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Citizens take part in a large demonstration for democracy in Bangkok, Thailand

Democracy in Southeast Asia: Achievements, Challenges, Prospects


High-level Summit in Kuala Lumpur to Examine the State of Democracy in Southeast Asia

  • The conference is a joint project of the Kofi Annan Foundation and the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)
  • It will produce a synthesis report with recommendations and actions points
  • It will build create a network of regional and pan-regional experts and practitioners
  • The conference will be opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the former President of Indonesia, and Yves Leterme, Secretary-General of International IDEA and former Prime Minister of Belgium
  • The Government of Malaysia will make a statement at the opening of the event.

The conference, entitled “Democracy in Southeast Asia: Achievements, Challenges, Prospects”, is initiated by the Kofi Annan Foundation and organised with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM). It will take place in Kuala Lumpur on 2 and 3 September.

“Elections without integrity cannot provide the winners with legitimacy, the losers with security and the public with confidence in their leaders and institutions”, says Kofi Annan, chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation. “This conference will provide a platform for much needed exchanges to deepen democracy throughout Southeast Asia”.

The objective of the Conference will be to share experiences, compare challenges and exchange best practices, to strengthen and work on the electoral integrity of the region, as well as the exchange of experiences to support democracy through peaceful elections with integrity and smooth transitions in Southeast Asia.

The conference will include representatives from governments, political parties, civil society organisations, academia and the media from countries across the region.

Countries represented include: Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Timor Leste, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

Surin Pitsuwan, former Foreign Minister of Thailand and former Secretary General of ASEAN, will close the conference with an address on 3 September.

Six panels will discuss the following issues: the relationship between economic growth and democratization; election monitoring bodies as a means of building trust and legitimacy in the political process; best practices in financing elections in democracies; securing elections; pluralism and identity politics in democracies; and the role of civil society organisations in ensuring respect for political rights. Click here for more information about the panelists and moderators.

The working groups’ key takeaways will be captured in a synthesis report that will be published subsequently. It will contain cutting-edge approaches strengthening electoral integrity throughout Southeast Asia.

Second, a cross-regional network of professionals, political actors, experts and civil society organisations will facilitate ongoing political dialogue in the region.

The programme of the conference is available for download here.

The conference can be followed via livestream on the Facebook page of SUHAKAM.

About the Kofi Annan Foundation’s Electoral Integrity Initiative:

Elections are the established mechanism for the peaceful arbitration of political rivalry and transfers of power. In practice however, many elections actually prove deeply destabilizing, sometimes triggering conflict and violence. The Kofi Annan Foundation’s Electoral Integrity Initiative advises countries and practitioners on how to strengthen the integrity and legitimacy of their electoral processes and avoid election related violence. Looking beyond technical requirements, the Foundation focuses on creating conditions for legitimate elections, making it possible to govern in a climate of trust and transparency.



This project was supported by the EUROPEAN UNION