progressed democratically. 2) reform of the postal ballot. centre-right Parti Keadilan Rakyat. as well as its subsequent failure to even extract any subsequent commitment to serious electoral reform. showcases how difficult the road to democracy is in the country. 3) use of indelible ink. all of which were conservative.pakatanrakyat. and the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu. the Malaysian Chinese Association. and the conservative Islamist Parti Islam Se-Malaysia. despite the dynamic efforts of the country’s civil society organizations and opposition political parties in pursuit of electoral. Indeed. the ethnic-Chinese center-right Democratic Action Party. and the rule of law remains weak and pliable. The mainstay parties within BN in 2013 were the United Malay National Organisation.08. 4) a minimum election campaign period of . This is borne out by Malaysia’s low overall ADI score of 4.my/en. the governing BN coalition resorted to cynical methods of using electoral handouts and stoking ethnic and religious tensions to remain in government. See the National Front webpage for more information: http:// www. Elite control remains entrenched in politics. and economic reforms. little had changed since 2012. Indeed. Notes 1. It was dominated by a small but extremely powerful political and economic elite. to pressure the government to reform the Electoral Commission despite massive pressure exerted on the government via public demonstrations and internet media campaigns in the lead up to GE13.

2013. Further information is available on their webpage: http://www. Ethnicity and Changing Capitalism. 6. Patronage and Profits. Ethnicity and Class in Guyana and Malaysia.” http://www.1.malaysiakini.net/64577/heirs-of -sultan-of-sulu-pursue-sabah-claim-on-their-own. Economic and Financial Developments in the Malaysian Economy in the First Quarter of 2013. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.” In Laothamas.org/v4/phocadownload/Researches/poll% 20release%20dec%202012%20-%20voter%20issues. Vol. http:// www.bersih. 2012. Malaysia (Government of Malaysia). S. 5) strengthening of public institutions. Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) or the Malaysian Muslim Alliance is an ultraconservative Muslim organization that seeks to “develop and empower Islamic civilization in Malaysia on the basis of mutual justice” (Source: http://isma. 2013. 1977. http://www. 2006. The Malaysian Economy in Figures 2012.” Social and Economic Studies. 5. 2002. Edmund T. Surrey: Curzon. Richmond. 1997. Arlyn.pribumiperkasa.org/about-bersih-2-0/8-demands/. http://globalnation.” Paper presented at the UNIMAS 2nd International Elections and Democracy Conference 2013. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. 2013. 2013a. Jomo. No.my/en/the-malaysian-economy-in-figures-2012. Aurea and Pia Lee-Brago. Gomez. dela Cruz. 63 twenty-one days. Democratisation in Southeast and East Asia. Issues of Voter Concern. 1997. “Heirs of Sultan of Sulu Pursue Sabah Claim On Their Own.gov.S. December 28. 16 February. http://www. Francis Kok Wah and Khoo Boo Teik. ———. and K. PERKASA or the Malaysian Indigenous Empowerment Movement is a race-based supremacist organization that seeks to entrench indigenous but mainly Malay rights as per Article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.” Malaysiakini.org/Halaman_Utama/.26. “Sultan: Sabah is Our Home. and 8) an end to dirty politics.pdf.” Philippine Daily Inquirer. 2012.com/news/53046. “Special Report: Sabah’s Project M.” Journal of Democracy 12 (1): 43-57. Fragmented Vision: Culture and Politics in Contemporary Malaysia. Free and fair media access and coverage. “Malaysia’s Resilient Pseudodemocracy. 2001.com/headlines/2013/02/19/910499/sultan-sabahour-home. 18-37.” The Philippine Star. 27 June. 44-76. The Approach and Experience of Merdeka Centre in Political Polling in Malaysia. Khor Yu Leng.my/files/publication/qb/2013/Q1/p1.merdeka. “Getting it Right. .” In Kahn. Democracy in Malaysia: Discourses and Practices. Merdeka Centre. Kota Samarahan.” ISEAS Perspective no.philstar. Loh.bnm. 46-76.my/org/? page_id=20). See more at: http://www. 7 November 2013. Malaysiakini.pdf. 19 February. 6) an end of electoral corruption. R. “Politics. Malaysia’s Political Economy: Politics. Case. Joel and Francis Loh editors. 81-122. Milne. William.inquirer.AERIA AND TAN 4. 2013b.gov. Retrieved from http://www. Khoo Boo Teik. pp. “The Sabah-Sulu Crisis Threatens the Palm Oil Supply-Chain. 1992. References Calica.epu. 2013. Anek editor. “Peninsular Malaysia Voter Survey. Khoo Kay Jin. “The Grand Vision: Mahathir and Modernisation. 12. The results of this pilot index survey was reported in Aeria and Tan 2013. “Democracy and Authoritarianism in Malaysia since 1957: Class. ———.

2008._2008. The Free Encyclopedia.” Government and Opposition 35(4): 520-546. Karl. Democracy without Consensus.wikipedia. Wikipedia. http://en. Freedom under Executive Power in Malaysia: A Study of Executive Supremacy.org/wiki/Malaysian_general_election.” Wikipedia. “Malaysian General Election. 1976. 2000. 1995. von Vorys. 2015. Hari. Singh. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. Kuala Lumpur: Endowment. “Democratization or Oligarchic Restructuring? The Politics of Reform in Malaysia. .64 MALAYSIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Rais Yatim.

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However. In this paper. and social influence or. Rather. we argue that Thai democracy is no longer a game of elites. this does not mean that Thailand has become a consolidated democracy characterized by the process of pluralization. especially those from rural areas. Faculty of Political Science.The Polarization of Thai Democracy: The Asian Democracy Index in Thailand NARUEMON THABCHUMPON. Chulalongkorn University. Faculty of Political Science. the influential small groups that still hold power within Thai society have tried to maintain and strengthen their political regime by excluding the majority from actively getting involved in the democratization process. Chulalongkorn University. WEERA WONGSATJACHOCK Introduction In recent years. This has created a series of country-wide conflicts that characterizes the present situation of Thai society. but that to a certain but significant extent laypeople have become involved in different spheres to assert their political. Carl Middleton is Lecturer at the Master of Arts Program in International Development Studies. explanation of Thailand’s democratization has been subject to intense debate. Some political experts say that Thai politics is monopolized by a few groups of political elites (see for example Thitinan 2014). JAKKRIT SANGKHAMANEE. Weera Wongsatjachock is Research Fellow at the Faculty of Political Science. ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. Others have argued that various politically influential movements exist in Thailand. ____________________________________________________________ Naruemon Thabchumpon is Program Director of Master of Arts in International Development Studies and Assistant Professor at the Department of Government. Jakkrit Sangkhamanee is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. economic. CARL MIDDLETON. including those that support elections and that oppose corruption. This binary opposition between the urban elites and middle class people on the one hand and the rural majority on the other has led the country’s democratic transformation into a situation that we describe as polarization. Chulalongkorn University. acted to de-monopolize power. Faculty of Political Science. through the lens of Cho (2012). 3 (2014): 65-87 ISSN 2244-5633 . Chulalongkorn University.

we provide a brief background of Thai democracy with a focus on the period from September 2013 to January 2014. Brief Background of Thai Democracy from 2013 to Early 2014 The Thai political system at present operates within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. when the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra was overthrown by the military group known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). In the final section. Following the dispelling in November 2012 of the Pitak Siam’s rally. whereby the prime minister is the head of government and a hereditary monarch is head of state. there are also movements of people that have struggled to shape the political. another wave of street protests led by the People Democratic Reform Committee or PDRC emerged. At the same time. We then discuss our research method and assessment. we provide some reflexive conclusions and recommendations for the development of Thai democratization through the lens of de-monopolization. Thailand has a political history of long periods of authoritarianism alternating with periods of “semi-democratic” government (Naruemon 2012). and social transformations and withstand the old regime of powers in different ways. In the next section. . an ultra-nationalist and illiberal demonstration led by General Boonlert Keawprasit. which is the period during which our survey took place. The third section of this paper presents the findings of the survey. with Thai citizens witnessing changes of government and eighteen written constitutions after the abolition of absolute monarchy. The PDRC movement later evolved to seek to overthrow the Yingluck government. and tarnished by intensifying conflicts caused both by political division and economic problems. Since the installation of the first representative government in 1932. economic. organized according to the fields of politics. To elaborate our argument based on our survey of key experts. The most recent coup was in May 2014. Thai democracy and Thai politics was characterized in particular by regular street protests. the military has interrupted the constitutional order more than twenty times. initially opposing an unpopular blanket amnesty bill in October 2013 put forward by the Yingluck government. In 2013. economy. and mention some of the difficulties we encountered during the conduct of our survey.66 THAI COUNTRY REPORT Our Asian Democracy Index (ADI) survey data indicates that within this polarization. there still remain well-established and exclusive political and economic groupings that manage to maintain power within Thai society. our paper is divided into four parts. and civil society.

In terms of Thailand’s democracy. the Thai economy in 2013 experienced both a rising cost of living and tumbling prices of agricultural products resulting in street protests by agricultural workers. Thus. the country was struggling with high debt levels. A total of twenty-seven expert interviews were conducted. together with three pilot interviews. JAKKRIT.NARUEMON. the Yingluck government dissolved the House of Representatives and called a snap general election. in the face of entrenched street protests by the PDRC and after all 153 opposition Democrat Party ministers of parliament (MPs) resigned from office. According to Somchai (2012). AND WEERA 67 resulting in a protracted seven month protest that arguably paved the way for the May 2014 coup d’état. Thailand’s bureaucracy has never entirely submitted to the instructions of elected parliament but instead co-exists side by side with elected politicians and economic elites. the oligarchic structure of Thai politics and economy has in essence remained in place. Each key informant was categorized according to two criteria: . The snap election on 2 February 2014. the political uncertainty exacerbated the downward economic cycle. and consumer confidence was at its lowest point in nearly two years during the period of 2011-2012 (see more details in Somchai 2012). MIDDLETON. Diamond 2014). The military intervened in response to the political conflicts and institutional deficit of representative democracy in Thailand. On 9 December 2013. Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that thirty-seven countries had issued travel advisories for Thailand and that tourist groups were cancelling reservations. Meanwhile. Research Method and Assessment Data Collection This paper’s data was collected through face-to-face interviews using the structured ADI questionnaires. such as rubber plantation workers in the South of Thailand. however. was later terminated by the Constitutional Courts. on top of the political crises and apparent social divisions. Most scholars argue that it is essential to solve democratic recession and to increase democratic culture for pluralist society in Thailand (for example. especially for the tourism industry.

Others said that this tool reflected only the individual's attitude to choose a number. social transformation. Consequently. . The left are people who hold up the idea of Thailand as a part of global cosmopolitanism. or who cannot fully describe themselves as strictly being within either wing.68 THAI COUNTRY REPORT 1) By specific duty. classified according to their positioning within Thailand’s recent political conflict. the data and findings of our research reflect the attitudes and opinion of experts who hold important roles in the Thai political system at a critical juncture of democracy in Thailand. Half of the interviewees indicated difficulty in placing their answers as quantitative values along a scale of zero to ten to reflect their opinion on indicators of Thai democratization. and academics in politics. Since the survey was completed. The research team experienced several difficulties during the interview. sociology. In other words. and have no confidence in elected politicians and the election at large. have a free-market orientation. support royal and elitist privileges. and economic equality. The right are people who hold conservative ideas such as national pride and the uniqueness of being Thai. promote civil rights. namely: politicians and leaders of political movements. The survey data was collected between September 2013 and January 2014. practitioners in civil society organizations. economics. Survey Limitations The research process involved not only administering the quantitative aspects of the ADI questionnaires. and that different experts held different levels of attitude. and moderate. 2) By their political ideology. left. but also qualitative aspects. Some experts said that each degree from zero to ten had different meanings. there could be inconsistency in the data between experts that might not reveal a real degree of measurement. Moderates are people who stand between the positions of the left and right. namely right. which look into the expert’s perception. support state subsidization and social welfare (especially for the poor). which are summarized below. and reflections on the political situation in Thailand and the research method itself. comments. et cetera. the political situation in Thailand was confronted by a deepening political conflict. and see elections as a mean to express their political will and engage with the political regime. as discussed in the preceding section.

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69

In addition, most key informants stated that the Asian Democracy
Index cannot itself prove the presence or absence of democracy. This is
due to the fact that the ADI can only reflect a trend of political development, but cannot be taken to imply the actual absolute state of the political
system. Even if some ADI indicators receive a low score, it does not
necessarily mean that the country is not a democracy. Rather, it reflects a
low degree of democratic process.
Some respondents also critiqued the questions themselves, stating
that some questions embodied complexities that could not be reflected
numerically. For example, the question regarding freedom of the media in
Thailand was flagged as being complex, as the respondent was required to
consider which topic the media is covering; in general, a participant might
be inclined to choose, say, a score or seven or eight, yet for a particular
topic, e.g., reporting on the real circumstance of issues related to the
monarchy, the number might be closer to one or two.
In the case of some questions regarding the autonomy of civil society,
and questions about the pluralization of the economy, some experts were
confused because the numerical score did not seem compatible with other
questions that required a high number to indicate a democratic condition
and low number to reflect an illiberal one; The problem was that those
questions took a high number as reflective of a condition of monopoly and
a low number of a condition of equality. Based on this observation, it was
encouraged that the reliability of the questionnaire be carefully considered.
Finally, some participants stated that it was hard to understand questions
about the government's support because the government did not really
help people who were owed entitlements by right. Rather, support is provided through the “mercy” of elected politicians, who act to give something back to their local constituencies. Thus, as a consequence of political
patronage, several social policies and forms of welfare are more accurately
described as gifts given after the election rather than an actual intervention by the government.
After considering all of difficulties carefully, the research team
addressed these problems by clarifying several questions into a simple
scale that the participants were comfortable to indicate a mark in response
to. If the interviewee was unable to pick a numerical degree, the researcher
instead received their comments and opinions instead.

70

THAI COUNTRY REPORT

Research Findings
The Thai Political Field

According to Berja (2013), democratization as a process of “demonopolization” can be assessed through evaluating three themes: redistribution of power and resources; a political system as rational formation;
and the dynamics of political institutions. The political situation and democracy in Thailand from 2013 to early 2014 faced a critical juncture. In
this paper, we evaluate the Thai political field according to the four ADI
subprinciples, namely autonomy, competition, pluralization, and solidarity
(see table 1).
Table 1. Thai Politics Index
Autonomy

5.85

Competition

4.82

Pluralization

4.25

Solidarity

4.32

Average

4.81

Amongst the political principles, the measure of autonomy is highest.
However, as the score is only 5.83, it appears to reflect that there is a perception among the experts of moderation regarding the liberty of people
and political groups. In other words, the experts generally believe that
people are only partially protected from state violations and manipulation.
Amongst the subprinciples, the highest scores that contributed toward the political autonomy score are those for the indicators concerning
the permissibility of political opposition in the country. Within the Thai
political situation in 2013, there were a lot of emerging political groups
established as anti-government groups, not only in parliament but also
outside of the formal government system. Although many groups had

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71

their own direction and strategy to oppose the government, they moved in
general under the banner of the PDRC movement, which was also had
informal links to the Democrat party.
On the other hand, the lowest score under autonomy is for the indicator concerning civil rights, implying that there are threats to political
freedoms in Thailand, including threats to freedom of expression and
freedom to protest. The Thai government in 2013 and early 2014 did not
readily open space for the anti-government groups, as reflected by the fact
that it has been enforcing the Internal Security Act since October 2013.
The law was criticized for limiting civil rights and for not being compatible with the principles of modern democracy, where civil rights should be
protected as a priority.
Regarding political competition, the overall score was 4.82, which is
quite low. This suggests that political power belongs to only a few people
or groups. The data reflects a claim by anti-government people and political
groups that the government and parliament was a “the tyranny of majority.”
These groups claimed that elected politicians from the Pheu Thai (PT)
party who won the last election did so through “pork barrel” politics.
These PT MPs then used the power of majority that they won in parliament
to clean their records by approving the Amnesty Bill, which was the starting
point of the anti-government movement in 2013.
As regards the indicators under political competition, the highest
score was given for the presence of non-elected hereditary power. This
reflects the monopolized political power of the minority of non-elected
politicians such as Privy Council, the military, and conservative nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). These groups are referred to by the
Red Shirt movement, which supports the PT government, as ammat
(elites). These non-elected powers try to balance Thailand’s electoral political system—which they claim is manipulated—in the name of the
“good man” rather than the elected one. The unelected authorities control
over politics, economic, and social spaces is in line with Alfred Stepan’s
description of the “new professionalism” of the military, i.e., their role in
maintaining internal security and national development (2001, 23-28).
The lowest indicator score in the competition subprinciple is for
transparency. This is reflective of the general view of our key informants
toward the government’s actions and decisionmaking in policy processes.
Some of those interviewed said that there is a lot of corruption in policymaking and the implementation of the PT government. For example, the
government has been criticized for its rice pledging scheme, which was a
pricing policy that set the domestic price of paddy rice at more than 30-50

which include elected politicians and non-elected elites. 2013). and the scheme itself has been accused of being an avenue for corruption (Einhorn. and some members of the public have been actively involved in antigovernment protests via the PDRC movement. which means that there is still confrontational politics between the government and the counter-government movements. This means that according to our informants. non-elected elites have used extraordinary politics to topple the elected government. the score is still lower than 5. saying that such movements took an anti-election position instead. However.25. On the other hand. The rice pledging scheme reduced Thailand’s rice exports. subsidized by the government. The data also thus indicates that decentralization and balance of power among a diversity of groups is not sustained in the Thai political system. which is the lowest among the four subprinciples. The public has indeed been able to follow the PT government’s action via the media. some experts said that the anti-government movements did not really take an anti-corruption or anti-tyranny of the majority stance. elected politicians implemented populist policies (such as the one tablet per child and tax reduction for first cars) that were targeted at the white-collar public. Thailand was previously the world’s largest rice exporter. The government spent more than THB 200 billion to support the scheme. These conflicts that reflect the interest of just a few groups competing against each other—and that mobilize large groups of .72 THAI COUNTRY REPORT percent above the international market value. but in 2013-2014 India and Vietnam exported larger quantities of rice. On the one hand. This indicator score suggests that Thailand’s political institutions can be held accountable and criticized by the public over controversial issues and national agenda. Political pluralization scored 4. The highest score among pluralization’s indicators is that of the democratization of state institutions. However. political power has been monopolized by a few groups on both political sides. including supporting the PDRC movement to oppose new elections and the voice of the voting majority. whilst at the same time trying to pass an Amnesty Bill that would apply to the past political actions of all politicians and activists equally. It indicates that experts think that Thailand’s political organizations do not have diversity and that power is monopolized by central political institutions. The lowest-scoring indicator under political pluralization was independence of and the checks and balances among the state’s apparatuses of power. Recent events reveal that the general public cannot easily hold decisionmakers accountable for their actions.

the Yingluck government proposed to establish a fund to develop women totaling THB 100 million per province.32 average score of that subprinciple suggests a deficit of political unity in Thai politics. In conclusion. or a natural disaster. For instance. The arguments of these experts are reflective of the discourses that have emerged around the May 2014 coup in Thailand. when Yingluck. especially the military. Some experts stated that Thais still do not believe in the democratic parliamentary process as a means toward solving political problems. However. our experts suggested that Thai people thought that elected politicians cannot solve the problems arising from such situations. as regards political solidarity. her government promoted “The National Fund for Women Development”. but that they can change their position during extraordinary times. the 4. The lowest score under political solidarity is for affirmative action.NARUEMON. Some of the interviewed experts stated that Thai people looked toward democracy only during ordinary times. Thailand’s 2007 Constitution contains many sections that could support marginalized and indigenous people. For example. AND WEERA 73 people—leave other members of the public forced to choose between elected politicians accused of corruption and non-elected elites that undermine their basic civil rights. JAKKRIT. Even though political autonomy obtained a .” implying that these protestors did not trust either the elected politicians or the voices of majority who live in the rural areas. MIDDLETON. thus the public calls upon non-elected institutions. it can be said that Thailand’s political system is built on the fragile foundations of democracy. the first female prime minister of Thailand. which is lower than 4. regarding the four ADI subprinciples in the political field. came into power. including their right to suffrage. During these periods. In fact. Finally. They said that Thai democracy cannot be consolidated because many people want to solve political conflicts through extraordinary measures. Although the highest scores under political solidarity were for the indicators concerning public credibility of a democratic institutions and the public attitude towards democratic participation. but there are not yet organic laws to transform these constitutional provisions into actionable public policy. to help them. this policy was criticized by some as populist. these scores were still lower than 5. This indicates that the experts generally think that the government cannot ensure entitlements for marginalized people. thus democracy is not the only game in town in Thailand. an anti-government political movement blocked the snap elections held on 2 February 2014 under the banner “Reform before Election. such as during an economic crisis. a political deadlock.

Thailand was “upgraded” by the World Bank from a lower-middle income economy to an uppermiddle income one in 2011. Although the discourse of the necessity of “economic reform”—e. Thailand has faced increasing competition from lower income countries. in the form of taxation reform and better income distribution—has been discussed by economists for a while (such as those in the Thailand Development Research Institute. thus resulting in the slowdown of its economic growth over the past decade. Thailand has tried unsuccessfully to date to move toward knowledge-based and innovation-based products. pluralization. In the rest of this section.g. Thailand’s export-led development strategy based on cheap labor. To progress beyond the existing laborintensive production and export-orientated development model. sustained economic growth and political stability would allow people to benefit from market opportunities. From an economic perspective. and solidarity in the economic field for Thailand in 2013 are discussed in detail (see table 2).. such as Pasuk (2013) and Somchai (2012). competition. no concrete policy or practice has been adopted based on the statements of these economic reform advocates. The Thai Economic Field Although Thailand’s political situation in the period covered can be characterized as a critical stage of democracy. have argued that Thailand is caught in a “middle income trap. . cited in Parista 2011). pluralization. and a supportive state brought about a generally impressive growth performance despite the severe crisis that hit the economy in 1997. Many scholars.74 THAI COUNTRY REPORT score above 5. foreign direct investment in light industry. the increase in revenue allows the government to provide better public goods. and solidarity) still scored lower than 5. the other three subprinciples (competition. As a result.” According to Pasuk and Pornthep (2013). in theory. Economic inequality has been considered as a key obstacle to Thailand’s moves toward improving the Thai people’s livelihood and standard of living. since. yet has been unable to raise its per capita income to that of a high income country. Thailand’s economy in the same period maintained its path toward economic liberalization (NESDB 2013). the ADI subprinciples of autonomy.

AND WEERA 75 Table 2.65 Average 4. The survey score for this subprinciple is . the minimum wage is set almost solely by a few employers and government officers. JAKKRIT. The process of determining the minimum wage nevertheless is limited to only a small group of employers.NARUEMON. This subprinciple contemplates economic freedom from state interference. who spoke positively of the “300 baht minimum wage.32 We start with economic autonomy. government officials. and corporate responsibility.49 Competition 4. fairness in the economy. The aggregate score for economic autonomy is 4. and the autonomy of economic policies from external forces.” which has helped improve labor conditions and reduce wage inequality. even though such benefits are limited to the formal sector.69 Pluralization 3. In other words. as well as for local positions in different local government levels. Thai Economy Index Autonomy 4. Problems associated with the low economic autonomy score are exacerbated in Thailand by the evolution of local power structures (made up of local influential businessmen and the bureaucracy) shaped by the context of the new two-party national political system. MIDDLETON. and workers who are indirectly elected through labor organizations. By sending their family members or their friends to run as MPs. within which influential individuals seek to retain their wealth and power. the protection of labor rights. We move on now to economic competition. which contemplates economic transparency. the protection of labor rights is favorably evaluated by our informants. there has been a consolidation of power and wealth in local politics that undermines fair competition both in political and economic activities (Pasuk and Phornthep 2013). which indicates the existence of oligarchic politics and the intervention of the state in economic policies. government responsibility.45 Solidarity 4. Within private enterprises.49.

This is because. and the duty to return profits to the government..g. not yet instigated a process of institutional reforms that would pave the way for a more sustainable egalitarian and democratic society. including a new center of power led by the Shinawatra family. which is the lowest among all the economic subprinciple scores. e. regional disparity. the cases of the PTT Public Limited Company and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand) but that also owns many affiliate organizations that are legally defined as private enterprises. partial privatizations that created semi-public semi-private organizations where the parent company has the status of public enterprise (e. A bureaucratic polity linked to the power of the military was established since the 1930s and continued for over fifty years. and includes measures of economic monopoly. the 1997 Constitution allowed new forces to emerge. which focused on populist and shortterm policies. which has led to economic . such as investment incentives and exemptions from the Finance Ministry’s rules and regulations on executives’ salaries. there are some monopolized business groups that have a close connection with the government and that link major power networks together to form an oligarchy. In terms of economic transparency and government/corporate responsibility. This subprinciple is concerned with the fair distribution of economic resources. however.. This new form of electoral democracy has. This includes business networks that can influence the direction of Thailand’s energy policies. the aggregate score of economic pluralization is 3. This type of company enjoys the privileges of a state enterprise that are provided by law as well as many of the advantages of a private enterprise. asset disparity. income equality. and employment equality. Although Thailand has a market-oriented economic system. Despite being considered an upper-middle income country and an overall improving standard of living. in the eyes of our informants. net profit allocations.g. Let us now focus on economic pluralization. However. who hold on to power both in political institutions and economic organizations.45. it still faces the problem of economic monopoly resulting in economic inequality that disrupts economic growth and increases political instability.76 THAI COUNTRY REPORT 4. decisionmaking power is centralized and monopolized by a few elites. which is higher than the score for economic autonomy but is still lower than 5. The reasons for this relatively low score include inequality of education for preparing workers for the market and economic monopolization in the telecommunications and energy sectors. Based on our survey data. disparity of income between the poor and the rich remains substantial in Thailand.69.

the state’s policy of a 300-baht minimum wage across the country has helped improve peoples’ livelihood and has reduced economic inequality. while the Gini coefficient of household income has increased steeply and is getting worse over the past two decades. According to Pasuk Pongpaichit and Pornthep Benjaapikul (2013). corporate surveillance and awareness of inequality alleviation. As mentioned in the assessment of economic autonomy. and education. many economists and political scholars have started to investigate the problem of inequality in income. has decreased the ratio of labor’s cost (minimum wage) to output in many sectors. contributing to political conflicts and social division over the last ten years. . has improved very little. labor unions activities. more than 90 percent of Thai citizens are covered by a healthcare scheme. This subprinciple includes social security systems. Regarding trade unions in Thailand. most workers in the country are factory-based rather than industry-based. which means that there is moderate support for social welfare and social security from the government. including the 300-baht minimum wage—no real solutions or practical projects have been implemented to tackle these serious problems. let us tackle economic solidarity. inequality in Thailand.7 million people. However. Due to a slow economic growth-cum-recession and political conflicts over the past ten years. another 4. MIDDLETON. according to Phonthep and Pokpong (2013). The aggregate economic solidarity score is 4.9 million employed workers in the formal sector are covered under the social security system. According to the National Health Security Office (NHSO 2012.65. Still. 21). Despite some initiatives— again. it is limited only to Thai citizens with identification cards. The weak bargaining power of labor. it should be noted that the “Universal” Health Care scheme does not cover migrant workers.9 million civil servants and state enterprise workers are covered under separate health and pension schemes provided by the government. While the Universal Health Care scheme—also known as the 30 baht healthcare scheme—provides coverage for 47. 14-20). which weakens the bargaining power of industrial workers. The extension of the national health coverage scheme has also helped in improving the living condition of Thais. the growing awareness and concern over high income inequality and the persistence of social and economic hierarchies are increasingly discussed. JAKKRIT. Lastly.NARUEMON. as measured by the Gini coefficient of household consumption expenditure. which may develop to include a pension scheme in the future (NHSO 2012. AND WEERA 77 and social inequalities. wages. and around 9.

Rapid economic development has led the Thai government to focus on sustaining and expanding the country’s industrialization processes. helped create the social conditions wherein the process of demonopolization can be initiated and strengthened at the truly grassroots level (Pasuk 1999. most people agree that the new model should incorporate social concerns. some scholars also see that the proliferation of civil society to have. Although Thailand is now thought of as an upper-middle income economy. wages. the ADI survey data shows that a small number of privileged groups enjoy disproportionate access to power and are the principle beneficiaries of the country’s economic development. Successive governments have turned rural agriculture from a largely self-sufficient sector into a manufacturing sector under an export-oriented policy. public expression and the involvement of active citizens in many social and political issues. electricity-generating plants. Although there is no consensus on any solution. where natural resources are abundant and could be employed in supporting growing industries (Fahn 2003). to a certain extent. Over the past five decades. education. has been part of the changing political atmosphere that allows greater freedom of expression and resistance to unjust policies. the nationwide social movements. the emergence and the active role of civil society— ranging from the increasing number of NGOs.78 THAI COUNTRY REPORT In sum. social provisions) and more democratic participation in the economic sphere. in turn. which has previously been characterized as being defined by oligarchic politics or rule by the few. The Thai Civil Society Field For the past few decades. fair distribution (of income. State-financed infrastructure and mega-projects have been extensively implemented in rural Thailand. the Thai political system. Statefinanced projects like dams. industrial estates. There is a growing agreement that the country can no longer rely on its current model of economic development and there is an emerging debate on what should replace this model. the country’s economic policies have continually been driven by faith in economic trickle-down policies. has clearly impacted the country’s economic activities. Ukrist 2001). superhighways. as well as the use of social media in spreading a wide range of information and criticism of authorities—have been pivotal to Thailand’s democratization. While the rise of civil society. and deep-sea ports have been flourishing throughout .

who generally think that civil society can be a leading force in fostering de-monopolization in the country.92 Pluralization 5. there are also some limitations and skepticism toward civil society’s role in the democratization process. JAKKRIT.57 Average 4. and emerging rural aspirations (see Jakkrit 2013 and Walker 2012).NARUEMON. AND WEERA 79 the rural regions. Thailand’s civil society index is ranked the highest in terms of overall average de-monopolization score. basic human and community rights have been violated and villagers’ access to natural resources has been obstructed by the state’s top-down regulation and controls (Missingham 2003). It can be said that there is some optimism among our informants. With the rise of NGOs working in development-related fields. representative democracy has been perceived by many development-affected people as insufficient in guaranteeing their rights. Amidst these conflicts. Table 3. thus helping them to create fairer deals with the aforementioned public and private entities. livelihood security. there are some who hope that civil society can open up greater public space and better allow the voices of the marginalized to be heard. its . However. MIDDLETON.79 Competition 4.83 As can be gleaned from table 3.06 Solidarity 4. Thai Civil Society Index Autonomy 4. when examined vis-à-vis the scores in the other ADI fields. Even though civil society ranked the highest among the three field-specific sets of subprinciples. Such economic aggrandizement has created waves of tensions between the state and private companies on the one hand and local people on the other. In many cases. while private companies have also encroached agricultural lands and forests for the expansion of their industrial production capacities.

Civil society competition obtained a score of 4. Under autonomy. When looking closely at how our key experts perceived the status and roles of civil society in terms of the ADI subprinciples. the freedom of citizens to organize social activities. and the provision of basic needs for most Thais. It is interesting to point out that both pluralization and solidarity are subprinciples of the ADI principle called equalization. and their fellow citizens. With this kind of state-businessNGO entanglement. sometimes it is difficult to clearly identify the scope. with some business conglomerates. civil society received a medium-ranked evaluation in comparison to those of the political and economic fields. This paradox is important as. which will in turn strengthen the role and autonomy of civil society in fostering the de-monopolization process. some of the experts commented that the autonomy of civil society is still very much based on the freedom granted by the government. On a more critical note. The most important achievements within civil society in Thailand are perceived to be tolerance toward social and cultural differences.83. corporations. the success of several NGOs’ advocacy depends very much on the interpersonal relationships between these organizations’ leaders and key policymakers within bureaucratic circles and. In other words.92. especially in terms of its capacity to work toward de-monopolization. to a certain extent. there are some paradoxical attributes in the process of creating equality within civil society. it reflects the strengths and limitations of Thai civil society.80 THAI COUNTRY REPORT average score is still low at 4. they can then engage more with public interest issues and form networks of concerned citizens.79. civil society pluralization ranked the highest.06. though the score it received. with a score of 5. is still quite low. We will elaborate on this issue when we highlight and analyze some of the challenging attributes within each subprinciple of civil society. and autonomy of civil society in Thailand. to certain extent. In addition. while the lowest is that of civil society solidarity at 4. NGOs in Thailand have been actively working on many development issues such as environmental protection. which is higher than the competition scores in politics and economy. That is to say that civil society in itself has been experiencing several challenges that emerged both within and from outside the circle of civil society. 4.57. status. This is not to mention the emergence of many NGOs that are social enterprises. These three attributes are essential in allowing members of Thai society to express their identity and ideology without interference from the state. Our experts suggested that when the citizens’ basic needs are sufficiently met. human and community’s . This might be a result of the influence and observable impacts that NGOs have had on society. working partly in accordance with business logic.

06 average score in the indicator contemplating these roles and activities—some NGOs prefer to limit their role to advocacy. Thus. There is also a lot of self-censorship and intervention from powerful figures in media circles. . News reporters and journalists were described by some of our experts as being one-sided. some of our experts commented that such advocacies were mostly based on the initiatives of funding agencies rather than representing real public interests. obtaining a score of 4. In addition. the lack of solidarity in this field is hampering civil society from acting as a “fostering field” in the de-monopolization/ democratization process.62). the average score given to the indicators on the public good and transparency of NGOs is quite low (4. competition among NGOs has led to another dilemma—the lack of solidarity among civil society organizations working on similar social issues. and inconsiderate when presenting the news. and energy and resource management. During the past few decades. Based on our survey data. this plurality has also led to competition among NGOs and other social groups working on similar fields and issues. these NGOs have found themselves trapped in development aids competition. or have at least raised awareness about these issues among the general public. This is probably the most challenging factor. However. JAKKRIT. lacking ethics. We will detail this dilemma later. The competition and. Many NGOs working on these issues have been successful in inserting their concerns and agenda into the official policymaking process. tension also led some of these NGOs to claim people and areas as their “territory. Because most of Thai NGOs rely so much on outside financial support. civil society pluralization is the most “successful” subprinciple in the civil society field. even though the roles and activities of NGOs in Thailand have recently diversified— as reflected by the 5. ethnic and women empowerment.NARUEMON. and because they have focused mainly on advocacy and research rather than on fund-raising activities. Civil society solidarity is the least “successful” among the subprinciples in the civil society field. NGOs have mushroomed and have been actively working in many developmentrelated issues throughout the country. This competition among the NGOs is what has mainly impeded the creation of solidarity within Thai civil society. However. in many cases. As previously mentioned.57. Another concern under civil society pluralization is media and the circulation of information within society. especially via the daily newspapers. MIDDLETON. food security. The media has largely been criticized for their bias and lack of professionalism in reporting the news.” prohibiting other organizations to “enter” therein and work with them toward achieving common aims. AND WEERA 81 rights.

especially in the economy. This score suggests that Thailand’s level of democracy is still very low and progress towards deepening democracy through de-monopolization is making little progress. as well as by many Thai citizens themselves. and especially NGOs working on different social issues has been viewed as a strength of Thai civil society. the international press and international organizations. Based on our interviews.65 (see table 4). there are some limitations and challenges within Thai civil society itself. While the nationwide political conflicts and street violence in Bangkok and other large cities in recent years have obviously disrupted the process of democratization. the articulation and better sharing of information. the notion that economic liberalization will bring prosperity to the people in general and help stimulate the conditions where political participation and sustainable livelihoods can be achieved is increasingly under scrutiny. as reflected by civil society pluralization’s relatively high score. The process of liberalization. especially as regards cooperation and solidarity among the active agents therein. media. we believe that the increase in people’s real participation. was perceived positively by many foreign investors. It can be seen that in many regards the relationship between liberalization and equalization is a kind of zero-sum situation where the advancement of (economic) liberalization came at the . however. they are only the tip of an undemocratic iceberg that has long accumulated in Thai society. Conclusion The overall ADI score of Thailand for 2013 is 4. The diversification of social groups. Still. Today. civil society needs to work harder together toward creating a liberal atmosphere for society rather than competing for organizational benefits or limiting their roles only to certain development issues. and better cooperation among civil society organizations are the keys to achieving that development. Amidst the ongoing political conflicts and the current authoritarian regime. Thailand is recognized as a recently industrialized country with a relatively liberal economic policy. It cannot be denied that civil society in Thailand has been “activated” and has played an important role in creating open spaces and shaping democratic culture in Thai society. a development strategy that emphasizes the role of the private sector alongside state subsidization for community enterprises and the agro-industrial sectors. we found that civil society has been perceived as the most advanced in the de-monopolization process. What needs to be tackled is how to improve this activation.82 THAI COUNTRY REPORT In sum. when looking at Thailand’s civil society using ADI indicators.

As mentioned above. This skeptical view of liberalization is also reflected in the scores given by our experts.92 on a 0-10 scale. not only in economic terms but also in political and civil society terms. After several decades of economic liberalization.NARUEMON. has been the basis for the social discrimination and political favoritism in Thai society which. the domination of a few business conglomerates in many sectors.38 (see table 5). JAKKRIT. including labor’s lack of autonomy and rights. While liberalization has been evaluated skeptically. decades of market-oriented liberalization cannot really be considered successful as it has created inequality among different groups of people. Economic inequality can be observed in the many persistent economic problems that Thailand is encountering today. the rating thereof is still higher than that of equalization. the advancement of Thailand’s economic liberalization was not accompanied by the advancement of political liberalization in the country. Based on this data. and the income disparity between different regions of the country as well as the lack of a long-term system of support for farmers and the poor. it is ironic that the economic regime of the country is probably the most troublesome of the three fields evaluated in the study. AND WEERA 83 cost of social and political equalization in 2013-2014. has led to the creation of a national political divide and the polarization of society at large. Meanwhile. the shortcomings of the economic liberalization process in Thailand during the past decades have resulted in a wide variety of inequalities. when looking closely at the equalization principle. It is civil society that was ranked highest by the experts. in turn. followed by the political field. MIDDLETON. . In other words. the lowest score is in the field of the economy. from the perspective of the interviewed experts. which received an aggregate score of 4. This lack of equalization in the economic field. we argue. the lack of transparency in corporate operations and the relationship of corporations with the government. From our survey. which has created problems and tensions. the economic situation in Thailand reveals that even as the country is now considered an uppermiddle income country. who ranked the overall liberalization of the country at 4. especially when centrally planned economic policy and development projects are deemed to threaten the livelihood of local people. the centrally planned economic policies. we can state that Thailand’s demonopolization process has been moving more toward liberalization rather than toward equalization.

81 5.Equalization Liberalization 4. Summary of ADI Scores in Thailand 4.82 Competition Pluralization 5.32 4.83 4.32 4.06 4.25 4.85 Politics Autonomy Table 4.04 Average 4.51 4.57 5.45 4.49 Economy 4.65 3.65 Thai ADI Score 84 THAI COUNTRY REPORT .79 Civil Society 4.92 4.25 4.69 4.81 Solidarity Average 4.

MIDDLETON. From the perspective of these people. claiming that Thailand is not yet ready for such a system as most of the citizens are poor and uneducated.30 4. the most problematic aspects perceived in Thailand’s political regime regards the process of pluralization.80 4. this contradicts the aspiration.28. Thailand will have to continue to endure this division for at least the next few years as polarization has deepened because of the recent coup. Of course. of the majority population of the country. especially in the economic and political spheres. This skepticism toward checks and balances and partisan politics have resulted in elite groups and the middle class opposing elections. AND WEERA 85 Political equalization in Thailand scored 4. Liberalization and Equalization in Thailand Politics Economy Civil Society Average Liberalization 5. which.05 4. We conclude that the only means to overcome .92 Equalization 4. As discussed above.33 4. JAKKRIT. Needless to say.81 4.NARUEMON.28 4.85 4.38 Average 4. while a little bit higher than equalization in the economic field. thus their votes can easily be brought with a small amount of money and short-term benefits. Thai politics have been criticized for the lack of an effective check and balance system. Some people view parliamentary politics as filled with corrupted politicians who use populist policies to gain votes from amongst the majority rural population. the way to solve the problems of corrupted politics is for the system to be reformed by “good and qualified” people—implying the aristocracy— instead of allowing everyone to have an equal voice in governing the political system.59 4. Table 5.83 The political conflicts in Thailand that have been ongoing for the past several years have emerged over the divergent positions on how the country should be governed. who see representative democracy and elections as a channel for them to get involved in shaping policy. is still quite low. such division has also been influenced by the inequality and failure of liberalization.

Amsterdam: Centre for Asian Studies Amsterdam. Thailand: Contested Politics and Democracy. April 18. TDRI: Income Gap to Widen without Change. References Anderson.zip. 1999. South Korea. Accessed on 11 August 2014. 2013.no/Regions/Asia/Publications/Thailand-contested-politics-anddemocracy. Lower Middle-class Fails to Catch Up. Bloomberg. Civilising the State: State. “Thailand's Farmer-Friendly Rice Subsidy Backfires”. 2013. Daimond.or.th/FrontEnd/page-about_result. Annual Report. and the World. the process of democratization can only be achieved through the de-monopolization of the political. leading to a condition wherein people can constructively engage the state to shape a fairer society together. 2014. 2012.go. December 12.businessweek.” Sogang University. and civil society spheres. Bruce D. Einhorn. 2011. Clarinda L. James D. Jakkrit Sangkhamanee.com/articles/2013-04-18/thailands-farmer-friendly -rice-subsidy-backfires#p1. “Democracy's Deepening Recession. Parista Yuthamanop. Report submitted to NOREF (Norwegian Peace-building Resource Center). 2003. economic. http://tdri.peacebuilding. “Achievements and Limits of the Asian Democracy Index (ADI). Cho.pdf.” Asian Democracy Review 1: 4-35. 2003. A Land on Fire: The Environmental Consequences of the Southeast Asian Boom.” Asian Democracy Review 2: 5-37. http://www.” Paper presented at the 2013 Asian Democracy Index (ADI) International Conference. http://www. Missingham. Southeast Asia. “Democracy of the Desired: Everyday Politics and Political Aspiration of Contemporary Thai Countryside. Naruemon Thabchumpon. http:// www.86 THAI COUNTRY REPORT the country’s polarization is not the cessation of democratic activities and the reform of Thailand toward authoritarianism. August 29-30.” Research paper submitted to the United Nations Development Programme. Benedict. Accessed on August 11. Accessed on June 28. 2013. 2012.nhso. Pasuk Pongpaichit. May 2. http://www. http://www. Larry.aspx. 2014. 20 December 2013.theatlantic.go. Civil Society and Politics in Thailand. Pasuk Pongpaichit and Pornthep Benjaapikul. The Spectre of Comparisons: Nationalism. 2013. The Assembly of the Poor in Thailand: From Local Struggles to National Protest Movement. 1998. NESDB Economic Outlook 2013. Heeyeon. Rather. Seoul. Fahn. 2013. “Democratization as De-monopolization and Its Different Trajectories: No Democratic Consolidation without De-monopolization.th/archives/ download/news/bp2011_12_15.htm. Berja. July.th/tir/issue/201309_23_9/243. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books. Bangkok Post. Bruce. Bangkok: United Nations Development Programme.com/international/archive/2014/05/the-deepening-recession-ofdemocracy/361591/. “Political Economy Dimension of a Middle Income Trap: Challenges and Opportunities for Political Reform in Thailand. 2014. 2014. NESDB (National Economic Social Development Board). Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books. New York: Verso. NHSO (National Health Security Office). 130319946592031250_annual report_2555. . “Realities and Prospects of Democracies in Asia.boi.” The Atlantic. Accessed on August 11. 2012.

Private Sector. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. June 6. AND WEERA 87 Pornthep Benyaapikul and Pokpong Junvith. Thitinan Pongsudhirak. “Thailand’s Decent Wage and its Impacts on the Economy.” Contemporary Southeast Asia 23(1): 24-42.bangkokpost. http://m.com/opinion/413829. “Learning from a Long History of Coups. 2001. 2012.” Bangkok Post.” TDRI Quarterly 27(2): 13-20. Bangkok: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.” In Arguing Comparative Politics. Ukrist Pathmanand. 2012. “Globalization and Democratic Development in Thailand: The New Path of the Military. Thailand’s Political Peasants: Power in the Modern Rural Economy. and Civil Society.” Research paper submitted to Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Accessed on August 11. 2014. 2013. JAKKRIT. . Andrew. 23-38. 2001. Stepan. MIDDLETON. Walker. “Thailand in Middle-Income Trap. Somchai Jitsuchon. “The New Professionalism of Internal Warfare and Military Role Expansion.NARUEMON. 2014. Alfred. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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In politics. we might well observe it to be one of the world’s most robust democracies. we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. This can be said for the following reasons: a) It is based on a constitution that ensures various rights to its citizens against the State and requires a rigorous procedure for any amendments. BONOJIT HUSSAIN Democracy as it Exists in India We must make our political democracy a social democracy as well. if we look at the history of India over the last six decades. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. we shall by reason of our social and economic structure. we will be recognising the principle of one man-one vote and one vote-one value. Bhimrao Ambedkar1 As compared to those countries and people who have gone through a long period under authoritarian rule (in varying conditions and degrees). In our social and economic life. thereby safeguarding the basic philosophy that ____________________________________________________________ Naveen Chander and Bonojit Hussain are independent researchers based in Delhi.Challenges and Possibilities of Substantive Democracy in India: A Critical Engagement through the ADI Framework NAVEEN CHANDER. equality. What does social democracy mean? It means a way of life which recognises liberty. They are affiliated with New Socialist Initiative.Dr. continue to deny the principle of one man-one value . ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy. and fraternity as the principles of life…on the 26th of January 1950. 3 (2014): 89-125 ISSN 2244-5633 .

and e) A judicial apparatus that has played a significant role at times to put the government of the day in check. biased and “hand in glove” with the political class. in the last two decades.4 tribals. there is a flip side to them. in pushing for many progressive laws like the National Rural Employment Guarantees Act. which gives individuals a great degree of priority over communities. which is led by government at the central level. to which the masses responded with clear disapproval. In other words. A good illustration of this can be seen in the influences exerted by various civil society formations. The higher judiciary enjoys the good faith of a large section of citizens and is perceived to be one of the most independent state institutions. the Right to Information Act. d) The demise of what is theorized as “one party dominance” or the “Congress system”3 in the 1970s and the 1980s. which has definitely given rise to a spectrum of political parties. almost a paradox. leading to the emergence of the first non-Indian National Congress (henceforth Congress party). c) An astonishingly vibrant and deeply institutionalized formal/ procedural representative democracy with regular elections in which the poorer sections of the society exercise their franchise overwhelmingly. from extreme right wing to extreme left wing. except for two years of State-imposed Emergency2 in the middle of 1970s. While all these points are not mere assertions. However. the Forest Rights Acts. b) It is a sustained stable polity without much ruptures. the Right to Education Act.90 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 underlies it. et cetera. Simultaneous with this demonopolization in the institutional political sphere is the growth of mass/social movements all over the country of peasants. the same cannot be said of the lower judiciary which is often perceived to be incompetent. Dalits. workers. a fairly . a relatively expanded scope of what is termed as “civil society” has also been a visible phenomenon in India. As democracy “matures” further in India. et cetera.

State violence under democratic rule is now part of everyday life. which is supposed to be the custodian of democracy. In other words.CHANDER. and at the same time there are expressed doubts about the credibility of political parties and leaders. is constituted democratically but does not serve the democratic interests (Sinha 2012). Significantly. Such violence backed by extra-constitutional laws like the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) in these areas. ranging from large parts of the North East to Kashmir5 and extended now to the mineral rich tribal belt of Central India. HUSSAIN 91 large section of people have shown resilience toward democratic form of rule. et cetera. the elite and the privileged perceive democratic processes as an obstacle to the fast growth of the economy. In brief. The alliance forged in this period between the Indian State and capital with global capital has. while in formal democracies as in countries like India. this process could be initiated only with the overwhelming consent of big capital within India (Kohli 2004). This further marginalization of the underprivileged has been the case in India for a long time. the underprivileged who overwhelmingly participate in electoral processes are constantly pushed to vulnerable positions through various “democratically”-instituted State policies. In authoritarian regimes. and through the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2002 (POTA) and the Unlawful Act Activities Act of . Another paradox is the existence and increase in mass poverty. unleashed processes resulting in further marginalization of poor and working people. a crumbling of the democratic institutions under the pressure of this process. we see a powerful repressive state that often liquidates the political opposition. and on the other hand. In many parts of India. but has become starkly evident after the neoliberal restructuring of the economy since the early 1990s. One of the most important paradoxes of democracy in India and in many other transitional democracies is that the State. On the other hand. rising inequalities. On one hand. in turn. on the one hand. a large number of citizens are pushed to immense vulnerabilities through various State-led policies. we are witness to. which exists in parallel with mass democracy. a process of accumulation by dispossession or primitive accumulation led by the State on behalf of primarily private capital. and successive governments have hardly addressed the issue of poverty and expanding inequality. while there is confidence in democracy in general. there is also deep distrust for political parties that are important constituent of democratic process. which is reflected in their abysmal participation in electoral processes. It is clear that democracy has been institutionalized along with poverty and deprivation.

b) “other” (“Mongoloid”) races who do not fit into the dominant “Aryan” narrative of “mainstream” India and had contested the territorial boundary of Indian nation. Historical specificities are as important as the universalizing tendencies in a social phenomenon like democracy. Indian democracy “is peculiar in the sense in which every democracy is peculiar. German democracy is peculiar in the sense that it has to deal . The analytical task at hand is to understand and capture the reality that exists in all its specificities and also its commonness due to various historical processes. How Do We Approach Indian Democracy? Democracy as a term. The State which is supposed to be the guarantor and upholder of the constitution is the biggest violator of the constitution. and c) the adivasis6 in the mineral-rich forest areas of Central India. This can help us understand why democracy appears differently in most of the world today. political system. it’s a paradox. ideology. This approach makes us cautious toward the fact that the differences in behavior of democratic countries toward the constitution of demos/“the people” need not be understood in the frame of a normative hegemonic idea. and history can mean many things in different times and spaces.92 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 1967 (amended in 2008) in many other parts of the country. becomes a systematic targeting of sections of the population that largely belong to: a) the religious minority community of Muslims who are systematically stigmatized by the Hindu-nationalist right wing as the biggest threat to the integrity of Indian nation. concept. British democracy shows the peculiarity of never undergoing a revolutionary rupture in its political traditions. As Jairus Banaji (2013) argues. French democracy is peculiar in the sense of emerging from a revolution. These groups face Indian democracy in very different manners and degrees. 9-10). To turn it around one can also look at the specific roots of authoritarian regimes. According to Kaviraj (2011. the State “violates its own constitution and does so repeatedly and is probably the biggest violator of the constitution of this country.” The political theories about “democratic waves” hardly manages to grasp or contemplate these extraordinary paradoxes that continuously haunt the claims of India being the largest democracy in the world.

If we were to write a script of democracy in India. it confronts a society and culture in which social governance is deeply embedded in a caste system that has survived until today.CHANDER. Christianity. it inherited the political structures—not the Constitution—from its colonizers. a section of radical Dalit leaders not only praised colonial rule but appreciated its existence. we would be faced with these many dimensions: that its legal institutional superstructure is inherited from colonialism. whereas various aspects of the Constitution were influenced by the various democratic forms known and existing during that time. all of these aspects were adopted to provide a better Constitution and were argued to be best suited for the Indian condition and to help create a desirable democratic form of state and political system. So much was the power of this deeply rooted brahmanical ideology that it was kept alive over the centuries across various politico-economic regimes. the social ideology of the caste system prevented the conception of an autonomous individual self. They intended to find allegiance and associate with the modern ideas that were brought into Indian society by the British. and while democracy as a desirable form of rule is accepted by and large by the Indian masses. its Constitution is influenced by modern democracies from various parts of the world. The deep entrenchment of the caste system is evident when we note that until the twentieth century there is hardly a parallel governance system for society. and the kind of democracy that got consolidated has done well on reduction of social inequalities. et cetera. with all forms of governance sustaining.” Indian democracy can thus be seen to be peculiar and different in that it emerges as an ideological impulse against colonialism represented by a social force that was internally divided on many axes including caste and religion. Of course. In . HUSSAIN 93 with and resolve its relationship with a long and powerful tradition of authoritarianism. it has come with the heavy cost of the silencing of the discourse on economic equality. Democracy in Islamic societies has had to deal with the peculiar structures and intellectual legacies of the Islamic tradition. It continues even after the untouchable castes converted to other religions like Buddhism. For a long time. if not incorporating it. Sikhism. when the idea of democracy came with a strong upper caste-dominated nationalist movement. In this sense. since for them it was the only time in history that laws against caste-mandated social oppression came from the ruler’s initiative.7 The social organization of quotidian life in India is based on very meticulous social engineering structured around the caste system. Islam. no existence of any standard precondition that could be understood as central for any possibility of establishing democracy.

With the increasing pressure of global capitalist needs and the corresponding policy orientation of Indian State towards neoliberal restructuring in last two decades. which previously. the processes of producing inequalities have become more violent. Thus. In fact. economic equality is not a variable under liberal idea of democracy. Massive privatization of basic services. b) But on the other hand democracy cannot provide an opposition and resistance to the massive inequalities generated by capitalist development. This has been coupled with the phenomenon of an average of 7 to 9 percent sustained growth. but it can also seriously alter the concept of democracy as possibly the best form of rule for the propertied classes. inequalities have increased by manifold. Many political theorists will not include inequality as a multi-layered category that encompasses political. and social aspects. A cursory overview of Indian politics makes it clear that the Congress party that had emerged as the main political force in the anti-colonial . were provided by the State. for example. it can be safely be argued with help of various data that over the years. the word “equality” has virtually disappeared from public discourse and has been replaced by the language of “growth. When they assess the development of democracy.” A standard liberal approach would ask why economic equality is necessary to define whether India has become more democratic or not in the last sixty years. ours is not only a historical moment which not only has sufficient potential to subvert the democratization process.94 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 fact. Two narratives of Indian democracy are then very apparent: a) The oppressive social structures of caste is challenged and undermined significantly through the formal-institutional logic of the Indian State and by the power of democratic politics. has accelerated the process of intensifying inequalities. the increasing participation of the masses in the electoral process and the social groups that were marginalized in the pre-democratic era. groups that became a significant political force through electoral democracy. the State has gradually withdrawn from its agenda of welfare and responsibility to provide opportunities to the underprivileged. economic. which has serious consequences for democracy in general. the social implies. In fact. to some extent. such as health and education. With the process of dispossession or primitive accumulation.” In the Indian case. they use a narrow meaning of the term “social.

CHANDER. though very regional in nature yet very powerful in the electoral and democratic sense. created by the decline of the Congress party. the precursor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). There are in fact hundreds of parties. which is currently the largest Hindu nationalist political party.” The third force. but they have not gained much from the decline of the Congress party. HUSSAIN 95 movement and had became the lone mass party by 1920s unambiguously declined by late 1980s. If we were to compare the disintegration. The second political force that emerged in the late 1960s and got consolidated in late 1980s are known as the parties that represent the “backward classes. but they are hardly present in the electoral process. They are part of what is termed as “non-party political process in India. for various reasons.8 in some regions that are economically very poor and populated by people belonging to Scheduled Tribes). Although since the last two general elections the Congress party has been leading the government. Then. to use the ADI framework (CADI 2012). Social movements too have emerged as important actors. The first and most significant formation which is of concern for the future of democracy in India is the Hindu nationalist political forces and party. which is also a significant force in the democratic politics because they can trace their existence from before the decline of the Congress party. but the emergence of three formations is very clear (apart from the emergence of many social movements. of the “monopoly complex” and transformation in the existing power relations .”9 What we have mentioned above specifically in reference to caste and Indian democracy largely captures the reality of the Northern Indian political landscape. starting from the post-Emergency general elections. We have not mentioned the parliamentary Left. it could only do so in alliance with a number of smaller regional parties. But. the interaction between caste and democracy in post-independent India has given rise to a very different kind of reality in most of Southern India. A number of other political parties that have emerged in many parts of the country can be clubbed together under the rubric of regional parties. this trend finally consolidated in 1989 with the transformation of “backward” groups into various political parties. An increase in their numbers can be explained by their ability to consolidate the marginal sections of Indian society. The political space. The political and ideological monopoly of the Congress party first got shaken in 1967 by the alliance between socialists and Jan Sangh. is the party of Dalits/ Scheduled Castes in India. which were not under the overall fold of the Congress party and BJP. has been filled up by many political forces. including the parliamentary and far Left. and the far Left.

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therein, Southern India will score very differently on the ADI’s liberalization and equalization measures of democratization than Northern India.
One of the reasons for this has do with the South’s history of massive anticaste mass movements since the early decades of twentieth century.
Ashutosh Varshney (2000) observes that the entirety of Southern India,
more and less by 1960s, had gone through a lower caste revolution. The
“Self Respect Movement” under the leadership of Justice Party, and then the
Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) and its factions, as a non-Brahmin
party, enabled them to come to power in the state of Tamil Nadu. Varshney
(2000) further suggests that the Communist Party, which came to power
in 1957 in Kerala, one of the southern states, was rooted in the lower caste
masses. The lower caste politics in other states were strongly present but
was not as dominant and hegemonic as it was in the case of the abovementioned states. In brief, by the 1960s, much of the political discourse
and electoral sphere in Southern India had been transformed by the democratic upsurge and empowerment of the lower castes.
Varshney suggests that “the lower castes were always numerically
larger than the Brahmins, but were unable to use their numbers before the
rise of universal franchise” (2000, 6). Further, Varshney argues that,
“socially and ritually, caste has always symbolized hierarchy and inequality;
however when joined with democracy along with universal-franchise,
caste can paradoxically be an instrument of equalization and dignity” (2000,
4). Varshney states further that in this democratic process, the lower
castes “‘deconstruct’ and ‘reinvent’ caste history, deploy in politics a
readily available and easily mobilized social category (‘lower caste’) using
their numbers to electoral advantage, and fight prejudice and domination
politically….It is the upper castes, beneficiaries of the caste system for
centuries, which typically wish caste did not exist when a lower caste
challenge appears from below” (Varshney 2000, 4). Those who adhere to
this view, which compares the emergence of lower caste politics of Northern
India with Southern India, say that “even Hindu nationalism, though
fundamentally opposed to lower caste politics in ideological terms…has
not been able to dictate the terms to northern lower-caste politicians” (Varshney 2000, 4). They opine that “lower-caste parties are
against Hindu unity….Such has been the power of lower-caste politics in
recent years that it has forced Hindu nationalists to make ideologically
distasteful but pragmatically necessary political coalition, on occasions
even with lower caste political formations” (Varshney 2000, 4). Such
analyses tend to suggest that due to these coalitions, “while Hindu nationalist
have indeed come to power in Delhi, Hindu nationalism as an ideology

CHANDER, HUSSAIN

97

has not” (Varshney 2000, 4). This broad phenomenon of lower caste
political assertion has called a “silent revolution” (Jaferlot 1993).
The point we are trying to make is that we should not stretch too
much the question of representation and infer that it has only positive
potentialities. India’s last forty years’ experience with democracy shows
that visible political and social democratization, as well as the empowerment
and emancipation of the lower castes, may not necessarily entail assurances
of further democratization and equalization in the Indian society.
There are others who argue that a meaningful transition to substantive
democracy cannot happen while socioeconomic inequalities and their
source are intact, making any change brought about by the institution of
electoral processes inconsequential. Social and economic inequalities carry
with them the possibility of turning formal-institutional democracy into
an authoritarian democracy. “Democratic authoritarianism,” argues Jalal
(1995), is how the Indian situation needs to be seen. The existence of
electoral democracy along with structural and other kind of inequalities
can best be seen as a combination of “formal democracy and covert
authoritarianism” (Jalal 1995, 97), a condition that is perpetuated unless,
as Jalal (1995) argues, the marginalized become “capable of extending
their voting rights beyond the confines of the institutionalised electoral
arenas to an effective struggle against social and economic exploitation,
legal citizens are more likely to be handmaids of powerful political
manipulations than autonomous agents deriving concrete rewards from
democratic processes” (1995, 48). If we look at the reality of the non-elected
institutional realm of Indian society, some of these claims can indeed be
considered a truism. The hegemony (in the Gramscian sense) of the
socially and economically powerful allows the political elite to control the
cultural means of a society.
A few years ago, a survey10 revealed that there is almost no one from
Dalit communities in the higher echelons of print and electronic media,
similar to the situation in higher education in India. But such empirical
evidence is difficult to transform into variables concerning how we think
about democracy. While on one hand, the theorization of democracy as
authoritarian is a case of stretching too much the definition of both democracy and authoritarianism, on the other hand it also does not recognize the “silent revolution” as in itself an important face of the democratic
impulse in Indian society over a long span of time. In other words,
although the point Jalal (1995) makes is based on strong empirics and has
clear theoretical underpinnings, it is precisely those that make liberals
question such a theoretical model in the analysis of any democracy.

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INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

The standard liberal approach like that of Varshney will raise the
same old question, “should we consider socio-economic equality a precondition for democracy?” Such questions come with the argument that there
is no casual linkage between democracy and inequalities, i.e., more equality
does not necessary mean more democracy. If this question can be asked
differently then it demands of us a different understanding of democracy
itself. Should we not consider an increase in socioeconomic equality a
variable in our analysis of democracy? In the absence of equality at the
center of the aims of democracy and democratic systems, a democratic
regime can recede to other forms of rule. If people think that the electoral
mechanism in democracy can be utilized for other ends, how does this
mechanism necessarily ensure that the democratic government will always
go by the desires and perceptions of the people? Once elected, the government is not necessarily bound to make choices that bring equality and
prosperity to all. It is forced to create certain laws or protect certain rights so
that the people do not turn into “dangerous classes” (Chatterjee 2008, 62).
Variables like dignity or participation and other such “checklist variables”
are mobilized in such a way that all democracies will look like a forwardmarching process, though an unfinished one. A major lacuna in their
conceptualization in the Indian case is that they seem to suggest that formal political domination of the upper castes was the primary reason for
the entire story of marginalization in society. Following this viewpoint,
after democracy made possible the challenging of this domination, it
necessarily changed the overall situation in which Indian society is situated.
Secondly, a denial of analyzing the relationship among the various spheres
of politics, economy, and society makes it difficult to see them on the
other side of democracy. Many in India will see the rise of lower castes
(other backward castes and Dalits) as a sign of Indian democracy becoming
more inclusive and participatory, a claim which can hardly be contested.
In what ways will this phenomenon bring egalitarian values to Indian society
is still an open question. It has to be mentioned, in any case, that with the
emergence of these social forces through the logic of democratic politics
with constitutional backing, the monopoly of the upper/dominant caste
has been eroded to a great extent, a phenomenon that is in a sense a
historic achievement.
The empowerment of the abovementioned marginalized social forces
must also be considered with two other facts. One, the rise of many of
these peasant castes and their relative prosperity is coupled with brutal
violence on the Dalit and landless poor in large parts of North India. Second,
the “democratic” logic of Indian politics has also witnessed the rise of

of which they then place the blame on religious minorities. the democratic political process exist alongside other fundamental processes—such as the growth of capitalist industrialization. because of the separation of spheres in modern society. can become an instrument used by one group to dominate and downgrade others. can indicate both “participatoriness” as well as movement toward a majoritarian politics. The scope of this paper is limited so one cannot go into further details about this ideology. A jingoistic Hindu nationalist party as a major political bloc has been very much a visible feature of the story of democracy in India. 8) points out these limitations by discussing the historical unevenness of democratic processes and how democratic politics is a field of strategic exchanges between political groups who seek to enhance their own political openings while restricting those of others. Kaviraj (2011. More so after the 1990s when the remaining control over capital by the State has loosen under neoliberal policies. the emergence of Dalit politics. Some of the recent studies have convincingly shown the penetration of this ideology in various institutions of the State. People do not call it fascist in India as they see BJP’s ideology as the nationalist expression of Hindu society. which can have contradictory effect—annulling and counteracting the impulses of political democracy by producing serious inequality through processes of economic reproduction premised on exploitation.CHANDER. sometimes even forming governments after winning a mandate. The pattern of electoral alliances between ideologically disparate political forces sharing the same social base. 8). Even after accepting that democracy as an idea. and as a historical ideological-political force contains the potential to become a real emancipatory force. though it is not called fascist in normal discourse. In the case of Indian democracy the “parallel” trajectories of economic and political life can be very clearly seen. The forms of these conflicts are varied in different places but they are visible more than before in contemporary India. the second largest party in India. Democracy. is now well documented (Gatade 2013). HUSSAIN 99 BJP. which is fascist in its ideology. Their involvement in terrorist activities. Furthermore. BJP’s rise has to be seen as a backlash of. it is essential to remember its limitations. One after another instance these parallel choices of capitalist form of industrialization and mass political process under democracy are seen into conflicts. but it must be noted that the vision of this party goes against the fundamentals of the Indian Constitution. or rather some features of its institutional design. Finally. as a system. . or at least a response to. The idea that democracy and capitalist economies work on parallel principles of “choice” in economic and political life can be seriously misleading (Kaviraj 2011.

Democracy. 2). and unfamiliar historical elaborations of forms of this phenomenon all go against some of the deepest assumptions of conventional democratic theory. “Indian democracy seems to defy all the preconditions that theory lays down for the success of democratic government” (2011. commonality of language. relative success. which do not like to pose the aforediscussed as a conflict between democracy and capitalism. if we go by the methods and techniques of conventional political theory. social. 2). Democracy as a viable and best desirable form of rule in liberal approaches argues that democracy is ideologically the best political form because all the other available arrangements that can ensure political. 2). This is because. On the other hand. the presence of a strong bureaucratic state. 1) argues that like other democracies. It is also true that the monopoly of a certain elite social group face challenges and are forced to provide space for elites of other social groups. according to Kaviraj. is “excessively critical of what it regards as bourgeois democracy treats it primarily as a deceptive institutional arrangement and. As Kaviraj further notes. yet that does not necessarily bring overall egalitarian value to the system of democracy on its own. 2). But at the same time “it also leads to despair by making people expect too much. conventional Marxism. one has to either conclude that since these preconditions were never met in India it cannot be called democracy at all or maybe we . 1) What it does is that it brings a set of new principles of “the political construction of society which leads to exhilarating moments – by making some unprecedented changes possible” (Kaviraj 2011. in its more extreme variants. these preconditions “are picked out of the conditions that surrounded the rise of democratic forms in the modern West – namely. argues Kaviraj. 1). appreciable levels of literacy. there lies a denial to look at democracy also as a rule that goes well with the dominance of property owning classes and historically privileged social groups. 1). capitalist production.100 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 At the very core of liberal conventional approaches. economic equality are less preferable (Kaviraj 2011. the secularization of society and relative economic prosperity” (2011. The establishment. he argues is in fact “part of the political enchantment of modernity” (Kaviraj 2011.” He further finds problem in the assumption that “the rise of modernity produces complete disenchantment in societies” (Kaviraj 2011. but “there is a special sense in which the existence of democracy in India is itself a problem. Kaviraj (2011. often by turning the conception of democracy – in some form of naïve thinking – into a secular equivalent of paradise” (Kaviraj 2011. regarding democracy as a sham” (Kaviraj 2011. 1). Looking at Indian democracy in reference to these preconditions. industrialization. there are problems in Indian Democracy.

becomes the field for the political negotiation of demands for the transfer of resources. these processes have been going on at the same time and show that the logic of one can seriously affect. whom he conceptually considers part of “political society. 53). from the accumulation economy to programmes aimed at providing the livelihood needs of the poor” (Chatterjee 2008. Kaviraj (2011.CHANDER. artisans and petty producers in the informal sector) with the hegemonic role of the bourgeoisie in ‘civil society’” (2008. which in recent times has come to mean almost exclusively capitalist growth. The State. influenced by Marx. “with its mechanisms of electoral democracy. 2). through fiscal and other means. . This is a necessary political condition for the continued rapid growth of corporate capital” (Chatterjee 2008. Sanyal.” do not directly negotiate with the state and democracy through the formal-structural logic of liberal democracy that often is the case with civil society. 54). In India. at the same time. So how does democracy and all its functional apparatuses survive and face the pressure of subalterns? Chatterjee (2008) provides us insights to understand the contemporary process and the state of democracy and its linkages with capital. it is. HUSSAIN 101 need to ask – “are these preconditions really preconditions for democracy. by contrast. Chatterjee says that his thought is based on the work of Sanyal (2007). For him. “while there is a dominant discourse about the importance of growth. hinder. 55). since this carries the risk of turning them into the ‘dangerous classes’” (2008. emphasized the fact that for a political rule and government to run. the basic conditions of life and its reproduction must be provided to the people (Chatterjee 2008. Chatterjee adds that “electoral democracy makes it unacceptable for the government to leave the marginalised groups without the means of labour and to fend for themselves. the vast majority of poor. all these processes of the creation of modernity happened and stabilized themselves before the serious exertion of pressure for democracy and the extension of suffrage began. This logic “is provided by the requirement of reversing the effects of primitive accumulation of capital with activities like antipoverty programmes. In the history of the West. 53). 2) further argues against the attempts of making the conditions under which Western European democracies arose into the theoretical preconditions for democracies all over the world. considered unacceptable that those who are dispossessed of their means of labor because of the primitive accumulation of capital should have no means of subsistence” (Chatterjee 2008. or were we led to believe they are by some fault in our thinking?” (Kaviraj 2011. or alter the logic of the other. Thus. 53). 53). He argues that there is “now a new dynamic logic that ties the operations of ‘political society’ (comprising the peasantry.

Firstly.102 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Some Observations on the Theoretical Perspective of ADI While it is alright to assess and evaluate how “neoliberal globalization has prevented democracy from being a trustful and consolidated institution in countries which have experiences of the post-authoritarian transition” (CADI 2012. this framework might not be a workable theoretical model to evaluate or assess the whole of Asia since many of the countries did not follow the same route of transition to democracy. it can be forcefully argued that the problem of democratic consolidation can be thought of as being external to the narrow operational frame of liberal democracy. problems seem to be identified with “democratic consolidation” or in located inside certain forms or practices. i. Another point that needs to be thought of when we start defining a new intellectual framework of democracy is that an overwhelming reference to authoritarianism seems to make liberal democracy almost “naturally” desirable. but this only takes the question one layer deeper and asks us to account for how the neoliberal order could hold sway in these countries that were in the process of transition to democracy. One might need to see the coming of neoliberalism itself as the defeat of the socio-political forces that could put a check on imbalances of power. In societies like India that do not have the narrative of transition from authoritarianism. what we also need to see is a contemporary history of the State focusing on its transformations. like the one in India for instance. India is a classic example that provides basis for a modification of the aforesaid formulation. it has two obvious limitations. In liberal regimes. Thus.. one that was pushing the transition toward democracy. The introduction of neoliberalism is more a visible sign of a clear shift in the nature of the State—from one kind of welfare state. In the contemporary context. This conception of internality suggests that the issue is one of getting things right within the system. 38). this leads us to consider that the existing . toward a different model of welfare that is targeted to the specific social groups. Secondly. this formulation assumes that the neoliberal economic restructuring and the corresponding political transformation is that precise moment at which the project of imparting democracy in the mentioned category of countries is prevented or sees a process of reversal. transition from authoritarian rule. thereby protecting the system or model itself from critique. The fact that neoliberalism has created obstacles for democracy is not contested.e. This has the result of equating the concept or principle of democracy with a particular model (liberal democracy) thus shaping the perspective from which things are viewed in formal liberal democracies.

especially by the last decades of twentieth century? If we reverse the proposition. i. The role of these agencies. thus eroding the people’s trust in democratic institutions.CHANDER. economically and militarily. processes of democratization could not but abort the improvement of the quality of life in the society” (CADI 2012. While we consider globalization to be an important feature of the contemporary moment. HUSSAIN 103 framework of democracy that makes liberal democracy the “natural choice” needs to be questioned as well. and civil society.” To take an example. 38) Is there a clear relationship we can see between a particular idea of democratization. We have examples of authoritarian regimes developing reciprocal structural linkages with many liberal “democracies. The USA is heavily invested in the stability of these regimes. owing to structural reasons. which are dominated by interests of leading Western states. and might well be useful for other members of the Consortium for the Asian Democracy Index (CADI). Under the global gale of neoliberalism. in our analysis the actions of regimes that are external to them do not get accounted for. transition from authoritarianism. the neoliberal policies. in fostering conditions of agonizing inequality within and between nation states calls for attention since increasing inequality hinders the process of democratization. the economy. A country might be rating highly in democracy indices but it might be promoting conditions averse to democratization is other parts of the world. the interplay between the . the United States of America is heavily dependent on securing oil from states in the Middle East that are clearly authoritarian. leads to or forces. The theoretical perspective further suggests that “the transnational capital-led globalization in the name of neo-liberalism changed the basic value of democracy from ‘humanity’ to ‘capital’. Here. This has often been linked to the Structural Adjustment Programmes advocated by agencies like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Another issue that is important for us in India.e. and neoliberalism? The demise of authoritarian regimes in many parts of the world in late 1980s and early 1990s onward and the transition to some form of democracy in their stead. In most developing countries that are following neoliberal economic policies the gap between the rich and the poor has been growing rapidly.. is the diverse and opposite processes in the three spheres of politics. The question that we need to ponder on is this: was the transition to some form of democracy very much needed for capital-led globalization. it might be possible to see the institution of liberal democracies instead of authoritarian regimes as being an expedient mechanism for the introduction of economic reforms that the former could not have carried out.

Indian markets are open for corporate capital. which provides basic support (e. massive corruption in India where often elected members and ministers are involved in tilting policies in favor of corporate capital. i. both of which are detrimental to democracy since they render institutions ineffectual. exemplified in the recent media boycott of a particular newly emerging . Increasing foreign direct investment and disinvestment of government in the huge public sector has led to Indian and foreign capital coming to dominate the economy. with the country witnessing neoliberal restructuring and privatization. it gets linked up with having to influence government policies for consolidating advantages. The license regime is over and through the process of globalization. As suggested above.e. This led to. De-monopolization does not mean the same thing in countries that moved from authoritarian/oligarchic rule to democracy and those with a fairly stable history of being a formal democracy like India. this has happened in certain senses. by lobbying for particular kinds of economic policies. on one hand. health) and the main avenues for sustenance and upward mobility (e. by accelerated expropriation and pauperization of marginal peasants and tribal peoples. neoliberal economic restructuring in India has resulted in a related growth of cronyism and monopolistic tendencies. If we look at India. Added to a raiding of the public exchequer (read corruption) is the question of the transfer of resources from the poor to the rich under the current neoliberal dispensation in India. it can be clearly seen that the political de-monopolization process at some levels has helped in the democratization of the political system. Opponents can also be blocked off. The corporate demands for cheap natural resources are being met. In fact it can be argued that things have gone in the reverse direction. De-monopolization in economic sphere means that the control of state power on economic sphere should be reduced and new actors should be able to participate. In India. in recent times. we do not find the same process taking place. education).104 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 concepts of democratization and de-monopolization is called into question. But if we look at the economic sphere.g. Corporate funding of political parties and ownership of media houses results in effective pressuring of governments to shape policies benefitting these capital-holders. State control over the economy has been significantly reduced in last thirty years. many of such ministries that deal with key sectors of Indian economy are manipulated by big capital.. we see that once the process of monopolization starts in economic sphere.. In fact.. while on the other hand we are witnesses to massive budgetary cuts in the social sector. In India.g.

How the people in frontier regions (Northeast and Kashmir) relate with the Indian democracy is very different from the way people in the “mainland” areas do. as we will detail later. unless we include the reality of caste to understand the democracy and demonopolization relationship in India. We cannot expect a homogenous experience of all the social groups and classes in the country. To give an example. a major limitation that we were confronted with during our survey is that the questionnaire does not sufficiently capture the Indian reality. thus it is very important to acknowledge the differences that exist. we are of the opinion that while we see demonopolization as a good working conceptual model. Similarly. we must try and disaggregate the objects of analysis. A number of questions are very general and vague and these questions do not capture the differential attitude of the State toward citizens in different regions. the questions were insufficiently grounded in the particular reality of India. in indirect ways we can witness the emergence of a complex in politics and economy that could possibly lead to monopolization.CHANDER. we need to further evolve both specific and general questions together for the ADI project to accomplish its aims in India. While Human Rights Watch terms India as dangerous. we have to think differently about de-monopolization in a formal democracy. . HUSSAIN 105 political group (since they raised the issue of corruption and nexus between the ruling party and one big corporate house that was involved in the production of natural gas). Finally. it should be noted that not all the regions and social groups face violence by State or non-elected institutions with similar intensity. Violence and citizens rights. for example. our analysis of it can be misleading. Furthermore. are such variables that cannot be generalized in the Indian case. in order to further enrich our understanding of really existing democracy in India. an observation that. Thus. The differentiated experiences of people and their relationship with State and democratic process can be captured only when we include variables that can incorporate this diversity of democratic experiences and expectations. In other words. we must find a way to see how people in Central Indian regions experience democracy that is different from the average experience of people in North India. it is a challenge to incorporate the regional diversity in India. Whereas the ADI conceptual framework can be used as a guiding set of principles subject to modification. Just to give an example. To conclude this section. our respondents shared with us.

is an attempt to initiate a closer understanding of Indian democracy while considering the complexity and multiplicity of the Indian context. and journalists. as a part of the ADI pilot test. They were classified “ideologically” based on the surveyors’ “prior knowledge” about the respondents’ “ideological” positions and expertise on particular areas and were slotted under the political categories of Left-.106 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Report on the 2013 ADI Survey in India Objectives of the Study This study of Indian democracy. Survey forms were sent through email to three of our experts. This pilot survey hopes that the indices arising out of it will enhance and inform the development of a stronger and more relevant methodology for the ADI project. corporate officers. Liberal-. We hope the case of India will further help to problematize certain parameters that may not address Indian and South Asian realities. and civil society). the economy. political activists. Selection and Profile of Experts This study. The experts were then distributed to answer one of the three ADI questionnaires corresponding to the three ADI fields (politics. Our twenty-seven experts were selected from various fields—social activists. . and Right-wing. academics. the whole of Indian society with all its complexities. uses both qualitative and quantitative analyses of data from a survey of twenty-seven experts across different fields and ideological moorings. financial experts. The respondents were selected primarily on the basis of their “expertise” on relevant issues that may highlight. based on the methodology devised by CADI. twenty-four of our experts were interviewed face-to-face. The survey was predominantly conducted in-person. Methodology and Problems Encountered Survey Method and Duration The survey was conducted between January and May 2013. if not be representative of. The histories and realities of Asian societies necessitate such an effort.

HUSSAIN 107 Difficulties and Comments from the Experts The predominant difficulty in carrying out the survey was at the level of the questionnaire. In terms of the core principles of ADI framework. however. In terms of the three fields of the ADI framework. below the median value of 5. What follows are brief discussions of the results of the survey per field. which scored 4. While liberalization scored 4. It truly must be emphasized that the typical first response to the questionnaire. the quantity and expanse of the optional explanatory comments we obtained from our experts are lower than what was expected from the respondents. The Survey Results Figures 1. upon persuasion.2 show the consolidated results of the ADI pilot survey conducted between January to May 2013 in India. while the Indian economy index is the lowest at 3. saying that the questionnaires did not address Indian reality.e.24.67. This means that the experts have generally rated Indian Democracy negatively. . The questionnaires were given to many experts but a significant number of them refused to answer.CHANDER. the questionnaires were filled out by the requisite number of respondents. the overall indices for both liberalization and equalization are modest. i.1 and 1. Due to this impediment. More detailed analyses of the results per subprinciples will be done later. the Indian political index is highest. thus the experts often found difficulty in assigning a numerical rating as a response to certain questions. with a score of 5. In between is the Indian civil society index. The average (overall) Indian ADI is 4.76. After hurdling this initial difficulty.. regardless of the experts’ ideological position. The current set of experts came through despite their disagreements with the questionnaires and particular questions about them.53 on a scale of 0 to 10. It shows the average of all the subprinciple and core principle scores we obtained across the three ADI fields. was that the instruments do not address Indian reality.81. equalization fared a little worse at 4.

Overall Results of the 2013 ADI Survey in India 108 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 .Figure 1.1.

competition. The overall scores of autonomy. 2013 ADI Survey in India Politics The results of the Indian politics survey. On the other hand.31. HUSSAIN 109 Figure 1. and 5. the respondents under the Left category tended give low scores to the indicators under all four subprinciples. solidarity) is provided in figure 2.2. Core Principle Scores by Field. ranging from an average of 4.CHANDER. structured on the basis of the four ADI subprinciples (autonomy. . However.06.55. competition.01. with respective scores of 5. 5. The respondents under the Liberal category tended to give high scores (above 6) to indicators under all four subprinciples.29 (in pluralization). the score for pluralization was relatively lower at 4. and solidarity did not differ much.44 (in competition) to 2. pluralization.

Figure 2. Scores in Politics Per Subprinciple and Respondent Category 110 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 .

The UPA government again got re-elected in the general elections of 2009. Still under economic pluralization. This period. with the overall score being 1. led by the Congress party.55 and 4. the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). Civil Society The results of the Indian economy survey are shown in figure 4. Analysis of the Survey Results The ADI survey was conducted at a very important juncture and one needs to be a bit cautious to what extent that immediate context is reflected in the data.33. whose leading campaign slogan was “aam aadmi ka haath. and 2.6. hovering around 5. Congress ke saath” (the common man is with the Congress).8). respectively. respectively. Thus. from 2004-2008.35 and 4. while the results for pluralization can be said to be extremely poor.65. respectively) than that for solidarity (3. for the study of Indian democracy. The period we are concerned with here is between 2004 and 2013. In 2004.CHANDER. Having said that. In the economic field. and Right respondents gave average scores of 2. the subprinciples of autonomy and competition. defeated the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by BJP. Liberal. we can call the first term of this government (our first period). we will still need to look at the current context to help us in correctly interpreting the data. the Left. are slightly better than the scores for autonomy and solidarity. Economic pluralization indicators were rated very poorly by respondents from all three categories.97. 1. This period can be divided into two timeframes: 2004-2008 and 2008-2013. as UPA-I. HUSSAIN 111 Economy The results of the Indian economy survey can be seen in figure 3. Looking at the aggressive “shining India” campaign of BJP-led NDA. showed better average scores (4. .74. The average scores for all the subprinciples in the field of civil society are average to below average. almost a year before the general elections of 2014. is interesting and complex in many ways. though tending toward negative (below 5). The scores for competition and pluralization. this was a significant and surprising victory for the Congress party-led UPA. and the current term (our second period) as UPA-II. We will have to distill the broad understanding from the current data and compare the data with a future survey so that we can capture both the immediate and short-term trends in Indian democracy as well as more long-term shifts and transformations. which are at 4.

Scores in Economy Per Subprinciple and Respondent Category 112 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 .Figure 3.

Looking at the trajectory of post-1990 neoliberal reforms. such a situation was unparalleled in the history of post-independence India. HUSSAIN 113 UPA-I came to power with a promise of a strong welfare agenda. and the Right to Information Act. besides fulfilling some electoral promises. especially in areas where both Indian and global capital had shown interest. opened up the discussion for acts/schemes that can be considered social welfarist in nature. Many other such schemes like Right to Education and Right to Food. This process. and acts made UPA-II possible. some of these popular schemes. pre-2008. At another level. these rights and pieces of legislation were very significant. who demanded their rights over land. In some ways. was central in putting together a number of laws and policies such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. . water. bureaucrats.. can partially be attributed to the presence of the left parties.CHANDER.g. and other elected and non-elected people in the State machinery were clearly seen subverting institutions and their functions. but by that time. One of the significant results of the election was the coming together of the Congress party and the left parties that together formed the government. Some of the key positions in the governments and state bureaucracy were decidedly in keeping with the interest of the corporate class. Forest Right Act. and other avenues of livelihood. forest. and in many instances between business/corporate interests and those of the bureaucracy as well. Some significant issues that rose to prominence are the nexus between the business and political classes. policies. Ministers. with a significant number of liberal-left people. this shift toward strong social policies since 2004 under UPA-I. Certainly. Although the welfare state trend continued after the general elections of 2009. these years saw violent events and mobilizations by the people. since the latter had withdrawn its support because of a nuclear pact between India and United States. between bureaucracy and political class. the State and local governments undermined their own processes and polices. it did not have the support of the left parties. Land Acquisition Bill were in the pipeline. e. These resulted in the subversion of the aforediscussed policies. The NAC. Post-2009 Congress party-led UPA-II was scam-ridden. especially those that touched upon the interests of elected representatives and those of the business/corporate houses. which set up a national common minimum programme and a National Advisory Committee (NAC). the mining sector. we can see certain other phenomena gaining more prominence. minerals. The brief years of UPA-I reflects how the longstanding demands of and pressure from social movements and civil society allowed these groups to have some stake in government through various institutional and non-institutional ways.

Figure 4. Scores in Civil Society Per Subprinciple and Respondent Category 114 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 .

both electronic and print. the cases of corruption that were highlighted and which determined public discourse were the ones in which the political class was seen as the beneficiary. is not even in public memory anymore. Corruption. the State and its apparatuses played a central role in executing and accelerating their enrichment. which will have its effect on the functioning of institutions under democracy—the idea of clean and good governance. both in nature and in its organization. and the bureaucracy were projected as the culprits. The first direction is intertwined with an overarching political discourse. as it is popularly termed these days. But the well-known role of corporate capital in conspiring and organizing the popular anti-corruption unrest against the State actors and political class was systematically avoided. is something that has played a very integral role in the accumulation process in India—recent years were not the first time that we witnessed the movement against it in society. people do remember many old cases of how politicians were involved in corruptions.CHANDER. but the scale and spectacle of it post-2009. After so long. certain section of the media did not publish news about it at all. Second is the possibility of the emer- . When big corporate capital was exposed. The discourse was manufactured in such a way that the State. but on the other hand what emerged out of it was a discourse that can move potentially in two directions. Interestingly. is the way media. What is interesting. The political class has been implicated in corruption before. there was a scandal after the exposure of the Radia tapes (for details of the scam see Chaudury (2010) and Varadarajan (2010)). which reveal the nexus between senior journalists and politicians lobbying for certain corporate houses. the 2G Spectrum telecom scam. and indeed requires further research. became “hyper-activated” on the issue of corruption. the entire political class and state apparatus was brought into question. public executives. political parties. was very different. and accumulation by dispossessing people on the other. especially in 2010-2011. HUSSAIN 115 The State in general has played a significant role in massive extraeconomic extraction of surplus on one hand. Though the actual beneficiaries were the rich and the corporations. and the allocation of coal mines scam. Massive mobilization has been witnessed against Congress party-led UPA II. The media made it a spectacle. This post-2009 landscape of Indian politics thus saw movements for people’s control over resources and also massive anti-corruption movements in the wake of many gigantic scams such as the Commonwealth Games scam. Thus. The outrage against corruption on one hand diminished the credibility of Congress party-led UPA.

One more important phenomenon that had made a significant impact in 2009-2013 was the massive mobilization against the Delhi rape case that occurred in the end of 2012. our survey has to be contextualized in this volatile and active political time in which all of the fields considered by the ADI have been affected. those who were categorized as Left scored very critically. the characteristics of UPA-II show that the way a system within which democracy works is not a given—it is actually volatile. Before we get into further discussion and explanation of our survey data. The emergence of “Aam Aadmi” (common man) as a discourse generally. and the . The world of Indian democracy is full of both opportunities and threats. at this juncture. we must mention that the respondent categories were chosen with their ideological leanings as prescribed in the current ADI methodology. the degree and the scale of this transformation did not carry the potentialities of democratizing rapidly to all the fields. the events during these two periods that precede the conduct of the ADI survey in India are symptomatic of an active political and civil society. Thus. reflects the combination of these two aspirations/orientations in the Indian polity. Liberals celebrate it and find it possibly the best system available. Except in some cases. Of course. along with a possibly divided state apparatus. The Left seem to consider democracy in India to be a near-sham. Furthermore. An active political citizenry and growing inequalities. At this moment. the progress of democracy carries both these possibilities in India. and civil society. might fail to always find a balance between two mutually contradictory phenomena—an emerging political and an economic right wing.116 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 gence of an idea of social democracy that includes the former but goes beyond it. This suggests that to some extent the process of democratization progressed because of some of the initiatives under UPA-I. large urban constituencies got mobilized in a manner and scale never seen before. and the Right scored less “enthusiastically” than the Liberals but more “optimistically” than the Left. economy. Similar to the response of anticorruption movements. with marks on the lower side of the 0-10 scale. the Liberals tended to score on the positive (above 5) side. an immensely powerful corporate class whose interests are in a nexus with those of the political class. which had initiated the potential of transformation in the existing relations of power in the fields of politics. To sum up. The longevity and durability of such a process also depends on a corresponding process in all the fifty-seven indicators contemplated by the Asian Democracy Index.

45). Nevertheless. 45). The two subprinciples of equalization. we can say that Indian democracy is not doing well in terms of pluralization and solidarity. signifies the “quality of democracy” and the achievement of agents “in terms of gaining actual resources within a certain system” (CADI 2012. is a good contrast. In one way. What does this tell us about Indian democracy? If we go by the ADI framework. The equalization score. fair and competitive election. disparity among regions. and specifically the subprinciples of autonomy and competition.” respectively (CADI 2012. it seems that the Right find their relationship with democracy quite troubled. the most glaring contrast can be seen in the field of economy. rule of law. Meanwhile. In this light.CHANDER.8 for solidarity. The score is 5.” the “degree of freedom to organize political groups and undertake political action. Under equalization. 47-49). according to the ADI framework. inequalities in income. In this field. The subprinciple of political autonomy tells us to what extent the citizens are independent from government. shows the extent to which “monopoly over resources [have weakened]” and the “available means to de-integrate the monopoly of resources. But this cannot be generalized in each field. assets and employment (CADI 2012. the subprinciple of political competition refers to other forms of political freedom such as universal suffrage. Furthermore.24) in comparison to the overall score of the core principal of liberalization (4. 50-52). the weak scores of pluralization and solidarity in economic field suggest the absence of the “fair distribution of economic resources leading to both economic and social-political democratization” (CADI 2012. 65-69). the aggregate score for the core principle of equalization is relatively low (4. in terms of the “degree of state violence. given how in our survey liberalization scored slightly better than equalization. The field of politics shows that the transition from the colonial to postcolonial democratic system has been stabilized with a differentiated experience by people in different regions. In this context the score in the field of politics under the core principal of liberalization.97 for pluralization and 3. pluralization and solidarity. With this set of respondents. whereas this has not necessarily resulted into equalization in the economic field in any region.31 in competition in the political field. HUSSAIN 117 Right locate themselves the middle of this Left-Liberal pendulum.81). the low pluralization score supposedly suggests the existence of economic monopoly. et cetera (CADI 2012.01 in autonomy and 5.” and “the degree of freedom and political opposition” (CADI 2012. . the score is 1. 70). 65) and the means by which “inequality is institutionally addressed” (CADI 2012.” the “degree of civil liberties.

From the differential data in the respective fields. one has to consider.55. which deal with the degree of civil liberties. whereas the rest of the items. The State is central in both of these narratives of Indian democracy. The state violence score is informed by the different attitude of the State toward certain regions. while evaluating such scores. A final word before the analyses: even if the overall score is below 5 on the 0-10 scale. is one definite trend of democracy in India. obtaining only a 3. that the responses not only “reveal” the existing realities of Indian democracy but also inform us of the respondents’ expectations of an “ideal” democracy. degree of freedom to organize political groups and undertake political action. The corresponding reality of this score can be captured . it is clear that the scores to the items under autonomy in the economic and civil society fields are inclined toward negative evaluation. and 4. it will be presumptuous to utilize the data generated in terms of different variables as ‘representative’ of Indian democracy indices. both by the respondents and surveyors’ own observations. In the final sections of this paper. coupled with an economic system characterized by growing inequalities. while it is at 4.55 overall score. the data can be used to make the following broad sketches about the India context.35 in the field of civil society. 6. Autonomy The autonomy index in politics is relatively good.77 respectively. and degree of freedom for political opposition have scored relatively highly (meaning high degree of these freedoms) with overall scores of 5. In short.56. while those in the political domain can possibly progress toward a higher index as the current score stands at the median. as has been outlined in the previous sections.22. However. their evaluations also merge with their own idea about the kind of democracy that they want. it is remarkable to see that the item on state violence has scored low (meaning high incidence). if one supersedes the impediments arising from the questionnaires. we will look at the scores per subprinciple in each field. standing at 5 on a scale of 0-10. sections and groups. further analyses of the data carries with it the possibility of misrepresenting the existing Indian context.118 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 the enactments of rights and the empowering of citizens under UPA-I. In the field of politics. Considering that the questionnaires were considered as far from Indian reality. The autonomy in the economy field is at 4.

the first item. in Kashmir and parts of Northeast India. does not address Indian reality. The data reflects existing conditions of illiteracy. which has resulted in suspension of all the freedoms mentioned in the items above therein. Furthermore. . Social activities are fairly free from state interference.g. Considering the fact that India has some of the best labor laws in the world. which looks into political power/elite’s influence on private companies.” The belief that the other freedoms under political economy are wellguaranteed by the State has to be qualified. intolerance. Perhaps it is important to pose a question here considering the spread and speed of private company/economic elite penetration into the political structures of the country. the scores from our respondents are expectedly low. the autonomy score is 4. Its interests are now intertwined with those of private capital. It was strongly felt by the respondents as well as the surveyors that a reversal of this particular question will be more relevant for India. lower than the median. e. thereby becoming complicit in the violations of its own laws. In the field of economy. while 80 million have dropped out without completing basic schooling (The Hindu 2013)..56. the violations of the same have become a rampant everyday reality. The State has drifted away from its pre-1990s role as an arbitrator between labor and capital. India’s human development index is currently lower than SubSaharan Africa. eight million children in India have never stepped inside a school. Since the 1990s. HUSSAIN 119 in the following words of one of the respondents: “In conflict zones (border areas and Central India) many who are incarcerated are in prisons because of their political beliefs. Protection of basic labor rights received an average overall score. where there are ongoing movements for self-determination. at 4.CHANDER. one would have expected higher score.34. and poverty. in a study conducted by the UNICEF. The autonomy score in the field of Civil Society is relatively low. Government has also been involved in extra-judicial killings (euphemistically called ‘encounter killing’). as well in Central India where there is a civil war going on between State forces and the Maoist guerrillas. There are exceptional areas. with the onset of liberalization. but the current situation says otherwise. The score reflects the paradox of social autonomy in India. yet in response to items concerning freedom in relation to the market and basic human development level and tolerance. It is considerably difficult to validate this score as a representative figure because out of the three items under economic autonomy. while very progressive labor laws exist.

transparency. the figures pull down the overall competition index on the lower side of the median. which have scores of 4. especially when one considers the glaring exclusion of religious minorities. The current CADI formulation fails to capture broader questions of economic activities. the index is fairly representative. respectively. on paper. On the other hand. In the political field. While non-elected bodies based on family heritage or military power are not seen by our respondents to have an influence on political power. The civil society competition index is at 4. The representation of society by civil society organizations (CSOs) is ranked fairly high.31. it is clear that the scores in the items under competition in the economic and civil society fields are below but close to the median. closer to the median but still on the negative side. CSOs participate openly in the political debate/s.” The issue of fairness of competition between companies was regarded to be controversial. and diversity of voluntary association. corporate governance is rather opaque. However.94. In India. as well as the occurrence of regular free and fair elections rates impressively high in the eyes of our respondents. our respondents have a negative evaluation of corporate transparency in our country. many experts have pointed out that corporate groups (both domestic and foreign) do have undue influence on the government.74 and 4. the competition index in the political field.120 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Competition Similar to the autonomy scores. as far as the item on implementation of government policies by its agencies is concerned. with our respondents opining that the question corresponding thereto is too vague for the Indian condition. From the differential data in the respective fields. as one of our respondents put it. and other lower castes. As one of the respondents rightly identified. “corporate operations are incredibly obscured from public society. confirming the “political common sense” about government agencies. In the economic field. but their ability to influence . the guarantee of electoral rights and freedom of expression. Dalits.94. If one takes into consideration the broad nature of CSOs. is relatively better than the same in the fields of economy and civil society. the response from the experts are substantially negative. but slightly better than that of the economy field. A separation of the item on fairness of economic activities and activities of private companies might have resulted in different rankings. Those asking about the fairness of economic activities should be wary of merely focusing on the activities of private companies. when we look at the indices of capability. at 5.

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policy formulations are disproportionate to their participation in meetings
and discussions on policy matters.
Pluralization

The index of pluralization in the fields of politics and civil society are 4.55
and 5, respectively—close to the median. However, the same index in the
economic field is glaringly low at 1.97.
As regards political pluralization, it is widely accepted that the Indian
legislature is expansively representational, save in terms of women’s representation. Thus, pluralization in the political field is, expectedly, relatively high.
The low economic pluralization index captures the glaring economic
inequality in India. The gap between the rich and the poor is on the rise,
even while more billionaires and their assets are on the rise too, especially
over the last twenty years since the liberalization of the economy. India
has maintained a high economic growth rate, but this has not led to
reduction of inequality—indeed, the situation is quite the reverse. Moreover,
as some of the respondents stated, the exclusion of certain groups like
Muslims and Dalits from economic power is a glaring reality. Employment
opportunities are also determined by caste, gender, and religion. Discrimination based on these social identities are extremely widespread in all
sorts of labor markets, and more than often take the form of exclusion
from well-paying jobs and the concentration of the marginalized in marginal
and low-paying jobs.
In the civil society field, the pluralization index is at the median, with
lower-than-median overall scores in the items regarding media, information
dissemination and access to cultural facilities, but higher-than-median
scores in the item concerned with power distribution in the society. While
India has a very diverse, abundant, and vibrant media presence, it is a fact
that, as one of our respondents says, the media is dominated by a few big
families, whose hold is in different media sectors, ranging from print to
electronic. In addition, the key posts in the media are dominated by Hindu upper caste males (as studies that were done to understand social composition of the media have shown). Together, these two factors create a
situation where neither the growing pauperization of the masses (as evidenced by the suicides of more than 200 thousand farmers in a span of
fifteen years) nor the humiliation of the socially oppressed rarely become
an issue in the Indian media.

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INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Solidarity

Solidarity scores in the political field are, in some accounts, very interesting,
and they raise many issues that need to be seriously researched. Under
political solidarity, there are items that deal with the degree of political
participation, affirmative actions and the state of socially marginalized
groups, credibility of democratic institutions and democracy in general,
and the public’s trust in democracy as a desirable system. The overall
thrust of these items seems to be finding a symmetry in both the credibility of
State institutions and trust in democracy. The responses of our respondents defy such a search for unity in perceptions. Although the overall
score in political solidarity does not show this fracture, a disaggregation of
the scores in the items under this subprinciple makes it very clear.
The average score in the item about people’s trust in democracy is
significantly high at 7. On the other hand, the average score in the two
items that deal with the credibility of the democratic institution, at 3.88, is the
lowest among the attribute scores under political solidarity. Certainly, over
the years, peoples’ participation in elections has been on the rise; a significant percentage of the voters come from the poor. Thus, the people do
trust in democracy as a system because they participate in elections and
may participate in other possible activities that deal with decisionmaking.
However, they do not trust the government and they do not trust the parliament/legislature. This reflects the recent occurrence of anti-corruption
movements and agitations, which indicate peoples’ general distrust of the
government but also their aspiration for a better governance system,
though they are fairly unsure about the institutional form in which that
system can best be acquired.
In the field of economy, the solidarity score not only corresponds to,
but also helps explain the poor results in pluralization in economy. It is evident that the lowest field subprinciple score is that of economic pluralization, at 1.97; economic solidarity’s score, at 3.81, is not much higher. The
issues that economic solidarity deals with are related largely to labor
rights, social security, corporate surveillance, and the state of inequality
alleviation. Among the scores to the items corresponding to these, there is
one possible misleading result, in our opinion—that which deals with the
matter of the unionization of labor. As was already been mentioned earlier, in
India, the unions are active only in the formal sector. More than 80
percent of the labor force is in the informal sector, where there is hardly
any union presence. Labor law violations are committed mostly against
those in the informal sector. All the unions in India are representative of

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less than 5 percent of the workforce. If we were to ask about labor unions
in India while keeping this reality in mind, the average score in economic
solidarity might have been less than what it is now.
Lastly, let us discuss civil society solidarity. The scores in the items
under this field subprinciple tell us that the Indian social security system
is very ineffective, labor has no say in management matters, and there is
no public monitoring of corporate activities. In fact, there is no system
through which such monitoring is possible. Similarly, there is no concept
of labor having any say in management matters. On the contrary, the last
two decades have seen the rise of a regressive attitude of various elected
and non-elected functionaries of the State toward labor-related issues.
The last two decades have been the period of massive contractualization,
insecure tenure, and “hire and fire” policies. For monopoly to emerge, the
control over labor is essential. In fact, as hinted upon here previously, the
history of the emergence of liberalization in India starts with the dismantling
of labor movements in 1970s and 1980s. Thus, there is a direct correlation
between neoliberal policies, “growth,” and reduction in labor rights. This
phenomenon in turn affects not only economic democracy, but also
substantial political democracy. In other words, as our data mostly verifies, in
India today, inequalities are not only sustained but also produced.
Notes
1.
2.
3.

4.

5.

Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, Chairperson of the drafting committee, in an address to
members of the Constituent Assembly, on November 25, 1949.
A state of Emergency was declared in India by the Prime Minister of India Indira
Gandhi on June 26, 1975. It was lifted in 1977.
The idea of the “Congress system” or one-party dominance was first discussed by
political scientist Rajni Kothari (1970). While using a frame of comparative politics,
he theorized that Indian political democracy is a different political system that cannot
be understood by the dominant Western models of that time. Indian political democracy was described by Kothari as a one-party dominant system because Congress was
voted time and again with an overwhelming parliamentary majority on plurality (not
majority) of votes in democratically contested elections. It was based on a peculiar
pattern of government-opposition relationship that produced a party system with
difference, which provided an interesting alternative to other existing party systems.
Dalit is a political category that includes many castes considered “untouchable” in
Indian society. In the Constitution they are clubbed under the category of Scheduled
Caste, though not all those within this category are “untouchable.” In order to bring
about social equality there are constitutional provisions on affirmative action/reservation.
Both these regions are frontier areas and have a loaded and violent history of secessionist
movements, which have continuously contested the making of India as a nation-state
after independence from British colonial rule. The Indian state has dealt with these

2008. 10. Oxford University Press. 2). and Yogendra Yadav. Chaudhury. thereby unleashing the deployment of “literal” suspension of “normalcy” in these regions in the decades since the 1970s. senior fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.” The Hindu. Adivasi in the Indian constitution are given the status of Scheduled Tribe and are entailed to reservation based on affirmative action. Jitendra Kumar from the Media Study Group.com/the- . 2013. “Far left” is generally used to describe underground armed groups that follow Maoist revolutionary strategies of protected warfare. They are also known as Naxalites or Maoists. though a large number of them have a history of indentured labor in colonial plantation economies and large numbers of them are constantly migrating to various cities in order to find livelihood. See “Upper Castes Dominate National Media. 2) (see also Kothari 1984). Shoma. and the idea of fundamental duties from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. “Democracy and Economic Transformation in India. References Banaji. emergency provision and suspension of fundamental rights from the Weimar constitution of Germany. 7. Beteille. 8. The largest underground armed party is known as the Communist Party of India (Maoist). February 22. “Reflections for a Future for the Left in India. India. 2012. Adivasi is term is used in India for indigenous people. In one sense it can be said that these people are those whose livelihoods are dependent on forest land and water and do not lives in cities. though this term does not capture the reality of these people.” Asian Democracy Review 1: 36-87 Chatterjee. While the form of parliamentary system was taken from British government.” Inaugural address to the founding conference of New Socialist Initiative. A substantial population of Adivasi women now work as domestic workers in cities like Delhi. http://www. 9. 2010. The survey was designed and executed by Anil Chamaria.” Economic and Political Weekly 43(16): 53-62.blogspot.” Tehelka Magazine 7(49). amendment with 2/3 majority in parliament from South Africa. Jairus. New Delhi. this category was used by Indian scholars.html.in/2013/03/nsi-founding-conference-reflectionson_12. among others. broadly speaking” (Nigam 2000. December 11. However. Caste Today. This term is not much in use today.124 INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013 conflicts in more than repressive ways. 1996. CADI (Consortium for the Asian Democracy Index). 2006.nsi-delhi. “Ratan Tata’s Supreme Court Petition on Nira Radia Tapes could Muzzle India. 6. the institution of an independent judiciary and fundamental rights were taken from Unities States. federal structure with a strong center from Canada. More specifically. New Delhi.tehelka. “The Asian Democracy Index: A Guide. a freelance journalist. but for a long time it was used to “refer to the movements and social struggles that burst forth on the scene in the 1980s. The survey mentions that there were no Dalits and Adivasis among the top 300 journalists. directive principle for state policy from the Irish constitution. the Indian state has “successfully” managed to retain electoral democracy in these areas. www. Adivasi in some sense can also mean the “primitive” communities. June 5. Andre. “to refer to a series of responses to problems in the formal political process that prevented the interests of a whole range of social groups and many significant issues from getting translated into the electoral calculus of party politics” (Nigam 2000. Partha.

2012. 2004.com/2006/06/05/stories/2006060504981400. 2009.com/opinion/columns/siddharth-varadarajan/welcometo-the-matrix-of-indian-state/article920054. http://kafila. New Delhi: Routledge India. November 29.org/2012/01/01/global-capital-compliant-nation-states-andtotalitarian-communities-three-formidable-barriers-to-the-advance-of-democracy-byravi-sinha/. New York: Columbia University Press. Jafferlot. Kaviraj.” April 13.” Paper prepared for the Project on State of Democracy in South Asia. Ayesha. Subhash.thehindu.com/news/national/ out-of-school-children-and-dropout-a-national-emergency-unicef/article4611287. 1970. “Is India Becoming More Democratic?” The Journal of Asian Studies 59(1): 3-25. Allahabad. http://www. The Hindu (Staff Reporter).ece . http://www.CHANDER.thehindu. Lokniti (Programme of Comparative Democracy). Ashutosh. 2000.htm. ———. Sinha. “Upper Castes Dominate National Media. Kalyan K. The Hindu. January 1. “The Non-Party Domain in Contemporary India. “Non-Party Political Process in India. State Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in Global Periphery. 2003.” Keynote address to the Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy.” Economic and Political Weekly 44(51): 35-39. State and Capital: The Unthought of the 20th Century Marxism. 2007. “Democracy. Varadarajan. Christopher. Jalal. “Three Formidable Barriers to Advance of Democracy. The Enchantment of Democracy and India . Siddharth. Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia . Rajni (ed). 2006. Sudipta. Aditya. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press. New Delhi: Pharos Media.” Economic and Political Weekly 19(5): 206-224 Nigam. Godse’s Children: Hindutva Terror in India . Ravi. 2011. Gatade.hindu.democracy-asia. Caste in Indian Politics. www. 1995. ———. The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India.org/qa/india/Aditya%20Nigam. Rethinking Capitalist Development: Primitive Accumulation. 2013. 1993. HUSSAIN 125 silence-of-the-lambs/. “Welcome to the Matrix of the Indian State”. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press. “Out of School Children and Dropout a National Emergency: UNICEF.” June 5. New Delhi: Permanent Black. http://www. 1984. 2010. 2013.pdf. Kothari. Hyderabad: Orient Longman. Varshney. Atul. Sanyal. The Hindu (Special Correspondent). Kohli. Governmentality and Post-Colonial Capitalism.ece.

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College of Social Sciences and Philosophy.7 percent growth in 1988). University of the Philippines Diliman. BAQUIRAN Introduction By its midterm in 1989. ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. Our swift democratization was done against the advice that I reserve emergency powers in the face of rising military adventurism and communist terrorism. College of Arts and Sciences. however. REYES. and caused poverty to decline significantly since 1985—or at least Cory Aquino claimed these achievements in her fourth (1989) state of the nation address (SONA). But I believed then-and time has proved me ____________________________________________________________ Clarinda Lusterio Berja is assistant professor at the Political Science Program of the Department of Social Sciences. University of the Philippines Diliman. University of the Philippines Manila. Joshua Hans B. Several other figures showing socioeconomic development peppered that speech—a typical feature of Philippine SONAs. caused unemployment to decline significantly since 1985 (the year before Aquino took office). College of Social Sciences and Philosophy.Democratization Halfway through the Term of Another President Aquino: The 2013 ADI Survey in the Philippines CLARINDA LUSTERIO BERJA. of something she did not quantify—her administration’s political achievements: In little over a year. JOSHUA HANS B. 3 (2014): 127-149 ISSN 2244-5633 . President Corazon “Cory” Aquino’s administration had “revived a dead economy” (posting a 6. Cory Aquino was proudest. we uprooted a dictatorship and planted the freest democracy in the world – with all its good and bad features. Miguel Paolo P. MIGUEL PAOLO P. Reyes is university research associate at the Third World Studies Center. placed virtually all school age children in school. We held elections that were the freest and most participative in the history of this – perhaps of any – republic in the world. Baquiran is a Master of Arts in History candidate at the Department of History.

prefers his administration’s conceptual anchor to be the “straight path” (tuwid na daan/landas). no other Philippine president has been able to make similar claims. seems to be focused on ridding the bureaucracy of corrupt and inefficient officials. and ensuring the rule of law. or that structural changes are unnecessary—his administration’s main task is to ensure that it is in excellent working condition for the sake of his “bosses.2 and the like— Aquino could always fall back upon those post-dictatorship accomplishments as her main legacy to her constituents. which. or at least the resumption of Philippine democratization. the Mendiola Massacre. the ouster of Marcos lead to the dismantlement of government monopolies. such as the following highlighted in his last SONA: the 7. Cory Aquino believed that her administration’s greatest achievement was still the restoration of democracy. the grant of spaces for civil society to have greater engagement in policy formation. directly or indirectly harking back to the gains of the Cory Aquino presidency. the attainment of “investment grade status from two of the most respected credit ratings agencies in the world. Based on Noynoy Aquino’s pronouncements. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. Indeed. based on his statements.” the Philippine citizenry.” and the four million families benefitting from the government’s conditional cash transfer program (B. equitably distributing wealth.1 the persistence of human rights violations. he seems to believe that Philippine democracy is already secure.8 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the first quarter of 2016. It seems that whatever crisis her administration faced—whether the “military adventurists” and “communist terrorists” she mentioned. Democracy is our faith and the root of our strength to defend it. Aquino 2013). are figures and ratings indicating economic growth and social inclusion. Curiously. the restoration of press freedom. her son’s SONAs are among those who buck this trend. Still important to him. the restoration of democratic government institutions.128 PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013 right-that this nation shall find no greater source of strength to defend democracy than in the enjoyment of all its rights and liberties. elected in 2010. (C. Nevertheless. . however. and numerous other changes that placed Philippine democratization back on track—all of which happened under Aquino’s watch. Aquino 1989) Over three years after the EDSA Revolution that toppled the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship. almost every SONA of every Philippine president since Cory Aquino contain direct references to a democracy that must be protected or respected. Certainly.

” with the caveat that these gains are being achieved “with a slow pace” (2013). as this year marks the Noynoy Aquino administration’s midterm. One assessment from a political watchdog nongovernmental organization (NGO) stated that three years of the Noynoy Aquino administration “only entrenched elite governance. Moreover. given that the actual GDP growth is far from target. a “coalition of citizens and organizations that was organized to build a constituency for better governance. The Philippine team was particularly interested in completing an ADI survey round in 2013.” the Noynoy Aquino government is “making gains in delivering what the president has promised.” as “he has done no institutional reforms . and that overall. Lastly.which are the call of the times . while the remaining 55 percent were categorized as Right-Right leaning. the barangay. Indonesia.and never will he” (CenPEG 2013). In October.REYES. the Philippines remains the poorest among the ASEAN-5 economies (the Philippines. twelve senators and all other elected officials from members of the House of Representatives down to local government officials in the city or municipality level were elected. Asian Democracy Index (ADI) assessments in the Philippines have been ongoing since 2011.” as Cory Aquino did? Or are those who say that the Aquino administration is performing poorly in steering the Philippines toward substantial democracy correct? What do specialists on these matters collectively think? The 2013 ADI Survey in the Philippines: Methodological Notes Our 2013 Asian Democracy Index (ADI) survey data were generated from a total of twenty-nine experts. A professor from the UP School of Economics gave President Noynoy Aquino only a “passable” score in economic development in his first three years in office. Malaysia. elections were be held for posts at the lowest administrative unit level. the growth Aquino boasts of is not inclusive (Diokno 2013). and Singapore). Thailand. Are the abovementioned apparent beliefs of Noynoy Aquino regarding Philippine democracy justified? Is it no longer necessary to explicitly invoke democracy as the people’s “faith. according to the Movement for Good Governance. about a year into Noynoy Aquino’s term. BAQUIRAN 129 Many are convinced that that is not the case. BERJA. To reiterate the Philippine team’s heuristic categorization of respondents. We categorized 45 percent of these experts as Left-Left leaning. . 2013 is an election year—in May.

economics. “are not affiliated with the government or any academic institution. at the same time are avowedly supportive of “socialist” socioeconomic policies are classified as left-left leaning. and ideological leaning can be found in table 1. Survey Methodology Sample Selection and Respondent Profile As in previous years. for the 2013 survey. publications. as some of them were involved in the elections in various capacities. such as candidate.130 PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013 In classifying whether a respondent is [(extreme) Left-Left Leaning (L-LL)] or [(extreme) Right-Right Leaning (R-RL)] the research team made the following assumptions: 1) those who are known (by their reputations.) to exhibit critical or dissenting opinions against the Philippine government and its policies. members of which. Berja. nongovernmental/civil society organizations (NGOs/ CSOs). campaign manager. the most notable of which is the aforementioned 2013 elections—many potential respondents were expected to be unavailable until after the elections. 2) those who have worked for the Philippine government. or twice the prescribed minimum for a national ADI survey. as we have stated before (Reyes.” The experts were then categorized according to their ideological leanings (L-LL or R-RL). and Saturay 2012. and Socrates 2012. While clearly we failed to meet our target sample size. and/or subscribe to the government’s “neoliberal” socioeconomic policies are classified as right-right leaning. (Reyes. tracking poll manager. The respondent profile according to field. and election watchdog head. which is our way of trying to keep our data potentially comparable with that of other teams while making possible a set of respondents that are evenly divided in terms of ideological categories. etc. all of whom can be considered experts in politics. 125). nor are primarily affiliated with NGOs/CSOs. or civil society. As in the previous survey. institutional affiliation. either in the bureaucracy or as consultants. our target sample size was fifty-four. the Philippine research team made a long list potential respondents. 138) The Philippine team encountered a number of challenges in data collection this year. Berja. our sample is still in excess of the common CADI minimum and is still a fair mix of L-LL and R-RL individuals. The list includes experts from the academe. . and what the team refers to as the private sector.

the majority of the filled-out questionnaires were returned to us by early August 2013. The team sent a total of ninety invitations to potential respondents. less than a month after the 2013 local-legislative elections until a few weeks after the October barangay elections. time. and Mindanao. The quantitative-qualitative ADI questionnaires—each corresponding to one of the three ADI fields—that the Philippine team has been using since 2011 were again the study instruments. The rest of the respondents answered the questionnaires that were sent (mostly by email) on their own. of L-LL 1 1 1 2 1 0 3 1 3 13 NO. Most of them were given a deadline extension if they failed to submit on time. Four of the fifteen 2011-2012 “panelists”—those who participated in . just before the so-called “million people’s march” in Manila against the heavily abused “Priority Development Assistance Fund” (the latest euphemism for Congressional discretionary funds) (Mangosing et al. Only one face-to-face interview was conducted in 2013. However. and resources made it difficult for the researchers to conduct face-to-face interviews. Data Collection The survey ran from June to November 2013. 2013). the 2013 survey includes respondents from all of the country’s three major island groups: Luzon.REYES. BERJA.. BAQUIRAN Table 1. of R-RL 1 3 2 3 3 2 0 1 1 16 Geographic Coverage As with previous surveys. constraints in distance. though most of the respondents were at the time of data collection based in the National Capital Region/Metropolitan Manila. Most of the respondents were given on average one week to return their filled-out survey instruments. Respondent Profile Field Affiliation Politics Academe NGO/CSO Private Sector Economy Academe NGO/CSO Private Sector Civil Society Academe NGO/CSO Private Sector 131 NO. Visayas. As before.

this may have been due to respondent fatigue (since they have been answering the same survey instrument every year since 2011). For others. the aggregate ratings in every subprinciple under economy went up. but even then the (dismally low) score economic pluralization received remains the lowest among all the field subprinciple scores. table 3 shows the overall results of the 2012 survey. the highest since the 2011 pilot test. or that the Philippines’ “vibrant” civil society is in fact growing weaker. The aggregate scores of every subprinciple in politics and civil society clearly went down. 52. the Philippine team complied with the analytical method delineated in the latest version of the ADI Guidebook (CADI 2012). which we will dwell upon in relation to the ratings in the following field-based subsections. Findings Table 2 summarizes the preliminary estimates derived from the results thus far of the 2013 CADI ADI survey in the Philippines. For some. For reference. does this increase suggest that what can be construed as SONA spin is actually true? Is trickle-down economics actually working in the Philippines? Or is this rise in ratings attributable to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the 2013 economy survey respondents are right leaning? If one focuses only on the decline in figures. Such interpretations are tempered by the optional explanatory comments. The overall refusal rate (including those who constructively refused or withdrew their participation) for 2013 is 67. Interestingly. it may have been partly due to work they had to do in connection to the elections.78 percent of previous respondents explicitly or constructively refused to/were unable to participate or withdrew participation from the 2013 survey. Analytical Method As in last year’s survey. Taking into account Noynoy Aquino’s statements on the Philippines’ supposedly improving economic fundamentals. one might think that the respondents are generally of the opinion that the 2013 elections were questionable.78 percent.132 PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013 both the 2011 and 2012 survey rounds—stated that they could not participate in the 2013 survey round due to previous commitments or did not reply to the team’s invitations. .

47 5.99 Subprinciple Indices REYES.49 L = 5.01 Politics Table 2.00 L = 4.29 5.56 3.93 4.70 E = 4.91 5.30 4.11 4.92 4.92 Civil Society 4.48 L = 5.02 Core Principle Indices Philippine ADI = 4. BAQUIRAN 133 . Estimates of Democracy Indices (Philippines 2013) E = 4.38 5.46 4. BERJA.98 Fields Economy 5.95 2.87 3.13 E = 3.77 4.17 4.70 5.Democracy Indices Equalization (E) Liberalization (L) Core Principles Autonomy Competition Pluralization Solidarity Subprinciples 5.

Democracy Indices Equalization (E) Liberalization (L) Core Principles Autonomy Competition Pluralization Solidarity Subprinciples 4.50 L = 5.55 5.30 E = 5.25 Fields Economy 6.14 3.48 4.34 Politics Table 3.85 L = 5.84 6.12 Core Principle Indices Philippine ADI = 4.88 5. Estimates of Democracy Indices (Philippines 2012) E = 5.84 5.43 4.64 Civil Society 4.68 4.11 5.28 4.65 5.22 Subprinciple Indices 134 PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013 .70 5.39 E = 3.31 L = 4.30 2.10 4.00 4.

though one L-LL and two R-RL respondents thought that it is occurring far less frequently now than it has during recent memory. The difference in the scores between political liberalization and equalization from 2011 to 2013 is smaller in 2013 than in previous survey rounds. Political Autonomy Most of the political survey respondents pointed out that violence from elements of the state still persists.REYES. however. remain in power.. This is borne out by a closer examination of the qualitative data per subprinciple under the political field. Although we have less to “work with” this year.” Another L-LL respondent went so far as to state that “[in] the Philippines’ social context. i. only farcical opposition that does not rock the boat. the mean score in liberalization is higher than that of the equalization score. suggesting that the opinion summations made below are fairly valid. one L-LL respondent even saw fit to describe political parties in the Philippines as “electoral machinery set up by powerful professional politicians to get themselves elected into power. it was . Opposition against the state is seen as generally permissible. . BERJA. The respondents were also generally of the opinion that citizens generally enjoy basic freedoms such as freedom of assembly. is. the existence of legislation guaranteeing political freedoms are increasingly being perceived as insufficient evidence that political de-monopolization is successfully proceeding in the Philippines.” The latter is an outlying opinion. we cannot downplay the value of what insights we did receive from our astute and highly knowledgeable respondents. suggesting increasing political cynicism. no real opposition movement is allowed. whether or not the state listens to those who publicly assemble is another matter.4 in 2011. Politics In the field of politics. and extend their power by dynastic expansion. though some of the respondents said that no genuine political opposition exists.03 in 2013. BAQUIRAN 135 Before proceeding any further. Figure 1 shows that there are few (though distinct) outliers among the respondents of the 2013 politics survey in the Philippines.09 in 2012. which is consistent with the results of previous survey rounds.e. and . . however. it should be noted that the 2013 respondents—whether frequent participants or “new blood”—gave less comments than the respondents of previous surveys. so to speak.

especially the partylist representatives). the respondents were generally of the opinion that public consultations and other displays of “participatory governance” generally do not result in marginalized voices having a say in policy formulation. As one R-RL respondent stated. Lastly. As one R-RL respondent noted. “[we] have public hearings in [Congress] on issues under [deliberation. how] well our parliamentarians listen to the public is a different story.” One respondent highlighted the continuing failure of Congress to pass the Freedom of Information Bill.” . Many of the respondents noted how oligarchs and other traditional elites generally control the legislature and that there are no ideologically defined political parties to speak of (though there are many in Congress who [claim to] represent particular sectoral interests. “transparency has never been a word one associates with government.136 PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Figure 1. Mean Scores in the Political Field Per Subprinciple Political Pluralization As regards the indicators in the political pluralization field subprinciple. most of our respondents agreed the tripartite system of checks and balances appears to—but actually rarely—functions well.

Also worth highlighting is the low to middling scores of the respondents to the item corresponding to the affirmative action attribute—a clear slide downward in opinion from last year on the matter of the state looking out for the welfare of the marginalized. they thought that the same cannot be said of the government’s relationship with local elites. as previously mentioned. Congress. This continuing condition. On the other hand. see figure 2. there seem to be few consistent outliers among the economic specialist set. Economy As in previous ADI surveys. which may. but they all agreed that generally. be primarily due to the dominance of R-RL respondents. which reflects continuing widespread inequality in the Philippines. For a graphic representation of how our respondents rated the items in the economy survey. the far-below-the-median economic pluralization score continues to bring down the overall economic index. There were conflicting accounts on voter turnout by R-RL respondents. our experts were divided on citizen participation in political processes (the right-leaning experts generally believed that due to their participation in elections and frequent vocalization of their complaints. economic liberalization still scored better than economic equalization in 2013. political participation by Philippine citizens is fairly commendable). One R-RL respondent noted that the “local oligarchy has far more influence than foreign capital” on the Philippine economy. BAQUIRAN 137 Political Solidarity As regards the indicators in the political solidarity field subprinciple. BERJA. . citizens have a high degree of trust in the executive (especially President Noynoy Aquino).REYES. thus annuls any overall positive evaluation of the Philippine economic field. Economic Autonomy The respondents did not reach consensus as regards political influence on private companies. though voter turnout is in truth fairly high in the Philippines. likewise on how well prohibitions against forced labor are enforced. As in the political field. and democracy as an ideal. there was a generally middling opinion of how well labor rights are guaranteed and a shared belief that the government is not highly influenced by foreign capital (though one of the L-LL respondents seriously disagrees). However.

Economic Pluralization Regarding the economic pluralization field subprinciple.138 PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Figure 2. therefore evaluated negatively. income. and asset disparity was seen as very high. overall. Mean Scores in the Economic Field Per Subprinciple Economic Competition Among the series of indicators concerning economic competition. many of them note. On labor laws. disclosure to the Security and Exchange Commission. Save for one respondent. with one of them highlighting contractualization and labor commodification as a statesupported stance. some of the R-RL respondents (of a libertarian bent) thought that labor laws are “overprotected” in the Philippines. is selective. economic. The L-LL respondents rated labor rights protection from 0-5. ideological divides become fairly well-drawn. Meanwhile. They also believe that competition among small and large companies is generally poor because of unbridled monopolization. the respondents had varied opinions on how transparent private companies are. None of them believed that Philippine companies are highly transparent. by the respondents. the lone wolf respondent contended that inequality is a . most of our respondents were of the opinion that economic power is largely only in the hands of a small elite.

That same L-LL respondent was an outlier on the subject of labor market discrimination. the item scores given were relatively lower than the scores in previous years. That R-RL respondent also believed that urbanization and development will eventually reach today’s poor provinces/regions). Consequently. think people in NGOs show more enthusiasm as regards this matter than government and the general public. which is partly characterized by. Some of the respondents. Civil Society The difference between the scores for civil society liberalization and civil society equalization is proportionally similar to the difference in the scores for the same field principles in previous surveys. BERJA. union activities are “discouraged” in the Philippine workplace. Figure 3 shows that the respondents generally agreed in their evaluation of the conditions/situations covered by civil society competition. Economic Solidarity As regards the field subprinciple of economic solidarity. but were somewhat split on the matters contemplated by the other civil society subprinciples.” thus economic inequality in the Philippines is generally acceptable. There is a middling evaluation of social insurance programs but they generally think that labor unions are poorly organized. “glaring” abject poverty. though. The respondents added that public monitoring of private companies hardly exists. noting that “labor inequality still exists” despite legislation that aims to combat it. in his opinion. Lastly.REYES. while the others stated that labor market discrimination is not a very serious problem in the Philippines. and how. This is probably contributes to the persistence of poor compliance to labor protection laws. however. they contended that the general public is not or largely losing enthusiasm in eliminating economic inequality. this respondent gave a 0 to the item corresponding to that indicator. these labor unions have little influence on central government policies and hardly participate in management processes. . in the words of one L-LL respondent. at least for government-led efforts toward that aim. BAQUIRAN 139 “natural thing. The others simply relied on current objective reality. in the current survey. as previously mentioned. the experts in the Philippine economy agreed that support systems for the poor exist and have short-term positive effects but they are divided in their opinion as to its long-term effects.

Mean Scores in the Civil Society Field Per Subprinciple Civil Society Autonomy According to most of the civil society survey respondents.” They also believed that the few government-supported NGOs/CSOs that exist have some influence on society (since many of them have members in key government posts) but this influence remains limited. our civil society survey respondents share the view that the state fails to meet citizens’ basic needs (and if at all.140 PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Figure 3. the following observations applied for indicators in the civil society autonomy field subprinciple: NGOs/Civil Society Organizations are generally free from government interference. already had some observable positive outcomes. All respondents noted that private companies have a high degree of influence in Philippine society (though NGOs are relatively free from such influence). which. The two who thought otherwise cited the state’s Conditional Cash Transfer program. but they can be censored by political forces. by the time of our survey. one R-RL respondent reminded us that there is a Cybercrime Prevention Act that might be used to “muzzle Internet freedom. largely for political purposes). The majority thought that access to education in the Philippines is limited (though one . Save for two. as shown in the prevalence of poverty in the country.

noted how “personalistic” some NGOs have become. affiliations.” though one of them defended NGOs as “[promoters of] democratic values such as participation and transparency. the 2013 respondents say that affirmative action programs—if they exist at all—are largely ineffective in the Philippines. and how embezzlement has happened within “big organizations. Lastly. who gave a rare 10 to the item about concerned with citizen’s participation in civil society work.” Generally. The majority acknowledge that there is a fairly wide information gap (even with new information communication technologies such as social media sites) and that there are hardly any cultural facilities to speak of (though one L-LL respondent noted that access to cultural facilities is hardly a “bread and butter” issue for the majority). Lastly. BAQUIRAN 141 L-LL and all the R-RL respondents think it is adequate). and beliefs. .” Overall. says one R-RL respondent. the respondents are divided on NGO influence and internal democratic processes—one of the R-RL respondents thought that NGOs/CSOs are highly influential in society. the L-LL respondents gave far less praise to these organizations in terms of influence and “internal democracy.REYES. Civil Society Competition Regarding the civil society competition subprinciple. with the majority saying that it is generally free (three L-LL respondents beg to differ. and a very poor distribution of power throughout the country (though less so. and function very democratically even within networks. a point of near-consensus—save for two in the L-LL camp— our respondents think that Philippine society is by and large tolerant—even respectful—of people of different backgrounds. an NGO/CSO member himself. however. Save for one R-RL respondent. Civil Society Pluralization Moving on to responses related to the civil society pluralization: our respondents are divided on media fairness. all of our respondents agree that NGOs/CSOs are numerous but do not attract a significant number of citizen (non-member) participants. BERJA. in urban areas). while the other R-RL respondent. all of them believe that NGOs/CSOs are representative of people’s interests and are by various measures diverse. giving scores of “3” to the item on media freedom). particularly when juxtaposed with the government. Civil Society Solidarity As regards civil society solidarity.

The following summation of findings generally still applies: 1) while measures—legal or otherwise—to assure the continuation of democratization in the political. and civil society fields exist. many of the two-/three-time respondents gave comments to the effect of “same as last year” or “not much change from before. Speaking as observers/scholars in the fields of Philippine politics. and Socrates 2012. Berja. overall.” We hardly expected the contrary. to combat those who would rather keep the status quo. the implementation of these measures is poor or negligible. (Reyes. 163-164) Indeed. The doors to successful sustainable de-monopolization are open…but the few who struggle to keep them open are barely able. economics. despite the increase in the scores in the economic field.” In fact. have some influence in government policymaking—a high amount of influence. even if monopolies are anathema according to the law and popular belief. and civil society ourselves. economic. the problems of Philippine democratization mentioned by our 2013 crop of respondents are the perennial problems stated by themselves or those before them since the ADI survey was first conducted in the Philippines. 2) government corruption and other abuses of power are checked in principle both by governmental and nongovernmental bodies. 3) there is also a dearth of legislation and other means to ensure transparency and accountability among nongovernmental power holders. if at all. are consistent with those of the 2011 and 2012 surveys.142 PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013 our respondents thought that NGOs. we . especially at the local government level. the latter highlighted how the Aquino administration is working closely with NGOs/CSOs to “alleviate poverty. as per the R-RL group and one L-LL respondent. [O]ne can validly conclude that there is a lack of significant united opposition to multi-field monopolization in the country.” Summary of Findings and Analysis The results of 2013 survey. 4) coordination among the means and agents to address inequality in power and resource distribution in all the aforementioned areas of society is lacking. but such abuses persist because these monitoring mechanisms are poorly implemented. Hardly any of the respondents gave comments along the lines of “this situation has been alleviated” or “it is much better now.

Meanwhile. we know that many politicians were as “traditional” as they come. but. and abuse of suspects. Lastly. corporate wealth. BAQUIRAN 143 are well aware that the advances trumpeted by the country’s second President Aquino in his 2013 SONA obscure certain undeniable facts. has an inefficient and “dirty” judiciary. having participated in these elections and having lived through the campaign season circus. kidnappings. and senior members of legal left-wing political parties”(Freedom House 2013). We know that elections may have become somewhat more credible thanks to automation. the above quoted overall assessment may not change even if our team had obtained data from more respondents. While Freedom House (2013) noted that in the Philippines.numerous killings of leftist journalists. in EIU’s democracy index. Moreover. and political power”.REYES.” Freedom House (2013) also emphasized that trafficking of women for forced labor remains a major problem in the Philippines. as numerous studies/well-informed journalistic accounts have shown (e. with their “volunteers” distributing “sample ballots” with their names emphasized outside election precincts. Rood 2013). while it did note that “Philippines is one of the few countries in Asia to have significantly closed the gender gap in the areas of health and education. such as the still egregious gap between the very few rich and the immense poor. Two such assessments—from Freedom House and the Economist Intelligence Unit—are shown in table 4. government censorship is not a major issue as media institutions are allowed cover controversial topics and criticize the government. e..g.. labor leaders.” It also noted that the country has “a few dozen leading families [that] continue to hold an outsized share of land. disappearances. The 2013 Freedom House Report described the rule of law in the Philippines as “generally weak. the Philippines was ranked sixty-nine out of 167 states in 2012.. Soft Validation of Results If outside assessments of Philippine democracy or the substantive constituents thereof are any indication. it also observed that observes that “newspaper reports often consist more of innuendo and sensationalism than substantive investigative reporting” while describing state-owned television and radio stations as lacking strict journalistic ethics. dynasties still rule in the Philippines even after an election during a “reformist” administration. Mendoza et al. This is the second-highest ranking .g. forming a set that is more clearly bifurcated along ideological lines (L-LL and R-RL). BERJA.. and the extent of authority afforded to the military therein has led to “arbitrary detention. 2013.

2011-2013 Index 2011/2012 2012/2013 rating rating Freedom House 3. and political power”. the Philippines remains categorized as a “flawed democracy. and senior members of legal left-wing political parties” (Freedom House 2013).0 – Partly Freedom in the Free Free World (2012) (2013) Economist 6. Assessments of Philippine Democracy/Freedom. and the extent of authority afforded to the military therein has led to “arbitrary detention. disappearances. weak democratic cultures.0 – Partly 3. government censorship is not a major issue as media institutions are allowed cover controversial topics and criticize the government. labor leaders. in EIU’s democracy index.3 – Flawed Intelligence Unit Democracy Democracy Democracy Index (2011) (2012) Sources: EIU (2011..” Countries within this category have been characterized by low levels of political participation. corporate wealth. and significant backsliding in recent years in some areas such as media freedoms (EIU 2012.. the Philippines was ranked sixty-nine out of 167 states in 2012. and abuse of suspects.” It also noted that the country has “a few dozen leading families [that] continue to hold an outsized share of land. 5). 8). While Freedom House (2013) noted that in the Philippines. (2012. has an inefficient and “dirty” judiciary. Lastly. Meanwhile.” Freedom House (2013) also emphasized that trafficking of women for forced labor remains a major problem in the Philippines. kidnappings.numerous killings of leftist journalists.144 PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013 achieved by the country since the Index was created in 2007. Freedom House (2012). 5). However.12 – Flawed 6. Table 4. (2013) The 2013 Freedom House Report described the rule of law in the Philippines as “generally weak. it also observed that observes that “newspaper reports often consist more of innuendo and sensationalism than substantive investigative reporting” while describing state-owned television and radio stations as lacking strict journalistic ethics. while it did note that “Philippines is one of the few countries in Asia to have significantly closed the gender gap in the areas of health and education. This is the second-highest .

The EIU thinks that Philippines has made no progress over the past five years in addressing this problem. BAQUIRAN 145 ranking achieved by the country since the Index was created in 2007. spreading the word about the problem of corruption through social media. 32). public officials/civil servants.654. Also worth mentioning here are the results of the 2013 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) of Transparency International (TI).REYES. and political parties were identified by the Philippine GCB respondents as the top three most corrupt institutions in the Philippines (TI 2013. 7). and their willingness to act against it (TI 2013. 3).000 respondents spread across 107 countries. weak democratic cultures.13 for political culture in 2012. and strength of autonomy between church and state (EIU 2012. The police. The GCB is based on an international survey of 114. 37). TI noted that in 2013. EIU refers to a “sufficient degree of societal consensus and cohesion to underpin a stable. 12 percent of the total number of Philippine respondents reported paying a bribe (TI 2013. These actions include: signing a petition asking the government to do more to fight corruption. The country scored 3.” By political culture.” Countries within this category have been characterized by low levels of political participation. According to EIU. BERJA. paying more to buy goods from a company that is clean/corruption-free. taking part in a peaceful protest or demonstration against corruption. 8). It examines the role of corruption in people's lives. However. Moreover. is still in the medium range. as previously mentioned. the same score it has posted since 2007. and is hardly any different—although increasing—from the overall score of the Philippines in the preceding five years (UNDP 2013). and significant backsliding in recent years in some areas such as media freedoms (EIU 2012. their personal views on corruption in their country. 40). the Philippines remains categorized as a “flawed democracy. specifically their experiences with bribery. 84 percent of the GCB respondents from the Philippines stated that they would partake in one of five actions against corruption (TI 2013. the Philippines was one of thirty-four countries whose citizenry believed that corruption had decreased in their country (TI 2013. the overall Human Development Index score of the Philippines. 35-36). Meanwhile. functioning democracy” as well as popular support and perception for democracy over other possible forms of government. joining an organization that works to reduce corruption as an active member. 34). the Philippines needs to seriously address its “weak political culture. and reporting an incident of corruption (TI 2013. In the 2013 . .

a scam involving a “bogus” NGO and the Priority Development Assistance Fund of certain legislators started drawing attention not only to misuse of government funds. and the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Law—that the specialists consulted thus far have hardly mentioned in their responses. says one Social Weathers Stations poll conducted just before the May 2013 elections (SWS 2013a). Then again.561 the Philippines has only progressed minimally to settle at its current level of 0.7 percent while the Philippines’ growth rate is only 16. Also. Countries categorized as Medium Human Development have been able to increase their HDI scores by 52. However.654 in 2012 (UNDP 2013. but also to NGO transparency and accountability. though most observers/scholars—both those we consulted for our survey and the external ones detailed above—find the state of democratization and related processes under the Noynoy Aquino administration disappointing. There is a possibility that these may affect the responses of respondents of future ADI surveys. based on a cursory comparison of headlines in 2010 and 2013. Also. at least according to one polling group—seventy-five percent of Filipinos were satisfied with the way Philippine democracy works. the public overall seems to feel that democracy is working better now than ever before. not that long ago.g.146 PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013 Human Development Index. the current dispensation is currently enjoying a reputation for passing landmark laws—e. the Reproductive Health Law. 143). higher than the average in Europe and Latin America. Historically. Speaking of the recent polls. .093 and remains in the category of Medium Human Development country. the Philippines has made very little progress in terms of human development. the survey conducted after the 2013 elections showed that 64 percent were still satisfied with democracy under Noynoy Aquino.. Over the last three decades the Philippines has increased its score by only 0. Its subpar performance is further highlighted when compared with similar countries within the same category. the local “mega-transnational” companies are getting bigger and bigger—one of them showing much interest in building an enormous media empire. there are fewer complaints of election-related fraud in the 2013 elections. about as many during his mother’s midterm (SWS 2013b). the new Sin Tax Law. Beginning in 1980 when it had an initial index score of 0.6 percent since 1980. the Philippines ranked 114 out of 186 countries being monitored (UNDP 2013. Lastly. 149). the undeniable political power/income/asset/information access inequality in the Philippines will make anyone think twice before saying that de-monopolization is progressing happily in the country.

leading to its substitution in government rhetoric by the “straight path. given how having panelists were not in the original research design. is suspended for this year.” However. the political system can best be described as a “non-democratic oligarchy” (Miranda et al. some who participated in three surveys.. the Philippines could still not be described as a democracy. It was decided that comparing the results of “panelists” would also be suspended this year because of the aforementioned decrease in the number of respondents who participated in all surveys and the likelihood that another modification in this subgroup or the emergence of similar subgroups will occur in the 2014 survey cycle (e. We believe that a meaningful comparison of the scores of frequent ADI survey participants can only be done after the last of the initial (guaranteed funded) four survey rounds of the project are completed. Conducting a statistical comparison of scores. as can be seen in tables 2 and 3. It may be that the younger President Aquino’s cessation of allusions to democracy as the faith of the Philippines is less a manifestation of democratic consolidation than the dilution of “democracy” as an aim. Concluding Thoughts With results like these. there will be some respondents who participated in all surveys. among other reasons. 2011.REYES. has been alluded to or directly stated elsewhere in this paper. the specialists consulted thus far think that Filipinos still have faith in democracy. BERJA. In fact.g. even after a dictatorship was overthrown. and so on). either from 2011 to 2013 or from 2012 to 2013. given the difference in the number of respondents (forty-six in 2012. BAQUIRAN 147 Comparison with Findings from the Previous Year (2012) It is difficult to compare the findings of the 2013 survey with that of the 2012 survey. most of the political scientists that we asked to review our 2011 and preliminary 2012 results had authored a book that essentially said that since the year Cory Aquino took the reins of government. In any case. 23). the changes in overall mean field subprinciple scores from 2012 to 2013 are minimal. it is hard to be optimistic about the state of Philippine democracy. . pending a re-examination of the value of conducting such tests given the abovementioned variability in respondent size per year. seventeen more than the respondents in 2013) and the relative unevenness in the number of respondents per sector (ideological as well as institutional affiliation) this year.

” In Forum for Rural Concerns – Human Rights Desk and National Council of Churches in the Philippines – Human Rights Desk.php?section=Opinion& title=Passable-first-half. and to emphasize that democratization is a continuous de-monopolization process that requires the participation of the entire citizenry. but also for those in the public who trusts that democracy will eventually come to the Philippines. the Philippine team is already more than happy to continue the survey. “Human Rights Violations After February 1986.ph/2013/07/22/english-benigno-s-aquino-iii-fourth-state-ofthe-nation-address-july-22-2013/. 36-87.open_file?p_doc_id=1034. Speech. 3 Years of Aquino Only Entrenched Elite Governance. “Passable First Half. CenPEG (Center for People Empowerment in Governance). Official Gazette.ph/1989/07/24/corazon-c-aquino-third-state-of-the-nation-address-july-241989/. EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit). Notes 1. 1987. Aquino.cenpeg. 2. http://www. 2013. http://www. Benigno III. over a dozen protestors were killed by government gunfire from anti-riot forces assembled on Mendiola bridge. Democracy Index 2012: Democracy at a Standstill. See Maglipon (1987) and Supreme Court (1993). Official Gazette. In a massive protest action for the implementation of a radical land reform program. https:// portoncv.se/Global/About%20Sida/S%C3%A5%20arbetar%2 0vi/ EIU_Democracy_Index_Dec2011. 2012. A Smouldering Land.bworldonline.-Can-Aquino-do-better?&id=74175. But it is also more than willing to help in a development of a tool kit that may have implications not only for policymakers and consultants. Quezon City: National Council of Churches in the Philippines.com/content.gov. 2013.html. FRC-HRD (1987) contains a long list of human rights violations committed during the first year of the Cory Aquino administration. State of the Nation Address. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index of Democracy. July 24.148 PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013 If only to highlight this faith. CADI (Consortium for the Asian Democracy Index). 2012. http://www.cv/dhub/porton. though reportedly there were instigators from communist rebels among the ranks of the protestors. Most sources say that the shooting was unprovoked.sida. 26-59. . Can Aquino Do Better?” BusinessWorld Online. FRC-HRD (Forum for Rural Concerns – Human Rights Desk). http:// www.” Asian Democracy Review 1. Diokno. 2011.gov. Corazon. a traditional protest site that leads directly to the presidential palace. 2013. July 30. “Human Development Index Trends 1980-2012. The State of the Nation. Benjamin. July 22.org/2013/governance/ july2013/3_years_of_Aquino_only_entrenched_elite_governance. 3. http://www.” published in the Human Development Report 2013.gov.por_global. ———. Calculations are based on figures provided in table 2.pdf. References Aquino. 1989. Speech. “The Asian Democracy Index: A Guide.

2013. or Progressing? The 2012 CADI Asian Democracy Index Survey in the Philippines. 1993. Holmes. Reyes. and Erika Rey-Saturay. http://www. Rivera. Rood. March 19. 2013.pdf.undp. 134-180. Chasing the Wind: Assessing Philippine Democracy. and Ronald D.html. Felipe B. Sandoval.lawphil. “The Mendiola Tragedy – January 22. and Matikas Santos. http://www. Clarinda Lusterio Berja. http://newsinfo. Reyes. http://www. Quezon City: National Council of Churches in the Philippines. Venida. Jamie Elona. Freedom in the World – Philippines..org/whatwedo/pub/global_corruption_barometer_2013.ph/ncs/12thncs/papers/ INVITED/IPS-11%20Governance%20Statistics/IPS -11_1%20Political% 20Dynasties%20and%20Poverty_Evidence%20from%20the%20Philippines. 2013b. “The CADI Asian Democracy Index: 2011 Country Report – The Philippines. 2012. 2012. Miguel Paolo. BERJA. 1-45. May 22. No.htm. Felipe. Celine Anastasia Socrates.REYES. ———. Ronas.ph/pr20130729.ph/ pr20130715.org/en/countries/profiles/ PHL. G. 1987. Supreme Court (Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines). Clarinda Lusterio Berja. Mangosing.transparency.net/judjuris/juri1993/ mar1993/gr_84607_1993. 2013. Families. Global Corruption Barometer. “Hundreds of Thousands Join People’s March Against Pork Barrel. http://hdrstats. Benchmarking the Performance of the Aquino Administration. Second Quarter 2013 Social Weather Survey: PNoy Satisfaction Rating Up to "Very Good" Net +64. Beja.freedomhouse. Asian Democracy Review 2. UNDP (United Nations Development Program). In Miranda. Maglipon. Ronald U. Kristine Angeli Sabillo. United Nations Development Program Human Development Report website. “Regressing. Victor S. Frances. Political Dynasties and Poverty: Evidence from the Philippines. http:// www. “Conceptualizing and Measuring Democracy. and David B. 2013. Stagnant.net/475165/ tens-of-thousands-join-peoples-march-against-pork-barrel.org/in-asia/2013/05/22/families-not-political-parties-still -reign-in-the-philippines/. Steven.” Philippine Daily Inquirer.com/doc/154735941/Benckmarking-thePerformance-of-the-Aquino-Administration-Year-3.html. org/report/freedom-world/2012/Philippines.R. 84607. http://asiafoundation. and Ma. In Asia. First Quarter 2013 Social Weather Survey: Satisfaction with How Democracy Works at Record-high 74% http://www. 123-158.scribd. i-xlii (insert).freedomhouse. SWS (Social Weather Stations).inquirer. Year 3. Edsel L. Mendoza. 2013. ———. Quezon City: The Philippine Commission on Human Rights and United Nations Development Programme. EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. Movement for Good Governance. http://www.gov. Philippines. Paper presented at the 12th National Convention on Statistics. Republic v. Freedom in the World – Philippines. http://www. Not Political Parties Still Reign in the Philippines. August 26. Julliane Love De Jesus. Yap..org.org. A Smouldering Land. 2013. October 1-2.sws. Mandaluyong City. Malaya C. http://www.” Asian Democracy Review 1.sws. Jo-Ann. Temario C. 2011. TI (Transparency International). Philippines Country Profile: Human Development Indicators. 2012. 2013. Miguel Paolo. 1987. 2013a.htm. Net Expectation that He Will Succeed an All-time High +27. Miranda. . BAQUIRAN 149 Freedom House.org/ report/ freedom-world/2013/Philippines.” In Forum for Rural Concerns – Human Rights Desk and National Council of Churches in the Philippines – Human Rights Desk.nscb.

JPG). 2013. taken by Ryomaandres.wikimedia. .ACKNOWLEDGMENT COVER PHOTO: “Million People March in Luneta against Pork Barrel.org/wiki/File: Million_People_March_in_Luneta_against_Pork_Barrel_22. downloaded from Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.” August 26.

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