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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

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, Citizens 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

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

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, among
other pieces, the country reports of the first three teamsfrom South
Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippinesto conduct an Asian Democracy
Index (ADI) survey in their country. These pioneering studies were
hardly uniform in form and content, though they collectively showed several
possible country-specific variations in the ADI methodology and what
one can reasonably derive from the ADI survey data.
The second issue of ADR contained four country reports; in addition to
the papers discussing the conduct of ADI surveys in the aforementioned
countries was a paper on pilot survey in Malaysia. In that issues, while the
South Korean, Indonesian, and Philippine country reports attempted to
compare survey results across (a brief expanse of) time, the Malaysian
study focused on examining the applicability of the survey in the Malaysian
context. While, as the other teams have, the Malaysian team raised several
reservations about the ADIs methodology, it did find that the surveys
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, 91). Indeed, for whatever
methodological misgivings that the ADI project might currently have, its
advocacy of democratization as de-monopolization (after Cho 2012)
makes it a unique counterpoint to preexisting means of evaluating or
measuring democracy, which all too often prop up Western liberal
democracy as an ideal.
____________________________________________________________

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. Since its formation in 2011, CADI members have been conducting annual perception
surveys of various local experts on politics, economics, and civil society to examine the
state of democratization in the said experts countries.

ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. 3 (2014): 1-3

ISSN 2244-5633

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. In this issue, in addition to the country
reports on the four countries previously mentioned, we can see the results
of the first ADI surveys conducted in Thailand and India. Thus, the ADI
project now spans East Asian states that underwent developmental
authoritarianism prior to (re)transitioning to democracy, post-colonial
democracies from South to Southeast Asia, countries that have (or are
currently experiencing) extended periods under some form of martial rule,
ethnically (super)diverse statesin short, the project now contemplates a
wider scope of that contentiously defined region called Asia.
If only because it further demonstrates the limitations and potentialities
of the ADI project, 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. 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. While many of the survey results
discussed here generally agree with the findings of other observers of
democratization in Asia, there are, at times, results that defy expectations,
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, economic, and civil society fields.
A brief walkthrough of the country reports is appropriate here. In
South Korea, according to Dongchoon Kim, Heeyeon Cho, Junghoon
Kim, Hyungchul Kim, Yooseok Oh, Hyunyun Cho, and Kwangkun
Lee, democracy has been downsized, as the results of the 2013 survey
hardly differ from those of previous surveys (e.g., certain civil liberties
remain restricted); one clear trend they highlight is the plunging score of
the variable called economic equalization, which suggests that economic
inequality is worsening in South Korea. Similarly, Sri Budi Eko Wardani,
Dirga Ardiansa, Muhammad Ridha, Julia Ikasarana, Anton Pradjasto,
and Inggrid Silitonga focus on how their survey results confirm that
oligarchic control over politics, the economy, and civil society in Indonesia
remains an everyday reality, even with the existence of anti-corruption
courts, increasing voluntarism, and the like. Clarinda Lusterio Berja,
Miguel Paolo Reyes, and Joshua Hans Baquiran relay how in the
Philippines, as in South Korea and Indonesia, democratization appears to
have by and large stagnated, with an allegedly reform-oriented administration, headed by the son of a democracy icon, failing to significantly weaken the grasp of monopolizers of power. Lastly, Andrew Aeria

CADI

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

Downsizing Democracy in South Korea:


Limited Liberty and Increasing Inequality
DONGCHOON KIM, HEEYEON CHO, JUNGHOON KIM,
HYUNGCHUL KIM, YOOSEOK OH, HYUNYUN CHO,
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. Democracy has been praised as the most
enduring and wisest of political arrangements that have appeared in history,
and is almost universally supported as an ideal. According to Barber, the
democratic government represents citizens daily exercise of power which
enables them to place checks on the abuse of power (2006, 110). Democracy
thus hinges upon granting citizens basic rights to liberty and equality.
Emphasizing civil rights as a key metric for deciding whether a
democracy is mature or in crisis, Charles Tilly (2007, 23-27) argues that
the greater the scope of protected civil rights the higher the level of equality;
the greater the extent of protection or liberty from arbitrary actions of the
state; and the higher the level of mutually binding discussions, the more
democratic a given society is. Scholars strenuously stress liberty and
equality as inalienable rights of the democratic citizen that must be
protected against all abuses of power. The strength of a democracy, in
other words, lies in its ability to protect these basic civil rights.
In assessing, normatively or empirically, the maturity, development,
or decline of a given democracy, it is thus crucial to analyze and determine
how well it protects liberty and equality in the fields of politics, economy,
and civil society.1
Using liberty and equality as key measures, what assessment can we
make of Korean democracy today? Is it progressing or regressing?
____________________________________________________________

Dongchoon Kim, Heeyeon Cho, Jungchoon Kim, Hyungchul Kim, Yooseok Oh,
Hyunyun Cho, and Kwangkun Lee are all from the Democracy and Social Movements
Institute of Sungkonghoe University.

ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. 3 (2014): 5-27

ISSN 2244-5633

SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013

In an effort to answer this question, we used the Asian Democracy


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

Total

Principle

Equalization

Liberalization

Politics

Field
Economy
Civil Society

4
4

Pluralization

Solidarity
18

19

16

20

15

18

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. Asian Democracy Index

KIM, CHO, KIM, AND OTHERS


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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. Violations of civil rights to liberty and equality were commonplace
sights throughout the five years of the conservative Lee Myung-bak
administration, and also the first six months of the current Park Geun-hye
administration. During this period liberty and equality took a step backward,
raising significant concerns across Korean society. 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 NISs involvement. In response,
opposition parties, activist organizations, 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. 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.
Increasing limits on the freedoms of expression and the press have
also been common features of the last several years. Freedom Houses
Freedom of the Press Index had assessed South Korea as having a free
press from 1993 to 2009, but has assessed the Korean press as only
partly free since 2010. Reporters without Borders, an organization of
journalists established in 1985 to promote freedom of the press, has been
publishing the Worldwide Press Freedom Index reports each year since
2002. The closer a countrys reading on this index to zero, the freer its
press. Conversely, the higher the reading, the less free its press. A survey
of South Koreas performance on this index between 2002 and 2012 shows
that the countrys reading suddenly began to rise under the Lee
Myung-bak administration. Reporters without Borders ranked Korea in the
fiftieth place among 179 countries surveyed in 2013, six ranks lower than the
forty-fourth place that the country obtained last year. The level of freedom of
the press has been declining steadily over the last several years (see figure 1).
Korea is also not free from the trap of intensifying corruption. Despite
the transition it has made to democracy, Korea still suffers from chronic and
pervasive practices of corruption and bribery. At the close of the Lee
administration, the corruption of the presidents relatives and cronies
surfaced. The most major incident involved the presidents older brother,
Lee Sang-deuk, who was eventually arrested. Since the current Park
Geun-hye administration came into power, widespread practices of
corruption and bribery surrounding the Four Rivers Project championed
by the Lee administration have been reported almost on a daily basis.

KIM, CHO, KIM, AND OTHERS

The corrupt state of Korean politics and society is well reflected in


Transparency Internationals Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). On
the CPI, Korea came in thirty ninth among 178 countries surveyed in 2009
and 2010, with scores of fifty-five points and fifty-four points, respectively. It
stepped down further to the forty-third position among the 182 countries
surveyed in 2011 with a score of fifty-four points. Although it managed
to raise its score by two points in 2012 to fifty-six points, its international
position declined by two ranks to the forty-fifth among 176 countries
surveyed. The deterioration of transparency in Korean society necessarily
harms the publics trust in the democratic enterprise itself and will
ultimately contribute more to the decline of democracy in Korea rather
than its consolidation.
The ongoing deterioration of socioeconomic equality has been posing a
major challenge to Korean society since the Asian Financial Crisis of 199798. Growing socioeconomic gaps are commonly blamed as major factors
contributing to rising rates of suicide and homicide. James Gilligans 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. If we took Gilligans argument and used the suicide rate as a
measure of socioeconomic inequality in Korea, inequality in Korea has
notably been worsening since 2009.
Figure 1. Trends in Freedom of the Press/Press Freedom Index Ratings

Sources: Freedom House 2013, Reporters without Borders 2

10

SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Figure 2. Suicide Rate in Korea, 2004-2011

Source: OECD 2013


The pervasive discrimination against non-regular workers, such as
contract-based and part-time employees, seriously threatens the project of
national integration which is crucial to the consolidation of democracy.
Despite the Korean courts ruling that sided with the reinstatement of the
unfairly laid-off workers of Ssangyong Motor Company, the company
still refuses to comply with the courts decision, thus dragging the messy
legal battle with the companys labor union for years.
Measuring Korean Democracy with the ADI in 2013
Index of Democracy in Korea, 2013

A survey of the index of democracy in Korea in 2013 shows the country


scoring 4.50 on an eleven-point scale. This mediocre score indicates that
the status of the Korean democracy still has a long way to go. The index
of liberalization is 4.96 while the index of equalization is 4.04, showing a
sizable gap between the development of liberty and the development of
equality in Korea. 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.
We compare the indices of liberalization and equalization in Korea to
examine how the two ideals have evolved in Korean politics, economy, and
society. The index of democracy in politics is 5.91, significantly higher than
its counterparts in civil society (4.30) and economy (3.43). The economy lags

KIM, CHO, KIM, AND OTHERS

11

far behind other fields in terms of liberalization and equalization, mainly as a


result of the neoliberal market policy pursued by the Lee administration.
Table 2. Index of Democracy in Korea, 2013
Politics

Economy

Civil Society

Total

Liberalization

6.48

3.67

4.75

4.96

Equalization

5.34

2.95

3.84

4.04

Index of Democracy

5.91

3.43

4.30

4.50

The conservative Lee administration lowered the corporate income


tax and loosened regulation from its very first days. It insisted that
redistribution was not possible without farther growth and the trickledown effect it would generate. 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. 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.
Figure 3. Trend in the Index of Democracy in Korea, 2011-2013

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. The index of
liberalization, in particular, has decreased from 5.53 in 2011 to 4.96 in
2013, reflecting the increasing restrictions of civil rights that are crucial to
procedural and representative democracy. 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; the weakening
of the protection of the right to assembly and unionization; the decline in
economic transparency; the increasing controversy over the unfairness of
the competition system in general; and the growing vulnerability of the
rights of minority groups.
The index of equalization has similarly been declining, from 4.33 in
2011 to 4.04 in 2013. Although the margin of difference is smaller than
the case with the index of liberalization, the declining index of equalization
nonetheless indicates that Korean democracy is growing more and more
non-egalitarian from year to year. The index of equalization reaches its
dearth in the economic domain at 2.95 reflecting the nature of the financial
and economic policies pursued by the last and current conservative
administrations. Both administrations have prioritized growth over welfare
and economic democratization without genuine regard for decreasing
economic inequality in Korea.
Responses and Characteristics
Politics

Given the significant difference in the extent of guarantees accorded to


liberty and equality in Korean politics, 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. 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.
The survey in 2013 yielded 5.91 for the index of democracy in
Korean politics, which is slightly higher than the 5.73 and 5.57 it scored
in 2011 and 2012, respectively. This suggests that democracy, at least in
the domain of domestic politics, has matured somewhat. Table 3
shows that both Korean politics has improved along both dimensions
of liberalization and equalization.

KIM, CHO, KIM, AND OTHERS

13

Table 3. Liberalization and Equalization in Korean Politics, 2011-2013


Index of
Year
Liberalization
Equalization
Democracy
2011

6.35

5.11

5.73

2012

6.33

4.82

5.57

2013

6.48

5.34

5.91

A comparison of the indices of liberalization and equalization in


Korean politics also shows that in 2013, as in 2011 and 2012, the principle of
liberty maintained its precedence over the principle of equality. The
persistent gap between liberalization and equalization indicates that
democracy in Korean politics is still mostly about procedural and formal
aspects. Yet the gap between the two processes has decreased slightly in
2013 from the gaps noted in 2011 or 2012.
The subprinciples of liberalization and equalization in 2013 show
that the level of autonomy has somewhat decreased from those measured
in 2011 and 2012, while the levels of competition and pluralization have
grown. The level of solidarity in 2013 is similar to the one in 2011, and
higher than the one in 2012.
As for autonomy, 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. 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, as defined
by Robert Dahl (1998) and Larry Diamond (1999), respectively.
Table 4. Autonomy, Competition, Pluralization, and Solidarity in Korean Politics,
2011-2013
Autonomy Competition Pluralization
Solidarity
Year

2011

6.86

5.83

4.86

5.36

2012

6.97

5.69

4.72

4.91

2013

6.78

6.17

5.36

5.31

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SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Table 5. Indicators of Democracy in Korean Politics, 2011-2013


Attribute

Indicator / Question

11. How well do you think 5.11 5.11 5.00


government agencies maintain
checks and balance?

Pluralization

Independence
and checks and
balances between
state power
apparatuses

Dispersion of
12. How well do you think the 4.78 5.00 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. How well do you think the


Parliament or the legislature
represent various social groups in
your country?
14. How fairly and rationally do
you think government agencies are
being implemented in your
country?
15. How actively do you think
citizens are participating in
elections and other political
decision making processes in your
country?
16. How well do you think
affirmative actions are established
and implemented in your country?
17. How much do you think the
public trust the government?
18. How much do you think the
public trust the Parliament/
Legislature?
19. How much do you think the
public trust Democracy?

............

4.78 3.89 5.11

4.78 4.89 5.56

7.00 4.44 5.33

4.33 4.44 5.11

4.00 4.67 4.67


4.11 3.78 3.78

7.33 7.22 7.67

KIM, CHO, KIM, AND OTHERS

15

Table 5. (continued)

Competition

Liberalization

Principles

Autonomy

Attribute

Indicator / Question

The level of the 1. 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. How well do you think the
citizens freedom is protected in
your country?
Freedom to
3. 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. 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 well do you think suffrage
the universal
of the citizens is protected in your
suffrage
country?
Efficiency of the 6. How well do you think all
state
government agencies implement
government policies in your
country?
The presence of 7. 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 6.89 6.67

7.22 7.33 7.11

7.11 7.44 6.89

6.56 6.22 6.44

8.22 7.11 7.89

4.33 5.00 5.67

4.00 3.78 4.33

The rule under 8. How well do you think the rule 5.33 5.22 6.22
the laws
of law is established in your
country?
Electoral fairness 9. How fairly do you think 7.78 7.67 7.56
elections are conducted in your
country?
Transparency
10. How transparent do you think 5.33 5.33 5.33
the operations of government
agencies are in your country?

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SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013

The level of competition, on the other hand, has increased between


2012 and 2013. All the sub-indicators of competition except for transparency
received higher scores in 2013 than they did in 2012. Especially noteworthy
were the score increases in the efficiency of the state (Q6), the presence of
a non-elected supreme power (Q7), and the rule of law (Q8). Electoral
fairness and competition, by contrast, received lower scores in 2013 than
they did in the previous two years, most likely reflecting the ongoing
controversy over the NISs involvement in the online campaigns of the
last presidential election held in 2012. As of August 2013, 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, a subprinciple of equalization, performed better in
2013 than it did in either of the two preceding years. The distribution of
power within the national legislature (Q12), political representation
(Q13), and the democratization of state organizations (Q14) all managed
to score higher in 2013 than they did in previous years. The mutual
independence and checks and balances among powerful organizations
(Q11), on the other hand, scored 5.00, which is lower by 0.11 points from
the previous years result.
Solidarity, the other subprinciple of equalization, managed to do
somewhat better than it did in 2012 but still lagged a bit behind the score
it obtained in 2011. The indicators of solidarity that continue to garner
rising scores are affirmative actions for minority groups (Q16) and trust
in democracy (Q19). Citizens trust in government and the legislature
(Q17 and Q18), on the other hand, have remained the same for the last
two years, albeit slightly higher than the score in 2011. 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.
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 performs poorly in the field of economy. The index in the
field of politics in particular was higher in 2013 than in the previous year,
while the index in the field of the civil society in 2012 was also higher than
in the previous year. In the meantime, the index in the field of economy
has continued to decline steadily over the last three years. This suggests
that peoples satisfaction is lowest when it comes to democratization in the
economic field.

KIM, CHO, KIM, AND OTHERS

17

Table 6. Liberalization and Equalization in the Korean Economy, 2011-2013


Index of
Year
Liberalization
Equalization
Democracy

2011

4.46

3.71

4.09

2012

4.51

3.17

3.84

2013

3.67

2.95

3.31

The index of democracy in the economy field in Korea is 3.31 in


2013, which is significantly lower than the 3.84 it scored in 2012 (see
table 6). The margin of decrease in economic liberalization (-0.84, from
4.51 to 3.67) is much greater than the margin of decrease in economic
equalization (-0.22, from 3.17 to 2.95).
As table 7 shows, the index of liberalization stayed more or less the same
along both indices of autonomy and competition from 2011 to 2012. Yet it
declined by a big margin in 2013. The liberalization of the economy fared
especially poorly under most questions in the 2013 survey, except for Q3,
which is on the ban on child and forced labor. The widening gap between
large corporations and smaller businesses, which reached its peak in the latter
period of the Lee administration, demonstrated that the flagrant neoliberal
and pro-business policy the Lee administration pursued had no trickle-down
effect. The situation eventually culminated in the establishment of the
National Commission for Corporate Partnership promoting greater equity
between large corporations and smaller businesses. Yet the continuing tension
between the government and the corporate community eventually forced the
Commissions first chairman, Jeong Un-chan, to resign from his post in
March 2012, exhorting the government and the corporate community to
outgrow their narrow perspectives. His resignation resulted in turning large
corporations habitually unfair treatment of smaller businesses into a major
social issue. 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. This scandal, involving a large
producer and distributor of dairy products that customarily forced its retailers
to suffer innumerable humiliations, incited the publics condemnation of
the gross socioeconomic and psychological inequality characterizing the
business community and Korean society at large.

18

SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Table 7. Autonomy, Competition, Pluralization, and Solidarity in the Korean


Economy, 2011-2013
Autonomy
Competition Pluralization
Solidarity
Year
2011

5.19

3.72

3.78

3.65

2012

5.14

3.89

2.58

3.75

2013

4.33

3.00

2.39

3.51

The Fair Trade Commission launched an investigation and prosecution


of Namyang Dairy Products in response. The investigation eventually went
on to embroil the distribution industry as a whole. The investigation goes
directly against the spirit of deregulation that marked the Lee administrations
economic policy and hinted at the new administrations willingness to get
involved in the market again. The answers to Q1 and Q6 reflect this
overall social atmosphere.
The level of the external autonomy of policy decisions (Q4) has also
dropped, given the fact that it is impossible to increase the external autonomy
of policy decisions when the world economy is being tightly integrated. Yet
the incident in May 2013 involving the meeting of President Park Geun-hye
with Dan Akerson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of General Motors,
illustrated the seriously compromised state of the Korean governments capability to make independent decisions. On his meeting with President Park,
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.
President Park eventually promised she would seek a solution to the
matter. Complicating the situation was the fact that the Korean judiciary itself
had earlier rendered a decision on what constituted a normal wage, which a
foreign CEO sought to overturn by making a personal appeal to the Korean
president. Although it is difficult to predict how this issue will pan out in the
future, settling the normal wage issue may well act as a measure of the
external autonomy of the Park administration.
Koreas score fell along almost all indicators of labor (Q2, Q3, Q7, and
Q8), except Q3. 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, contract-based forms of employment in an
effort to cut down their business costs. 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 peoples labor-related rights.

KIM, CHO, KIM, 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, mainly because the index of
equalization was so low to begin with. The only indicator of equalization
along which a marginal increase in score was noted was Q20, which is about
citizens awareness of inequality. 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, such as the strikes at Hanjin Heavy Industries and SsangYong
Motor Company as well as the Namyang Dairy Products humiliation.
Table 8. Indicators of Democracy in the Korean Economy, 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 much influence do you 4.78 5.22 4.00


think the political power/elite have
on the operation of private
companies in your country?

Economic
transparency

5. How transparent do you think


the corporate operations are in
your country?
6. How fair do you think the
competition between companies is
in your country?
7. How much effort do you think
the government is exerting to
protect and guarantee labor rights
in your country?
8. How well do you think private
companies protect/guarantee labor
rights in your country?

2. How well do you think labor 4.33 4.89 3.56


rights are established in your
country?
3. How well do you think the 5.78 5.67 5.67
prohibition of forced labor and
child labor is observed in your
country?
Autonomy of
4. How independent do you think 5.89 5.22 4.11
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
Governments
accountability

Corporate
accountability

4.22 4.33 3.22

3.67 3.44 2.78

3.56 4.11 3.00

3.44 3.67 3.00

20

SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Table 8. (continued)
Attribute

Solidarity

Equalization

Principles

Pluralization

Economic
monopoly

Indicator / Question

9. How much do you think the


economy is dominated by certain
groups in your country?
Regional
10. How serious do you think the
inequality
economic disparities/ inequality are
between regions in your country?
Inequality of 11. How serious do you think the
income
income disparity is in your
country?
Inequality of 12. How serious do you think the
asset
asset disparity is in your country?
Inequality of 13. How serious do you think
employment
discrimination is in the labor
market in your country?
The social
14. How well do you think support
security system systems for the poor are working in
your country?
15. How well do you think the
social insurance programs are
operated in your country?
The activity of 16. How well-organized do you
trade unions
think labor unions are in your
country?
17. How much influence do you
think labor unions have on the
policies of the central government
in your country?
18. How much do you think labor
unions
participate
in
the
management process in your
country?
Corporate
19. How well do you think public
watch
monitoring is carried out on the
corporate activities in your
country?
Awareness of 20. How enthusiastic do you think
reducing
the general public is about
inequality
improving the economic inequality
in your country?

2011 2012 2013


3.13 2.78 1.78

4.67 3.22 2.56

4.22 2.11 1.89

3.00 1.89 1.22


3.78 2.89 2.11

4.56 4.22 4.22

4.89 5.22 4.33

3.11 3.33 3.11

4.00 3.67 3.11

2.11 2.11 2.00

3.44 3.89 3.67

3.88 3.78 4.11

KIM, CHO, KIM, AND OTHERS

21

The rest of the indicators of equalization have remained either stagnant


(Q14) or have declined. 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; such was reflected in
the drop in solidarity.
The rest of the indicators of equalization have remained either stagnant
(Q14) or have declined. 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; such was reflected in
the drop in solidarity.
Monopolization and polarization are ongoing phenomena in the Korean
economy and both are problems that are unlikely to go away without
conscious political efforts. Should the government decide to divert at least a
little from the neoliberal movement of deregulation, it will necessarily have to
interfere with the management of corporations, which, in turn, may decrease
the index of liberalization, especially along the indicator of autonomy. Change
in the economic domain however is slower than its counterparts in politics and
civil society, and rarely produces visible results in a short period of time. It will
take some time before the mounting criticisms against monopolization and
polarization translate into actual legal and practical changes. This means that
the downward trend in the democratization of the Korean economy is likely to
continue for the foreseeable future.
Civil Society

Civil society represents the potential and strength of a given states


democracy. A high index of democracy in the civil society, notwithstanding
the low indices in other domains, suggests the health and potential of the
democratic enterprise in a given state.
The index of democracy in the Korean civil society read 4.30 in 2013.
It is quite a low score in a 0-10 scale. The score represents dire prospects
for the future of Korean democracy in general.
The index of liberalization in the Korean civil society measured 4.75,
which is significantly higher than the 3.84 the index of equalization in the
same field scored. This suggests that, while Korean civil society has managed
to achieve relatively greater independence from the political and economic
fields, the quality of democracy within civil society itself still remains in a
backward state.

22

SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Table 9. Liberalization and Equalization in Korean Civil Society, 2011-2013


Year

Liberalization

Equalization

Index of
Democracy

2011

5.54

4.14

4.84

2012

5.42

4.40

4.91

2013

4.75

3.84

4.30

In the civil society field, Korea scored 4.52 and 4.97, respectively,
along the two subprinciples of liberalization, i.e., autonomy and competition.
Pluralization, a subprinciple of equalization, scored 3.83, while the other
subprinciple, solidarity, scored 3.85. Table 10 shows a clear pattern of
regression in the democracy of Korean civil society, especially along the
indicators of liberalization over the last three years.
Table 10. Autonomy, Competition, Pluralization, and Solidarity in Korean Civil
Society, 2011-2013
Autonomy
Competition Pluralization
Solidarity
Year
2011

5.30

5.78

4.69

3.59

2012

4.94

5.89

4.50

4.30

2013

4.52

4.97

3.83

3.85

The level of independence from political and economic influences began


to decline in 2012. Basic conditions of freedom for minority groups and the
marginalized deteriorated even more rapidly during that time. The states
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. Social conflicts escalated during the campaign period for the
presidential election late in 2012. The continuing socioeconomic polarization
has increased economic and other hardships to which the minority groups
and the poor are exposed. 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.

KIM, CHO, KIM, AND OTHERS

23

Another key feature to be noted is the consistent decline in the level


of citizens tolerance of one another, probably indicating the increasing
level of social conflicts within civil society before and after the last
presidential election. Politics of hatred became a major concern around
the time of the election, while an online community for humor known as
Ilbe, which popular among supporters of extreme right-wing politics, has
raised a sharp controversy. 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.
Competition is the indicator along which the biggest margin of fall
between 2012 and 2013 was noted. Competition in the civil society context is
a principle that assesses the capability and democratic nature of voluntary
associations. Koreas score along this plane dropped by 0.92 between 2012
and 2013. The decline was prominent in the area of the influence and
diversity of voluntary associations. The finding matches those of other
studies pointing toward the declining influence of civil activism in Korea.
The decline, in turn, suggests that civil activism has failed to accommodate
the diverse demands raised in Korean civil society.
Equalization has always lagged behind liberalization since the first
survey conducted in 2011. The tendency continues into 2013. Koreas
score for pluralization, in particular, maintains its steady downturn. In the
meantime, Koreas score of solidarity in 2013 dipped slightly from the
score measured in 2012 but is still higher than the score from 2011. 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.
The indicator of autonomy that received the lowest score in 2013 is
tolerance (Q7, 3.33). This is due to the escalating ideological tension and
conflict in the Korean society that was fuelled by the last presidential
election. The indicator that received the highest score was the opportunity
of education (Q6, 6.0), suggesting the increasing affluence of the Korean
society in general. Importantly, of the attributes making up autonomy in
the civil society, the satisfaction of basic needs, including education, received
a relatively high score, 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.

24

SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Table 11. Index of Democracy in Korean Civil Society, 2011-2013

Competition

Liberalization

Principles

Autonomy

Attribute

Question / Indicator

Autonomy of 1. How free do you think


society from state citizens social activities are
intervention
from government interference
in your country?
2. How much influence do you
think government organizations
have on society in your country?
Autonomy of 3. How much do you think private
society from the companies have influence on
market
society in your country?
Autonomy of 4. How much do you think
social member
citizens basic needs are met in
(basic needs and your country?
basic human
5. Aside from the basic needs
development
stated in question no. 4, how much
level)
do you think special care is
provided for vulnerable people or
minorities, such as children,
women, people with disabilities,
and immigrants in your country?
6. How much do you think
citizens are provided with
education opportunities in your
country?
Tolerance
7. How much do you think
citizens respect different cultures,
religions, languages, races, nations,
and ideas in your country?
Capability of 8. How much influence do you
voluntary
think NGOs have on society in
association
your country?

2011 2012 2013


4.33 5.00 4.67

6.11 4.11 4.00

6.00 3.56 4.22

5.67 5.89 5.67

4.11 4.67 3.78

5.78 6.67 6.00

5.11 4.67 3.33

5.56 5.33 4.44

Public good of 9. How well do you think NGOs 6.56 6.56 6.00
voluntary
represent public interest in your
association
country?
Transparency of 10. Do you think NGOs are 5.22 6.11 5.22
voluntary
democratically operating in your
association
country?
Diversity of
11. Do you think NGOs well 5.78 5.56 4.22
voluntary
represent different values and
associations
demands of society in your
country?

............

KIM, CHO, KIM, AND OTHERS

25

Table 11. (continued)

Solidarity

Equalization

Principles

Pluralization

Attribute

Question / Indicator

2011 2012 2013


2.75 3.78 2.56

Inequality of
public spheres

12. Do you think the media is


fair and just in your country?

Inequality of
culture and
information

13. How wide do you think the 7.22 4.33 4.00


information gap between citizens is
in your country?

Inequality of 14. Do you think citizens have


interest relations equal access to cultural facilities
and activities in your country?
Inequality of 15. How equally do you think
power
power is distributed among people
in your country?
Institutional 16. Do you think affirmative
guarantee of
actions are well established and
diversity and
operated in your country?
affirmative actions
Participation 17. How actively do you think
and support of
citizens are participating in NGO
social groups
activities in your country?
Governance of 18. How much influence do you
the state and civil think
NGOs
have
on
society
government's
policy
making
processes in your country?

4.67 5.11 4.89

4.11 4.78 3.89

3.11 3.89 3.00

3.89 4.00 3.89

3.78 5.00 4.67

The indicator of competition that received the highest score was the
public nature of voluntary associations (Q9), while the indicator that received
the lowest score was diversity (Q11). This result reflects the contrast
between the potential and the actual problems of civil activism in general
in Korea. While Koreans generally view the public contributions of civil
activism in a favorable light, they also think of civil activism as too centralized
and not sufficiently representative of Korean society. Of the sub-indicators of
pluralization, access to culture received a score lower than 5.0, but the
survey respondents commented that Korean culture still maintained a
relative equality of opportunity. The inequality of fora for public debates,
however, had the lowest score, with 2.56 (Q12). The dominance of
conservative newspapers in the press, the control of the airwaves by the
government, and the emergence of extremely conservative cable general
programming channels seem to have led to this perception.

26

SOUTH KOREA COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Of the indicators of solidarity, the governance of the state and the


civil society received the highest score, which is nonetheless lower than
5.0 (Q18). The presence of diversity-protecting systems and affirmative
actions was the indicator that received the lowest score (Q16, 3.00). The
score is despairingly low even without comparing it to the scores under
other indicators, attesting to the absence of solidarity and systems according
respect and care to minority groups and the marginalized.
Conclusion: Characteristics and the Future of Korean Democracy

The survey of democracy in 2013 reveals a clear pattern of decline in


Korean democracy, as apparent in the increasing erosion of the basic
rights to liberty and equality. The steady pattern of decline in liberalization,
in particular, presents grim prospects for Korean democracy. Restrictions
on civil liberties necessarily undermine participation and accountability,
which are the key values of democracy. Robert Dahl has defined democracy
as essentially a system of rights. Effective participation in such a system,
he argues, crucially depends on citizens rights to participate in solving
collective problems by expressing and debating their opinions (Dahl 1998).
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. 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.
Worsening socioeconomic inequality, in turn, will undermine peoples
trust in the democratic system, and may even lead to the collapse of the
system by fuelling peoples desire for its destruction and displacement by
a political arrangement of another sort.
Democracy is a political arrangement that revolves around the principles
of liberty and equality. In a democracy, free and equal citizens participate
in procedures allocating social, economic, and political resources and
outcomes, and guarantee the rule of people by allowing them to continue
to participate in decision-making processes. The last five years and a half
of conservative administrations, however, present a serious setback to
Korean democracy by increasingly restricting civil liberties. 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.

KIM, CHO, KIM, AND OTHERS

27

Note
1.
2.

On our definitions of principle, subprinciple, attribute, and indicator, as well as


the rest of the ADI terminology, see CADI (2012).
Data taken from http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index.

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

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

Introduction

One of the most populous countries in the world, Indonesia has


experienced complex political dynamics in the years following the
beginning of the Reform Era in 1998, which had a strong impact in the
process of Indonesian de-monopolization in the fields of politics,
economics, and civil society. The 2009 General Election placed nine
political parties into the national legislature (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat
Republik Indonesia or DPR RI), altering the distribution of political
power. The second term of the government of President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono (2009-2014) introduced a coalition of parties supporting his
and Vice President Boedionos administration. The coalition is known as
the Joint Secretariat (Sekretariat Gabungan or Setgab) and holds 80
percent of DPR RIs seats. The presidents intention with the coalition is
to assure the effectiveness of his government by mobilizing the majority in
DPR RI. The absence of a majority party in the election (Yudhoyonos
party, Partai Demokrat, 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.

____________________________________________________________

Sri Budi Eko Wardani, Dirga Ardiansa, Muhammad Ridha, and Julia Ikasarana are from
the Centre for Political Studies, Department of Political Science, Universitas Indonesia
(PUSKAPOL FISIP UI). Anton Pradjasto and Inggrid Silitonga are from the Indonesian
Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (DEMOS).

ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. 3 (2014): 29-47

ISSN 2244-5633

30

INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

The Joint Secretariat consists of six parties,1 with Demokrat as its


leader. The other three parties in DPR RIIndonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan or PDIP), the
Great Indonesia Movement Party (Partai Gerakan Indonesia Raya or
Gerindra), and the Peoples Conscience Party (Partai Hati Nurani
Rakyat or Hanura)chose to be on the side of the opposition. However
these three parties do not always share the same view on government
policies. PDIPled by Megawati Soekarnoputriis the only party that
has been consistently criticizing and has become the main opposition
party against the central governments policies. Hanura and Gerindra
sometimes share the same position with members of the coalition, which
makes the opposition camp in DPR RI a rather flexible grouping.
However during the course of his government, President Yudhoyono did
not always manage to control his coalition members. In several cases, like
those of the Century Bank case and the fuel price increase, the coalition
could not form solid support for the governments side. The politics of
public policy was influenced by the interest of each coalition member,
with the the dominant ones being Demokrat, the Party of the Functional
Groups (Partai Golongan Karya, or Golkar), and the Prosperous Justice
Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera, or PKS).
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. This
constitutional restriction opened the door for new candidates to be nominated by other parties. Additionally, the new election law determines that
parties must achieve 3.5 percent of the popular vote in order to get parliamentary seats, an increase from the 2.5 percent threshold in the 2009 elections. The political temperature among the elite was rising, while civil
society movements were gaining momentum as their bargaining position
vis--vis the status quo groups became better in the nationwide fight
against corruption.
Indonesias score in the Asian Democracy Index (ADI) in 2013 was
4.97 out of 10, a drop from 2012s 5.27. This decrease calls for scrutiny,
as it demonstrates that monopolies in the sectors of politics, economy, and
civil society have not diminished from 2011 (the first year an ADI survey
was conducted in Indonesia) to 2013. Despite the passage of several laws
that guarantee citizens civil and political rights, the enhancement of
political space for public participation, reform in the electoral system
management, the launching of economic programs to increase the welfare
of the poor, social security improvement, and the increase of the

WARDANI, ARDIANSA, RIDHA , AND OTHERS

31

minimum wage rate, the concentration of political and economic power


within certain few groups has resulted in unfair competition.
Corruption remains a serious problem. In the 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International, Indonesia ranked 114 out
of 177 countries, with a score of 32, far from the very clean 90-100
range.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, the country is still unable to combat chronic corruption.
The countrys Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi, or KPK) is perceived to be making a breakthrough in revealing and processing high- profile corruption cases involving
bureaucrats, prominent businesspersons, and political party leaders.
However, the effort to eliminate corruption remains a massive ongoing
task. Many political corruption cases were still untouchable by the law.
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. Law enforcement officials found that this kind of cases were
very difficult to take to court.
The profile of the Indonesian macroeconomy from 2012 to 2013
showed positive performance. According to the Indonesian Central Bank,
economic growth in mid-2013 was at 5.18 percent, (it was at 6.5 percent
during the whole of 2012).3 The main reason for this growth was
consumption and investment. Also, government spending was at a lower
rate than in previous years due to the moratorium on civil service recruitment.
Despite relatively high economic growth, the gap of income in
Indonesia remains a serious problem. The Indonesian Gini Index was
0.41 in 2011, up from the 0.34 score it received in 2010. In 2012, it went
down to 0.30. The Gini Ratio is an index ranging from 0 to 1, which
indicates a countrys level of income gap. Higher scores of Gini Ratio
shows higher level of income gap. The Indonesian National Bureau of
Statistics (BSP) stated that the number of the poor was 28.07 million or
11.37 percent of the population during September 2012 to March 2013.
Furthermore, eight provinces experienced an increase in their poor
population: West Sumatera (an 0.14 percent rise), South Sumatera (0.76
percent), Bengkulu (0.83 percent), Banten (0.03 percent), West
Kalimantan (0.28 percent), North Sulawesi (0.24 percent), Gorontalo
(0.29 percent), and Papua (0.47 percent).4 These increases show that
Indonesias supposedly positive economic growth was not accompanied by
the decrease of income gap. Economic inequality remains a threat even in
the midst of high economic growth.

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INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

In 2013, the civil society sphere was marked by a number of conflicts


among certain groups, especially religious ones. Violence against minority
religious or faith-based groups occured (e.g., the resistance to the
construction of houses of worship, rejection toward Ahmadi and Syiah
minority groups, and several other similar cases. In its observation on the
subject matter, 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, persecution, and attacks on minority religious groups (236241). According to the Report, local government units kept on halting the
construction of religious minority houses of worship, and the national
government refused to execute one decision of the Supreme Court that
allowed such construction (USCIRF 2013, 238-239). This situation only
implies that pluralism and solidarity remain problematic in Indonesia.
Methodology

De-monopolization, the conceptual foundation of the Asian Democracy


Index, contemplates three fields: politics, economy, and civil society. To
measure the development of democracy, de-monopolization is
operationalized as having two main variables or principles: liberalization
and equalization. Liberalizations subvariables or subprinciples, are
autonomy and competition, while equalizations subprinciples are
pluralization and solidarity. Each subprinciple is then broken down
further into nineteen indicators in the political field, twenty indicators in
economy, and eighteen indicators in civil society.5
The ADI is a univariate measurement of the concept of democracy,
conducted through interviews with twenty-seven expert informants
utilizing questionnairesone per fieldas instruments of measurement.
The method used is expert assessment of questions. Experts are asked to
give answers to these questions in the form of scores that range from 010,
along with optional explanatory comments. The process of determining
the twenty-seven experts is based on criteria representing the spectrum of
expertise, ideological stances, positions, and roles in society. For the 2013
survey round, the period of study was June 2012 to June 2013.
The sampling method was purposive sampling. There are three
considerations in selecting respondents. The firs consideration is the experts
areas or fields of expertise (politics, economy, civil society); secondly, their
standing vis--vis the government (pro-, moderate, anti-); lastly, their roles
in society (academics, practitioners, and decisionmakers).

WARDANI, ARDIANSA, RIDHA , AND OTHERS

33

The Results of the 2013 ADI Survey in Indonesia

Indonesias aggregate ADI score for 2013 is 4.97 (see table 1). This is a
decline from the scores in previous years. However, there has not been
any significant change in the actual situation of democratization as demonopolization in the country.
Table 1. Asian Democracy Index in Indonesia, 2013
Liberalization
Equalization

5.23

Democracy
Index Indonesia

4.71

Autonomy

Competition

Pluralization

Solidarity

5.02

5.43

4.18

5.23

4.97

In the three years of ADI research in Indonesia, neither of the main


principles of democracy, liberalization and equalization, received high
scores (i.e., significantly higher than the median score of 5), which
contributed to the low score of the overall index. Like the previous year, the
quality of access to resources score, i.e., overall equalization, is at 4.71
lower than overall liberalization, which is at 5.23. Under the principle of
equalization, the subprinciple of pluralization obtained a score of 4.18, the
lowest among the subprinciple scores.
The high score of liberalization is still mainly due to the relatively
high political liberalization score. However, 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 6.24 in 2012 to 5.64 in
2013; see table 2) and civil society (5.57 in 2012 to 5.11 in 2013; see table
4). However, the liberalization score in the field of economy (see table 3),
which had contributed the most in lowering the ADI score in the previous
two surveys, increased in 2013, although the increase is miniscule.
What follows is an attempt to give an interpretation of these numbers.
Monopolization in the field of politics is increasingly stronger. This is
because of the politically motivated revision of the law on political parties
in order to reduce the number of political parties. The alleged aim of the
revision is to decrease the number of parties eligible to enter the legislative

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INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

body, so that the decision-making process in the legislature will become


more effective and the government can also work more effectively.
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, it is safe to
say that the political aim of those who want to limit political participation
was successfully reached.
The stronger monopolization in the civil society arena was mainly
caused by the weakness of the state in protecting the rights of its citizens,
especially the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion in a
time when intolerant groups have become more and more malevolent. It
is also marked by the ongoing conflict between marginalized groups and
owners of capital that cannot be managed by the state.
Meanwhile, monopolization in the field of economy appears to have
weakened, allegedly due to the enactment of the Law on Social Security.
The Law is scheduled to be formally implemented in 2014, but the social
security funds are already available. The Law has become a stepping
stone in concretizing social security plans.
The score of liberalization in politics, at 5.64, despite being slightly
lower than the scores in the same field principle in the previous two cycles, is significantly higher than liberalization in economy (4.89) and civil
society (5.11). This suggests that political liberalization has been given
wider space than economic and civil society liberalization. The score for
political liberalization is partly due to the relatively high political autonomy score, which is at 6.30. Within the three survey cycles, the Indonesian
government has consistently shown relaxed control over political life.
Even if the space for political competition is relatively limited; it is only
open to the oligarchy, particularly those within political parties. Competition among political actors has become more limited, as reflected by the
endorsement of the same old figures nominated by parties as presidential
candidates for the 2014 Election: Prabowo Subianto, Wiranto, Hatta
Radjasa, Megawati, and Jusuf Kalla.6
In the field of civil society, even if the liberalization score in that field
decreased from last years score, the 6.00 received by the liberalization
subprinciple of competition in 2013 is still higher than the score in the
same subprinciple within the political (5.17) and economic (5.11) fields in
the same year. This trend has been consistent within the three years of
Asian Democracy Index research in Indonesia. This demonstrates that
the struggle of civil society organizations in the face of many societal
problems has become a common struggle all over Indonesia.

WARDANI, ARDIANSA, RIDHA , AND OTHERS

35

This variety of societal problems in Indonesia today reflects the


variety of public interests. One of the main problems lies within mass
media, especially television, which has become more faithful to serving
media owners vested interests, as well as the overall arena of competition
among media owners in alliance with party leaders.Many television
programs have shaped the public to become an uncritical consumptive
society. Thus, public interest is not represented in these programs.
Besides, the protection of civil liberty, which should be upheld by the
state, has been ignoreddogmatism is allowed to win over rationality.
Furthermore, tha state has become more controlling over mass
organizations, as evidenced by the enactment of a revision of the Law on
Mass Organization in May 2013. This revision was the subject of public
scrutiny throughout the year leading to its enactment.
The low overall equalization scorelower than that of
liberalizationcan be attributed mainly to the score of the equalization
subprinciple of pluralization; at 4.18, it is the lowest among the four subprinciple scores. The solidarity score, at 5.23, despite remaining within
what can be called the poor range, is still better than the political
autonomy score in politics, which has a 5.23 score (see table 2).
The main factor behind the low score of equalization lies in the
economic field. Despite increasing from last years score, pluralization in
the Indonesian economy had a score of only 2.96 in 2013, far lower than
the scores in politics (5.44) and civil society (4.44). The increase of the
solidarity score in the economic field (4.24 in 2011, 4.79 in 2012, and,
5.14 in 2013) still has not significantly affect the quality of equalization,
partly because this increase is accompanied by the decrease of solidarity in
the field of politics (5.86 in 2012, dropped to 5.18 in 2013).
In the field of politcs, political spaces created by political parties have
tended to become more narrow. Politics in Indonesia in 2013 was like a
battle for political power among giants that took those in the grassroots as
their victims, who found it more and more difficult to enter the formal
political field. With the existing regulations, it has become very difficult
for people to form new political parties through grassroots networkbuilding without access to substantial amounts of money.7 This, as previously
mentioned, is allegedly caused by the policy on simplifying the number of
political parties.
In the field of civil society, one of the main problems was the states
negligence in handling cases in which it had to intervene, especially cases
of horizontal conflict. The absence of the state was then filled by market
dominance within civil society life, while at the same time the state tried to

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INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

control mass organization through (i.e., through the Law on Mass


Organization). On the whole, there is an imbalance of power in public
discourse because the focus of news in the mass media was controlled by
very few people. The realm of civil society was more controlled by market
forces either socially or politically through state regulation. This situation
went as far as the state determining the relevant role organizations can
play in civil society.
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. 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. Moreover,
based on the survey data, the diversity of access to economic resources
diminished since the previous year even if solidarity in the economic field
had increased.
Thus, it can be stated that based on the 2013 survey data, 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. This void occured between national and local
governments and between the state and citizens as well. Any political,
social, and economic development not based on facts or research or
without the involvement of stakeholders may be a a causal factor as well.
As the previous discussion showed how solidarity increased in the
economic field, the chances to create economic equality is perceived to be
mainly in the hands of individuals and the market instead of the state.
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.
Social and political liberalization is not seen by those we surveyed to
be substantial determinants of demonopolization of power resources. The
guarantee of civic liberty does not serve the purpose of furthering demonopolization in the fields of politics, the economy, and civil society.
Furthermore, any effort to de-monopolize is still concentrated at the state
level. De-monopolization, therefore, is still focused in the political rather
than the economic field.
With the governing regimes penchant to avoid taking responsibility
in fulfilling its citizens rights, independent and private community
groups continue to face serious difficulties in their attempts to influence
public affairs. The next sections of this paper discusses these and the other
gaps previously discussed in more detail.

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37

The Politics Field

The total score for political de-monopolization in 2013 is 5.48. It is lower


than the score in the previous two surveys (6.16 in 2012 and 5.50 in
2011). The scores for the two subprinciples within the political field,
liberalization and equalization, also droppedthe political iberalization
score was at 5.64 in 2013, a decrease from 6.24 in 2012, while the political
equalization score decreased from 6.07 in 2012 to 5.30 in 2013. Within
political liberalization, the political autonomy subprinciple is at 6.30,
higher than political competitions 5.17. Meanwhile, under political
equalization, the political pluralization score is at 5.44, higher than the
5.18 political solidarity score (see table 2).
Table 2. Index in the Field of Politics, Indonesia, 2013
Liberalization
Equalization
5.64

Score

5.30

Autonomy

Competition

Pluralization

Solidarity

6.30

5.17

5.44

5.18

5.48

Political autonomy in 2012 was higher (7.00) than in 2013 (6.30).


Political autonomy contains the freedom of association indicator, which
received an average score of 7.67, the highest of all indicator scores in the
said field subprinciple. The indicator of civil rights and the freedom for
political opposition scored 6.78 and 6.22, respectively. Civil rights were
perceived by the experts to be generally hardly threatened, but there were
some freedoms that the experts found to be restricted, such as the
freedom to practice ones religion. Still on civil rights, state officials did
not necessarily act violently directly toward citizens, but tended to be
negligent in protecting civil and other rights of citizens. This view of the
experts is reflected in score received by the indicator of freedom from
state violence, which, at 4.78, is the lowest among the indicators under
political autonomy.
Political competition also suffered a 0.57 drop from last years score,
due to the decrease of the score in almost all the indicators within that
subprinciple. There are two indicators that scored higher: freedom to vote
at 7.56 and free and fair elections at 6.22. These relatively high scores

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INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

were largely due to the fact that free and fair local elections were held
from 2012 and 2013. As previously mentioned, all the other scores of the
indicators under political competition remained relatively low.
Transparency of processes in parliament, the government, and the
judiciary scored 5.11; effectiveness of government policy scored 4.78; and
law enforcement and rule of law scored 4.67. This is not surprising,
because there has not been any significant progress made in those areas.
Poor transparency remains a big issue within the three branches of state
institutions. From 2012 to 2013, the several high state officials were defendants in cases brought before the KPK, including members of
parliament, cabinet ministers, heads of local government, and high-court
judicial officers. One of the most high-profile cases involved the Minister
of Youth and Sports who was also President Yudhoyonos right-hand
man. Another controversial case saw the leader of a religious political party, which was widely perceived as a clean party, also involved in a major
corruption case. At the national parliament level, a number of senior politicians were also charged with corruption by the KPK. More stunningly,
several judges of the KPK at the local level were also allegedly taking
bribes for the cases that they were handling.
These cases show the grip of corruption and collusion practices remained strong, and the three high-state institutions still possessed weaknesses in terms of transparency. The arrest of judges mentioned above
indicates that there seems to be what can be called a thriving mafia
within the justice system, which makes the public pessimistic about the
future of law enforcement.
The indicator of informal groups existence in politics scored the
lowest within the subvariable of competition (2.67). This was the lowest
score received by an indicator under political liberalization. This low score
reflects how informal groups based on religion, ethnicity, and clan
relations still have significantif not increasingly strongerinfluence in
politics. In the context of regional autonomy, a number of local clans had
demonstrated their domination in the course of elections of local
legislatures and chief executives, as can be observed in the provinces of
Banten and South Sulawesi. During the last several years, 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, either at the provincial or district level.
Equalization in politics scored 5.30 in 2013, a 0.77 drop from its
score in 2012. This decline can be attributed mainly to the decline in the
score of the political pluralization subprinciple, which dropped from 6.35

WARDANI, ARDIANSA, RIDHA , AND OTHERS

39

in 2012 to 5.44 2013 (a 0.91 drop). The subprinciple of solidarity also


suffered a 0.68 drop (5.86 in 2012 to 5.18 in 2013).
The highest score among the indicators under political equalization
is the indicator of public trust in democracy (6.67), which is slightly lower
than last years score (6.89). This relatively high score is in line with the
results of many other surveys on public support for democracy. 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. 79 percent of the respondents also agreed
that democracy was better than any other political system. 72 percent of
the respondents felt satisfied and highly satisfied with the current
system of democracy.
On the other hand, some indicators under the subprinciple of political solidarity received lower than the other indicators under political
equalization. Public trust in the parliament and the government scored
3.56 and 4.89, respectively. The score of guarantee of public participation
and affirmative action for parliament seats, despite having decreased from
last year score, is still higher than the scores of the aforementioned two
indicators. The experts 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 election18 percent in the national parliament,
an average of 16 percent in the provincial parliament, and an average of
12 percent in the district/municipal parliament.
A number of indicators within the subvariable of pluralization
checks and balances, power balance in the parliament, formation of
democratic state institutions, and the representation of social groups in the
parliamentscored within the range of 4.89 to 5.78. 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.
Post-New Order elections have resulted in a high number of political
parties in the parliament. However, the balance of power and checks and
balances have failed to work properly. Rather than serving as critical
counterparts to provide checks and balances among institutions, political
parties are more eager in trading interests among themselves by
negotiating the substance of policy billsnever mind the fact that the
final results of their discussions are unresponsive to public needs. A clear
example was the inter-party interaction in the discussion of the political
party, legislative election, and presidential election bills. It showed that for
the political elite, their parties survival within the political power circle is

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INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

more important than the ideal of establishing a more democratic and


effective political system.
The Economy Field

The total score for de-monopolization in the field of economy in 2013


increased by 0.28 points, from 4.21 in 2012 to 4.49 in 2013. This score is
the aggregate of scores in economic liberalization (4.89) and economic
equalization (4.23), both relatively low numbers. Economic autonomy,
competition, and solidarity enjoyed a rise from 2012 scores. As in the
2012 survey, economic pluralization scored the lowest in the economic
field, receiving a score of 2.96 (see table 3).
Table 3. Index in the Field of Economy, Indonesia, 2013
Liberalization
Equalization
4.89

Score

4.23

Autonomy

Competition

Pluralization

Solidarity

4.67

5.11

2.96

5.14

4.48

The score of economic liberalization for 2013 is 4.89. It is the


aggregate of the scores in economic subprinciples of economic autonomy
(4.67) and economic competition (5.11). Among the indicators of economic autonomy, the lowest score was received by the political elites
influence on private companies (4.11), which shows the relative
independence of those companies from state control. The low economic
autonomy score can also be attributed to the low scores in three other
indicators: protection for workers rights (5.11); child workers (4.44);
and independence from the influence of foreign companies (4.89)all of
which shows the weakness of state in the times or situations when it is
badly needed. Another important matter to note is the collusion between
political elite and private corporations perceived by the expertsin
exchange for the protection over their businesses provided by state
apparatuses, private companies awarded officials top positions within their
companies. Despite all these, Indonesia is known to have one of the most
comprehensive set of labor laws concerning workers protection. It has also

WARDANI, ARDIANSA, RIDHA , AND OTHERS

41

ratified the largest number of International Labour Organisation


conventions. However, weak law enforcement remains a serious problem.
For example, 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.
The economic competition received an average score of 5.11 this
year. It is an aggregate of the scores of four indicators: transparency of
big corporations (5.33), fairness in economic activities (5.11), government
effort in protecting workers rights (4.89), and the extent to which private
companies protect the rights of their workers (5.11). All of these
indicators scored modestly. 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,
they could possibly suffer a deficit because large sums of money have to
be paid to the bureaucracy. It is widely perceived that bureaucracy is very
weak, and the government is not yet ready to be fully transparent and
clean, as the practice of corruption is still widespread within government
apparatuses. Examples include widespread corruption among tax and
customs officials.
In terms of workers protection, there tends to be discrimination in
treatment toward workers in and outside of Indonesia. The Ministry of
Labor seems to be neglecting the problems of workers protection abroad,
citing the existence of agencies of workers protection in other countries
and the pertinent laws there as excuses.
Economic equalization scored 4.23 in 2013 as a result of the scores in the
economic pluralization (2.96) and economic solidarity (5.14) subprinciples.
As previously mentioned, economic pluralization received the lowest score
among the field subprinciples in 2013. This is due to the very low scores
in the indicators of inter-region economic equality (1.89) and monopoly
by certain groups (2.11). This quantitative representation of the views of
the experts can be verified by other measures. As previously mentioned,
the BPS issued the Indonesian economic gap (Gini) index in September
2012, which is at 0.41. It was the highest Gini index that country had
obtained since it attained independence. 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.
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, the Asian Development Bank reported in 2014

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INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

that in 2013, the number of poor people in Indonesiai.e., those with a


daily income of USD 2.00 or lessincreased (200). This went inversely
against BPS data, which stated that the number of the Indonesian poor is
decreasing. The parameter used by the BPS is the decrease in government spending for poverty eradication.8 Another notable example is the
decrease in asset ownership among farmerscurrent data shows that only
30 percent of Indonesian farmers possess their own lands.
The seven indicators under the subprinciple of economic solidarity
obtained a better average score than those in under the subprinciple of
economic pluralization. The indicator of public awareness in handling
economic gap obtained the highest score (6.22) while the indicator of
public monitoring over private companies scored the lowest (4.44).
Public awareness is still limited to matters related to environmental
pollution or destruction. On another note, the political influence of labor
unions is considered better, with the the increase of minimum wage in
2012 being considered by experts as an indicator thereof.
The Civil Society Field

The total score of de-monopolization in the field of civil society is 5.03. It


is the lowest average Indonesian civil society score ever obtained. This is
because in general, a decrease of score occured within all the principles
and subprinciples of civil society de-monopolization. Among the subprinciple scores, the civil society competition subprinciple still scores the
highest, at 6.00 (see table 4).
Table 4. Index in the Field of Civil Society, Indonesia, 2013
Liberalization
Equalization
5.11

Score

4.90

Autonomy

Competition

Pluralization

Solidarity

4.37

6.00

4.44

5.52

5.03

WARDANI, ARDIANSA, RIDHA , AND OTHERS

43

The score of civil society liberalization dropped 0.46 points from 5.57
in 2012 to 5.11 in 2013, which can be attributed mainly to the apparently
worsening condition of civil society autonomy. 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 received a score of
2.00) and the poor state of basic public needs services (3.89) especially
for vurnerable and minority groups (3.44). Based on the responses of the
experts, market domination is indicated by the control of public services
such as health, banking, clean water, and education by the private sector,
which has also reached remote areas in the country. 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. Currently, the public even has to bear additional burden to acquire public services.
Indeed, market domination in Indonesia is clearly getting stronger.
This means that the state has partly failed to do its duty to protect its
citizens, 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. This is evidenced by the states disregard for the
destruction of places of worship and killings of members of religious
minorities, landgrabbing of farmers land by palm oil businessmen, and
many others.
As it was pointed out in the explanation of the concept of demonopolization, 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. The 2013 ADI survey found that all
of the indicators under civil society competition, one of the subprinciples
of civil society liberalization, except for public tolerance, all scored below
5. Other indicators under civil society liberalization gained better scores,
such as the variety of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that work
to advocate public needs indicator (7.56) and the influence of mass
organizations on the public indicator (6.56). Despite the regimes
recognition of the diversity of Indonesian society and its claim that the
constitution guarantees the existence of such diversity, its poor
performance in protecting inter-religion or inter-faith relations among
citizens still remained in 2013, thus the low score in the related indicator
(4.22). According to the experts, differences have become a perceived as a
threat in public sphere, a threat that the state has not been able to handle
satisfactorily. Meanwhile, the presence of the many different kinds of

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INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

NGOs reflects the diversity of issues and sectors represented by those


organizations. However, this diversity has not been transformed into an
asset for challenging the dominant ideology/school of thought that has
threatened Indonesian mass plurality.
Civil society equalization dropped by 0.30 points from its 2012 score.
Among the reasons given by the experts for this decrease is the decline in
citizens capability in gaining access to resources. The poor quality of civil
society equalization can also be attributed to limited access to information
(an indicator that received a score of 3.33), cultural activities and facilities
(4.67), and the availibility of affirmative action policy for marginalized
groups (4.11). 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. A positive signal in the
area of access to information is the objectivity of media coverage, though
the score in the related indicator remains rather mediocre (5.11). Even if
the media is considered relatively objective in its coverage, it is not free
from the control of market and the interests of the oligarchy. As previously
mentioned, the mass media, especially television, has somewhat lost what
can be called its public character; it has become the arena of competition
among capital owners, i.e., those whose interests are intertwined with
those of the political party elite.
Meanwhile, affirmative action has not been implemented for
marginalized groups such as lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender
individuals, senior citizens, and the disabled. The only notable political
achievement as regards affirmative action policy is the action for women
groups30 percent of the electoral candidates of a political party has to
be women. 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.
The poor quality of equalization in civil society is perceived by the
experts to be something that can be alleviated to a certain point, 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
6.44). Also, the experts believe that the influence of NGOs/mass
organization on government policymaking is still quite considerable (6.00).
Examples of active public participation is the publics enthusiastic response to
coverage of corruption cases or enviromental issues, and their charitable
activities, e.g., assistance given by the public to natural disaster victims.

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45

Conclusion:
Threats to and Opportunities for Indonesian Democracy

There has not been any significant change in the process of demonopolization in Indonesia, as is marked by the following notable
points. The 2013 ADI formed by an aggregate of scores in the fields of
politics, economy, and civil society still demonstrated the poor status of
overall de-monopolization in the country, as evidenced by the drop in
overall score (4.97 in 2013 from 5.27 in 2012) and the fact that the overall
score in politics (5.48) remains much higher than the scores of the other
two subprinciples (4.49 for economy and 5.03 for civil society). The
slight increase in the score of economy is notable, but this is mainly due to
a betterment of economic solidarity; the opinion of the experts on economic pluralization is still very low. Indeed, economic equalization remains the noticeably lowest-scoring field in Indonesia (4.23, as opposed
to the 5.30 of politics and 4.90 in civil society). Overall, many principle/
subprinciple scores or score relations remain the same, e.g., liberalization
in the political arena remains the highest among the field liberalization
scores, while the overall equalization score is more or less stagnant.
As shown in the discussions above, as the civil society movement
became more dynamic in 2013, it should also be noted that political
participation had also become more substantial, paving the way to the
possibility of deepening democracy in Indonesia. Pro-democracy civil
society groups in 2013 attempted to establish an alternative force to
balance the influence of the political elite oligarchy, especially in the
process of political recruitment. Building up of voluntarism by civil
society activists had boosted the emergence of voluntary groups, 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. In 2013, the
movement, helped in no small part by support from the mass media,
found relative success in its campaign for reform; 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.
Ten years of Reformasi saw the emergence of a new common enemy
for civil society. The achievement of KPK in disclosing and investigating
corruption cases involving high level public officials and political figures
such as cabinet ministers, members of parliament, and heads of local government steeled civil society to combat the waves of attacks against KPK
from politicians in the legislature. Corruption became the unifying issue

46

INDONESIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

among civil society groups in supporting KPK. In light of all this, in


2013, 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, risking massive resistance from the political elite.
The next feature is the widening gap of inequality, worsened by conflicts on natural resources among the local people, corporations, and the
government. The public undoubtedly has the weakest leverage, which in
turn has boosted the necessary awareness among civil society activists to
fight against the oligarchy in the political and economic fields. Even if
liberalization and competition in politics is dynamic and resulted in some
of the ADI scores within that field being higher, the balancing power of
civil society is still peripheral. 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.
Indonesia still struggles to further strengthen its political institutions
and balance the influence of the oligarchic political elite in political decisionmaking processes. Corruption and collusion practices, significant
obstacles in achieving the above objective, are still widespread and any
effort to fight against such practices has faced huge resistance from the
elite circle. The fact that the economic condition is stagnant, with increasing
inequality and level of poverty, and the continued domination of the few
mega-rich on economic resources, only complicates the problem of monopoly.
Fortunately, hope lies in the sphere of civil society. Developments in
2013 saw civil activism becoming more political, as political awareness
among common people is also rose. The issue of corruption, as a common
enemy, was able to unify the otherwise fragmented parts of Indonesias
civil society. Their common aim is quite obvious: to combat the control of
the oligarchy in all of the ADI fields, especially in the field of politics.
Notes
1.

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

These six are Partai Demokrat, the Party of the Functional Groups (Partai Golongan
Karya, or Golkar), PKS, the National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional or
PAN), the United Development Party (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan or PPP),
and the National Awakening Party (Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa or PKB).
For details, go to http://www.transparency.org/cpi2013/results.
For details, go to http://www.bi.go.id/en/statistik/perbankan/indonesia/Default.aspx.
For more details on these statistics, visit http://www.bps.go.id/.
For more details on Asian Democracy Index terminology, see Consortium for the
Asian Democracy Index (2012)
Prabowo Subianto was presidential candidate in the 2009 election. Wiranto was
presidential candidate in the 2004 and 2009 elections. Hatta Radjasa is a prominent

WARDANI, ARDIANSA, RIDHA , AND OTHERS

7.

8.

47

minister in Yudhoyonos current cabinet and leader of PAN. Megawati was


president in 2001-2004 and presidential candidate in elections of 1999, 2004, and
2009. Lastly, Jusuf Kalla was Yudhoyonos vice president in the latters first term
and presidential candidate in the 2009 election.
Nasional Democrat (Nasdem), a new political party, is led by a media mogul and
was once also supported by another big media owner. It is the only newly formed
party allowed to compete in the 2014 election. Local political parties are only allowed
in the province of Aceh.
Again, for more details, visit http://www.bps.go.id/.

References
Asian Development Bank. 2014. Asian Development Bank Outlook 2014: Fiscal Policy
for Inclusive Growth. Mandaluyong City: Asian Development Bank.
Consortium for the Asian Democracy Index. 2012. The Asian Democracy Index: A
Guide. Asian Democracy Review 1:36-87.
USCIRF (United States Commission on International Religious Freedom). 2013.
Annual Report. http://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/resources/2013%
20USCIRF%20Annual%20Report%20(2).pdf.

A Long and Winding Road to Democracy:


The 2013 Asian Democracy Index for Malaysia
ANDREW AERIA, 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, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR).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. It was also an opportunity to test electoral support for BN. He
failed on both counts. Nevertheless, throughout the year and especially
during the 2013 election campaign, public discourse centered upon issues of
political governance, the economy, and racial and religious issues, as well as
social issues like crime prevention, public amenities, and welfare. Indeed,
2013 was a year of intense political ferment.
Coming on the heels of the first Asian Democracy Index (ADI)
pilot survey in 2012, the ADI survey for 2013 was a humble attempt
to gauge the quality of democratic governance in Malaysia. Undertaken
in June 2013, the results suggested a mixed picture, which largely reflected
that the development of democracy in all its multiple facets was going
to be a long and winding road.
This short paper begins by briefly describing the political-economic and
social background of Malaysia in 2013. We then describe our ADI survey
process and its limitations. With those limitations as caveats, 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,
Faculty of Social Sciences, University Malaysia Sarawak. Tan Seng Keat is Research Manager
in Merdeka Centre, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia.

ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. 3 (2014): 49-64

ISSN 2244-5633

50

MALAYSIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Malaysia in 2013

The backdrop of our 2013 ADI survey was a weak albeit recovering
economy and one of Malaysias most contested elections in its history. 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. At the top of
the public list of concerns was the economy, namely jobs, wages, security of
employment, social welfare, retirement concerns, the business environment,
investment, among others. This was because the countrys economy, although
resilient with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 5.6 percent (2012),
was still recovering slowly from the global recession of 2008 and 2009.
Exports and incomes suffered greatly in 2008 and in subsequent years
thereafter. 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). Unsurprisingly, the Malaysian economy in early
2013 was weak, which affected the mood of the Malaysian electorate
(Malaysia 2013). Next on the list of social concerns was crime and social
problems followed by political issues, racial issues, and the quality of
leadership in the country (see figure 1). 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.
Figure 1. Issues of Concern to the Malaysian Public, 2013

Source: Merdeka Centre 2013a

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. Making GE13 even more
significant and crucial was that BN coalition president and prime minister,
Abdul Najib Razak was leading his United Malay National Organisation
(UMNO) and the BN coalition into elections for the first time. And he
was doing it from a position of weakness after the BN in the 2008 general
election experienced its worst ever performance, winning only 140 seats (a
net loss of fifty-eight parliamentary seats) and only 51.39 percent of the
popular vote. Correspondingly, 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 47.79 percent of the popular vote in the
2008 general elections (Wikipedia 2015).
If Malaysia was formerly seen as being mainly a consociational state
with elite accommodation (von Vorys 1976; Milne 1977), the years of the
Mahathir government (1981-2003) transformed Malaysia into a pseudodemocracy with elite contestation (Khoo 1992; Case 2001), authoritarianism
(Rais 1995; Khoo 1997), oligarchic control (Singh 2000) and nationalist
strongman governance in pursuit of development (Loh and Khoo
2002)hence, the persistence of many long-serving elite politicians in all
parties across the political spectrum.
Significantly, although Dr. Mahathir Mohamad retired in 2003, he
remained influential within UMNO, the backbone of the BN coalition
government. As well, he has never shied away from putting across his views,
acidly if necessary. Thus, after the BNs electoral debacle of 2008, he
successfully persuaded UMNO to displace his successor Mr. Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister in 2009. This paved the way for Mr.
Najib Abdul Razak to become Prime Minister in April 2009. Dr. Mahathir
has continued to influence and even dictate the direction of policy within
the ruling party and the countrys leadership.
Although Mr. Abdullah Badawi had come to power promising political,
economic, and social reforms, the reality was otherwise. The country saw
deepening corruption and the erosion of political and democratic institutions.
This lack of significant reforms ultimately was the undoing of Mr.
Badawi and the BN in 2008. Mr. Najib also promised further reforms,
much of which he also did not deliver. Instead, he backtracked further by
avoiding difficult economic reforms and persecuted protestors demanding
electoral reforms. In consequence, 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, Mr. Anwar
Ibrahim who, no doubt, hoped to topple the BN coalition in 2013.

52

MALAYSIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Prior to the election in early May 2013, the Coalition for Free and
Fair Elections (BERSIH) held rallies, conducted dialogues, and issued
numerous press statements demanding genuinely free and fair elections in
the country. 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, April 2012, and January 2013. Worried, 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, a move that the opposition
decried as electoral bribes. The handout strategy worked. BN managed to
hold on to their support among low income voterseven slightly increasing
itto avoid defeat in the election (Merdeka Centre 2013b). BN also retained
widespread support in the rural East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.
Nevertheless, 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. The BN federal coalition
won a majority of parliamentary seats (133 seats) in Malaysias heavily
gerrymandered and malapportioned electoral system that favored rural
seats controlled by BN. However, they lost the popular vote (BN: 46.6
percent) to the opposition PR coalition, which won eighty-nine seats and 50.4
percent of the popular vote.
Discouragingly for many, PR did not win enough votes or parliamentary
seats to form government or to even dent the authoritarian tendencies of the
BN coalition. 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,
phantom votes, power black-outs during vote-counting, use of defective
indelible ink, and malapportionment of electoral constituency boundaries.
Adding to the heightened state of political ferment at that time was
the military stand-off that occurred when over 200 militants from Sulu,
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. Although the Malaysian government regarded
this intrusion as an invasion (Khor 2013), many ordinary Malaysians
remained convinced that the deadly conflict was rooted in decades of
illegal immigration into Sabah state from South Philippines. The Malaysian
government had long been running a secret but systematic program of
granting citizenship to foreign nationals in Sabah to bolster electoral

AERIA AND TAN

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 countrys 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 banks own security
guard who proceeded to rob the bank. A spate of three senseless killings
over three days in late October/early Novembernamely the abduction
of an fifteen-year-old girl who was found dead, stuffed in a suitcase;
the assassination of the Pahang State Religious Departments Head of
Enforcement; and the murder of a Taiwanese tourist and the abduction
of his wife in Sabahonly 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 countrys ethnic-religious and regional profiletwo 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.

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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 4.08 (see table 1). Since our index survey did not derive an
index for 2012, this index is the starting benchmark for all our subsequent
Asian Democracy Index surveys in the years to come.
Table 1. Summary of Democracy Index Survey Values (2013)
Principles

Politics
Category

Economy
Category

Civil
Society
Category

Index
Values

Autonomy

3.67

6.09

4.43

4.73

Competition

3.80

4.23

5.21

4.41

Pluralization

3.26

2.38

4.00

3.21

Solidarity

4.27

3.71

3.87

3.95

Liberalization
(L)

3.74

5.16

4.82

4.57

Equalization
(E)

3.77

3.05

3.93

3.58

Aggregate
Index Values:
(L) and (E)
only

3.75

4.10

4.27

4.08
(Overall)

Liberalization

Equalization

Subprinciples

It will be noted that the overall democracy index value of 4.08 is a


low score on a 0-10 scale. Taking the broad view, one sees from the values
derived that the index survey respondents were most pessimistic about
politics (3.75) followed by the economy (4.10) and least so about civil
society (4.27). Yet, the reality is that all these values are low. In other
words, 2013 was really a year in which a significant general election and
vicious ongoing politics dominated all areas of public life in Malaysia.
The autonomy index value for the political liberalization category
showed a low score (3.67) reflecting low individual and civil freedoms.
That the competition index was also not much higher (3.80), which
indicated that there was little public choice in terms of political competition.
Reflecting these two values was that of political pluralization, which was

AERIA AND TAN

57

the lowest in the category (3.26), suggesting that political power was very
unevenly distributed in the country with democratic institutions and
processes heavily stymied or tightly controlled. Interestingly, the value for
political solidarity is relatively much better than that of the others in the
same category (4.27). Hence, it did suggest that there was public energy
within the political system to challenge the entrenched disparity of power.
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: 3.74).
Accordingly, it was unsurprising that the political equalization score was
low (3.77), reflecting the depth of elite monopoly in the pattern of power
relations in the country.
Within the economy category, our economic pluralization index value
of 2.38 (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). 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. Similarly, the institutional
character of the state and its ability to address this inequality was low
as reflected in the low economic solidarity value of 3.71. This was also
somewhat reflected in the perception that much of the economic sector
was not independent of government intervention and involvement, as the
economic competition index value is 4.23. Considering that politics and
business overlap in Malaysias system of ersatz (Yoshihara 1988) and/or
crony capitalism (Gomez and Jomo 1997), this finding only reinforced
the perspective that the economy was generally controlled by rich and
politically well-connected elites. Nevertheless, the relatively higher score
of 6.09 (highest value obtained in the economy index) in economic
autonomy suggested that despite high levels of economic monopoly, many
professionals perceived that the public still enjoyed a strong measure of
freedom; an indicator of the dynamism of the country and the availability
of substantial economic surplus given Malaysias status as a net exporter
of valuable primary commodities (e.g., petroleum and oil palm) and
manufactured goods (e.g., electronics). Seen as a whole, the economic
sector had a comparatively better liberalization score of 5.16, which likely
reflected the perception of respondents having better education, larger
incomes, and inherited wealth, among others, which gave them more
resources and thus allowed them to perceive more freedom and independence

58

MALAYSIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

of economic action in the country compared to members of the working


classes. Still, the low economic equalization score of 3.05 suggested that
the respondents perceived the economy to be woefully marginal to the
majority but monopolized by elites with huge resources.
For the civil society category, the respondents also returned pessimistic
scores about the future of democracy. When asked about civil society
autonomy, they returned a weak score of 4.73, suggesting that Malaysia
lacked an autonomous civil society free of government or economic
influences. Their responses were likely due to the existence of numerous
authoritarian laws like the Peaceful Assembly Act (2012), 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. All these new laws continue to stymie the growth and influence of
civil society groups. This view was reflected in the civil society pluralization
category, which had a score of 4.00. Respondents thus regarded civil society
as an unequal partner in societycivil society groups did not set the
mainstream agenda, lacked information and influence (and also financial
resources) relative to other political and economic actors. Yet, despite
these low scores, the respondents held a positive view that civil society had
a crucial role to play in contributing toward democracythe score of 5.21
for civil society competition category. But overall, the view remained a
pessimistic onethe 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, giving
it a very low score of 3.87. Clearly, given the various restrictions, limitations
and disadvantages that civil society groups faced, the respondents did
not rate well the capacity of civil society groups to promote diversity,
awareness, social participation, and improved governance. Overall, our
respondents view of civil society in Malaysia was weak as well, in line
with their views on the economy and politics. Clearly, civil society was not
free of numerous authoritarian regulations. This was indicated by a
weak civil society liberalization score of 4.82. Accordingly, this position
of civil society weakness meant that the overall civil society equalisation
score was very low at 3.93, indicating that the Malaysian civil society
sector was working against huge odds, often from a very disadvantaged
position.
Taking an individual view of the subprinciple of autonomy across all
three categories of politics, economics, and civil society showed clearly
that the Malaysian economy enjoyed relatively more independence from
government interference and control than politics and civil society. This

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. This is pictorially
evident in figure 2.
Figure 2. Relative Autonomy of Politics, Economy, and Civil Society in Malaysia,
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. This suggested that the political
sector of the country was partly paralyzed. Instead of energies contributing
toward a vibrant political sector by enhancing electoral competition
between political parties, it was diffused into the civil society sector on
account of the governments strict control of the electoral system and its
outcomes. In other words, it was civil society that had emerged as the site
of a self-reference system for democracy in the country (see figure 3).
In terms of distribution of power and resources across all three
categories in the country, the subprinciple of pluralization showed that it
was really civil society that had the best distribution of power, resources,
influence, and information. On the other hand, the economic category was
perceived to be the most unequal in terms of pluralisation (see figure 4).

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MALAYSIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Figure 3. Relative Autonomy of Politics, Economy, and Civil Society in Malaysia,


2013

Figure 4. Relative Pluralization of Politics, Economy, and Civil Society in Malaysia,


2013

As figure 5 shows, 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. Again, there
was a sense that most people felt marginalized by the economy. However,
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.

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61

Figure 5. Relative Solidarity of Politics, Economy, and Civil Society in Malaysia,


2013

When viewed across all categories, the core democratic principles of


liberalisation and equalization indicated that the latter had a very low
score of 3.58 while that of the former was only slightly better at 4.57. Put
differently, what these scores suggested was that elite monopoly control
over the politics and economics of the country was very significant and
deep. This elite control therefore deeply impaired efforts to bring about a
transformation of the inequality in the relations of power, resources,
rights, and influence into something that was more liberalized and equalized.
In other words, the democratic fiber of Malaysia was perceived as being
deeply stymied (see figure 6).
Figure 6. Overall Quality of Liberalization, Equalization, and Democracy in
Malaysia, 2013

62

MALAYSIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Conclusion

Our 2012 index poll found that Malaysia was a country that was deeply
authoritarian. It was dominated by a small but extremely powerful political
and economic elite. Since then, despite the dynamic efforts of the countrys
civil society organizations and opposition political parties in pursuit of
electoral, political, and economic reforms, the country has not progressed
democratically. This is borne out by Malaysias low overall ADI score
of 4.08.
In order to maintain their hold over government in Malaysia and
especially to win GE13, the governing BN coalition resorted to cynical
methods of using electoral handouts and stoking ethnic and religious tensions
to remain in government. The problem of constituency malapportionment
along rural-urban and ethnic lines also certainly helped the BN coalition
remain in government. Indeed, the failure of the electoral reform
movement, BERSIH, 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, 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. Elite control remains entrenched in politics, the economy
remains monopolized by crony corporates close to the governing BN
coalition, and the rule of law remains weak and pliable. Apparently, little
had changed since 2012. Malaysia remains stagnant and political, economic,
legal, and social reforms remain in the doldrums. Indeed, 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.
Notes
1.

2.

3.

The governing Barisan Nasional (or National Front) coalition comprises thirteen
national and regional political parties, all of which were conservative, ethnic-oriented,
right-wing. The mainstay parties within BN in 2013 were the United Malay
National Organisation, the Malaysian Chinese Association, the Malaysian Indian
Congress, and the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu. All others were minor parties.
See the National Front webpage for more information: http://
www.barisannasional.org.my/en.
The opposition Pakatan Rakyat (or Peoples Alliance) comprises an uneasy coalition
of three parties, namely the multi-ethnic, centre-right Parti Keadilan Rakyat, the
ethnic-Chinese center-right Democratic Action Party, and the conservative Islamist
Parti Islam Se-Malaysia. See their electoral manifesto for more information: https://
www.pakatanrakyat.my/.
BERSIHs eight demands were as follows: 1) a clean electoral roll; 2) reform of the
postal ballot; 3) use of indelible ink; 4) a minimum election campaign period of

AERIA AND TAN

4.

5.

6.

63

twenty-one days; Free and fair media access and coverage; 5) strengthening of
public institutions; 6) an end of electoral corruption; and 8) an end to dirty politics.
See more at: http://www.bersih.org/about-bersih-2-0/8-demands/.
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. Further information is available on
their webpage: http://www.pribumiperkasa.org/Halaman_Utama/.
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.my/org/?
page_id=20).
The results of this pilot index survey was reported in Aeria and Tan 2013, 81-122.

References
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Case, William. 2001. Malaysias Resilient Pseudodemocracy. Journal of Democracy 12
(1): 43-57.
dela Cruz, Arlyn. 2013. Heirs of Sultan of Sulu Pursue Sabah Claim On Their Own.
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 16 February. http://globalnation.inquirer.net/64577/heirs-of
-sultan-of-sulu-pursue-sabah-claim-on-their-own.
Gomez, Edmund T. and K. S. Jomo. 1997. Malaysias Political Economy: Politics,
Patronage and Profits. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Khoo Boo Teik. 1997. Democracy and Authoritarianism in Malaysia since 1957: Class,
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Southeast and East Asia, 46-76. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
Khoo Kay Jin. 1992. The Grand Vision: Mahathir and Modernisation. In Kahn, Joel
and Francis Loh editors, Fragmented Vision: Culture and Politics in Contemporary
Malaysia, 44-76. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Khor Yu Leng. 2013. The Sabah-Sulu Crisis Threatens the Palm Oil Supply-Chain.
ISEAS Perspective no. 12, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
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20release%20dec%202012%20-%20voter%20issues.pdf.
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Rais Yatim. 1995. Freedom under Executive Power in Malaysia: A Study of Executive
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The Polarization of Thai Democracy:


The Asian Democracy Index in Thailand
NARUEMON THABCHUMPON, JAKKRIT SANGKHAMANEE,
CARL MIDDLETON, WEERA WONGSATJACHOCK

Introduction

In recent years, explanation of Thailands 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).
Others have argued that various politically influential movements exist in
Thailand, including those that support elections and that oppose corruption.
In this paper, we argue that Thai democracy is no longer a game of elites,
but that to a certain but significant extent laypeople have become involved
in different spheres to assert their political, economic, and social influence
or, through the lens of Cho (2012), acted to de-monopolize power.
However, this does not mean that Thailand has become a consolidated
democracy characterized by the process of pluralization. Rather, 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, especially
those from rural areas. This has created a series of country-wide conflicts
that characterizes the present situation of Thai society.
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 countrys
democratic transformation into a situation that we describe as polarization.
____________________________________________________________

Naruemon Thabchumpon is Program Director of Master of Arts in International Development Studies and Assistant Professor at the Department of Government, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University. Jakkrit Sangkhamanee is Assistant Professor at
the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Political Science,
Chulalongkorn University. Carl Middleton is Lecturer at the Master of Arts Program in
International Development Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University.
Weera Wongsatjachock is Research Fellow at the Faculty of Political Science,
Chulalongkorn University.
ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. 3 (2014): 65-87

ISSN 2244-5633

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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.
At the same time, there are also movements of people that have struggled
to shape the political, economic, and social transformations and withstand
the old regime of powers in different ways.
To elaborate our argument based on our survey of key experts, our
paper is divided into four parts. In the next section, we provide a brief
background of Thai democracy with a focus on the period from September
2013 to January 2014, which is the period during which our survey took
place. We then discuss our research method and assessment, and mention
some of the difficulties we encountered during the conduct of our survey.
The third section of this paper presents the findings of the survey, organized
according to the fields of politics, economy, and civil society. In the final section, we provide some reflexive conclusions and recommendations for the
development of Thai democratization through the lens of de-monopolization.
Brief Background of Thai Democracy from 2013 to Early 2014

The Thai political system at present operates within the framework of a


constitutional monarchy, whereby the prime minister is the head of government and a hereditary monarch is head of state. Thailand has a political history of long periods of authoritarianism alternating with periods of
semi-democratic government (Naruemon 2012). Since the installation
of the first representative government in 1932, the military has interrupted the constitutional order more than twenty times, with Thai citizens
witnessing changes of government and eighteen written constitutions after
the abolition of absolute monarchy. The most recent coup was in May
2014, when the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra was overthrown by the military group known as the National Council for Peace
and Order (NCPO).
In 2013, Thai democracy and Thai politics was characterized in particular by regular street protests, and tarnished by intensifying conflicts
caused both by political division and economic problems. Following the
dispelling in November 2012 of the Pitak Siams rally, an ultra-nationalist
and illiberal demonstration led by General Boonlert Keawprasit, another
wave of street protests led by the People Democratic Reform Committee
or PDRC emerged, initially opposing an unpopular blanket amnesty bill
in October 2013 put forward by the Yingluck government. The PDRC
movement later evolved to seek to overthrow the Yingluck government,

NARUEMON, JAKKRIT, MIDDLETON, AND WEERA

67

resulting in a protracted seven month protest that arguably paved the way
for the May 2014 coup dtat.
Meanwhile, 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, such as rubber plantation workers in the
South of Thailand. Thus, on top of the political crises and apparent social
divisions, the country was struggling with high debt levels, and consumer
confidence was at its lowest point in nearly two years during the period of
2011-2012 (see more details in Somchai 2012). According to Somchai
(2012), the political uncertainty exacerbated the downward economic cycle,
especially for the tourism industry; Thailands Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that thirty-seven countries had issued travel advisories for
Thailand and that tourist groups were cancelling reservations.
In terms of Thailands democracy, the oligarchic structure of Thai
politics and economy has in essence remained in place. Most scholars
argue that it is essential to solve democratic recession and to increase democratic culture for pluralist society in Thailand (for example, Diamond
2014). Thailands bureaucracy has never entirely submitted to the instructions of elected parliament but instead co-exists side by side with elected
politicians and economic elites.
On 9 December 2013, in the face of entrenched street protests by the
PDRC and after all 153 opposition Democrat Party ministers of parliament (MPs) resigned from office, the Yingluck government dissolved the
House of Representatives and called a snap general election. The snap
election on 2 February 2014, however, was later terminated by the Constitutional Courts. The military intervened in response to the political conflicts and institutional deficit of representative democracy in Thailand.
Research Method and Assessment
Data Collection

This papers data was collected through face-to-face interviews using the
structured ADI questionnaires. A total of twenty-seven expert interviews
were conducted, together with three pilot interviews. Each key informant
was categorized according to two criteria:

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THAI COUNTRY REPORT

1) By specific duty, namely: politicians and leaders of political


movements; practitioners in civil society organizations; and
academics in politics, economics, sociology, et cetera;
2) By their political ideology, namely right, left, and moderate,
classified according to their positioning within Thailands recent
political conflict. The right are people who hold conservative
ideas such as national pride and the uniqueness of being Thai,
have a free-market orientation, support royal and elitist privileges,
and have no confidence in elected politicians and the election at
large. The left are people who hold up the idea of Thailand as a
part of global cosmopolitanism, support state subsidization and
social welfare (especially for the poor), promote civil rights, social
transformation, and economic equality, and see elections as a
mean to express their political will and engage with the political
regime. Moderates are people who stand between the positions
of the left and right, or who cannot fully describe themselves as
strictly being within either wing.
The survey data was collected between September 2013 and January
2014. Since the survey was completed, the political situation in Thailand
was confronted by a deepening political conflict, as discussed in the preceding section. Consequently, 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.
Survey Limitations

The research process involved not only administering the quantitative


aspects of the ADI questionnaires, but also qualitative aspects, which
look into the experts perception, comments, and reflections on the
political situation in Thailand and the research method itself. The research team experienced several difficulties during the interview,
which are summarized below.
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. Some experts said that each degree from zero to ten had different meanings. Others said that this tool
reflected only the individual's attitude to choose a number, and that different
experts held different levels of attitude. In other words, there could be
inconsistency in the data between experts that might not reveal a real degree
of measurement.

NARUEMON, JAKKRIT, MIDDLETON, AND WEERA

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.

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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 Thailands electoral political systemwhich they claim is manipulatedin 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 Stepans
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 governments 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

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THAI COUNTRY REPORT

percent above the international market value, subsidized by the government. The government spent more than THB 200 billion to support the
scheme, and the scheme itself has been accused of being an avenue for
corruption (Einhorn, 2013). The rice pledging scheme reduced
Thailands rice exports; Thailand was previously the worlds largest rice
exporter, but in 2013-2014 India and Vietnam exported larger quantities
of rice.
Political pluralization scored 4.25, which is the lowest among the four
subprinciples. It indicates that experts think that Thailands political
organizations do not have diversity and that power is monopolized by
central political institutions. The data also thus indicates that decentralization
and balance of power among a diversity of groups is not sustained in the
Thai political system.
The highest score among pluralizations indicators is that of the
democratization of state institutions. This indicator score suggests that
Thailands political institutions can be held accountable and criticized by
the public over controversial issues and national agenda. The public has
indeed been able to follow the PT governments action via the media, and
some members of the public have been actively involved in antigovernment protests via the PDRC movement. However, the score is still
lower than 5, which means that there is still confrontational politics between
the government and the counter-government movements. However, some
experts said that the anti-government movements did not really take an
anti-corruption or anti-tyranny of the majority stance, saying that such
movements took an anti-election position instead.
The lowest-scoring indicator under political pluralization was independence of and the checks and balances among the states apparatuses of
power. This means that according to our informants, political power has
been monopolized by a few groups on both political sides, which include
elected politicians and non-elected elites. Recent events reveal that the
general public cannot easily hold decisionmakers accountable for their
actions. On the one hand, 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, 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. On the other hand, non-elected elites have
used extraordinary politics to topple the elected government, including
supporting the PDRC movement to oppose new elections and the voice of
the voting majority. These conflicts that reflect the interest of just a few
groups competing against each otherand that mobilize large groups of

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73

peopleleave other members of the public forced to choose between


elected politicians accused of corruption and non-elected elites that
undermine their basic civil rights, including their right to suffrage.
Finally, as regards political solidarity, the 4.32 average score of that
subprinciple suggests a deficit of political unity in Thai politics. Some
experts stated that Thais still do not believe in the democratic parliamentary
process as a means toward solving political problems. They said that Thai
democracy cannot be consolidated because many people want to solve
political conflicts through extraordinary measures, thus democracy is not
the only game in town in Thailand. For example, an anti-government
political movement blocked the snap elections held on 2 February 2014
under the banner Reform before Election, implying that these protestors did not trust either the elected politicians or the voices of majority
who live in the rural areas.
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, these scores were still
lower than 5. Some of the interviewed experts stated that Thai people
looked toward democracy only during ordinary times, but that they can
change their position during extraordinary times, such as during an
economic crisis, a political deadlock, or a natural disaster. During these
periods, our experts suggested that Thai people thought that elected
politicians cannot solve the problems arising from such situations, thus
the public calls upon non-elected institutions, especially the military, to
help them. The arguments of these experts are reflective of the discourses
that have emerged around the May 2014 coup in Thailand.
The lowest score under political solidarity is for affirmative action,
which is lower than 4. This indicates that the experts generally think that
the government cannot ensure entitlements for marginalized people. In
fact, Thailands 2007 Constitution contains many sections that could support
marginalized and indigenous people, but there are not yet organic laws to
transform these constitutional provisions into actionable public policy.
For instance, when Yingluck, the first female prime minister of Thailand,
came into power, her government promoted The National Fund for
Women Development; the Yingluck government proposed to establish a
fund to develop women totaling THB 100 million per province. However,
this policy was criticized by some as populist.
In conclusion, regarding the four ADI subprinciples in the political
field, it can be said that Thailands political system is built on the fragile
foundations of democracy. Even though political autonomy obtained a

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THAI COUNTRY REPORT

score above 5, the other three subprinciples (competition, pluralization,


and solidarity) still scored lower than 5.
The Thai Economic Field

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

NARUEMON, JAKKRIT, MIDDLETON, AND WEERA

75

Table 2. Thai Economy Index


Autonomy

4.49

Competition

4.69

Pluralization

3.45

Solidarity

4.65

Average

4.32

We start with economic autonomy. This subprinciple contemplates


economic freedom from state interference, the protection of labor rights,
and the autonomy of economic policies from external forces. The aggregate score for economic autonomy is 4.49, which indicates the existence of
oligarchic politics and the intervention of the state in economic policies.
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, within which influential individuals
seek to retain their wealth and power. By sending their family members or
their friends to run as MPs, as well as for local positions in different local
government levels, 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). Within private enterprises,
the protection of labor rights is favorably evaluated by our informants,
who spoke positively of the 300 baht minimum wage, which has helped
improve labor conditions and reduce wage inequality, even though such
benefits are limited to the formal sector. The process of determining the
minimum wage nevertheless is limited to only a small group of employers,
government officials, and workers who are indirectly elected through
labor organizations. In other words, the minimum wage is set almost
solely by a few employers and government officers.
We move on now to economic competition, which contemplates economic transparency, fairness in the economy, government responsibility,
and corporate responsibility. The survey score for this subprinciple is

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THAI COUNTRY REPORT

4.69, 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.
Although Thailand has a market-oriented economic system, it still
faces the problem of economic monopoly resulting in economic inequality
that disrupts economic growth and increases political instability. A
bureaucratic polity linked to the power of the military was established
since the 1930s and continued for over fifty years. However, the 1997
Constitution allowed new forces to emerge, including a new center of
power led by the Shinawatra family, which focused on populist and shortterm policies. This new form of electoral democracy has, however, not yet
instigated a process of institutional reforms that would pave the way for a
more sustainable egalitarian and democratic society.
In terms of economic transparency and government/corporate
responsibility, 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. This includes business networks that can
influence the direction of Thailands energy policies, e.g., partial privatizations that created semi-public semi-private organizations where the parent company has the status of public enterprise (e.g., 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. 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, such as investment incentives and
exemptions from the Finance Ministrys rules and regulations on executives
salaries, net profit allocations, and the duty to return profits to the government.
Let us now focus on economic pluralization. This subprinciple is
concerned with the fair distribution of economic resources, and includes
measures of economic monopoly, regional disparity, income equality, asset
disparity, and employment equality. Based on our survey data, the aggregate score of economic pluralization is 3.45, which is the lowest among all
the economic subprinciple scores. This is because, in the eyes of our
informants, decisionmaking power is centralized and monopolized by a
few elites, who hold on to power both in political institutions and economic organizations.
Despite being considered an upper-middle income country and an
overall improving standard of living, disparity of income between the poor
and the rich remains substantial in Thailand, which has led to economic

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77

and social inequalities. Due to a slow economic growth-cum-recession


and political conflicts over the past ten years, many economists and political scholars have started to investigate the problem of inequality in income,
wages, and education. According to Pasuk Pongpaichit and Pornthep
Benjaapikul (2013), inequality in Thailand, as measured by the Gini
coefficient of household consumption expenditure, has improved very
little, while the Gini coefficient of household income has increased steeply
and is getting worse over the past two decades.
Lastly, let us tackle economic solidarity. This subprinciple includes
social security systems, labor unions activities, corporate surveillance and
awareness of inequality alleviation. The aggregate economic solidarity
score is 4.65, which means that there is moderate support for social welfare and social security from the government.
As mentioned in the assessment of economic autonomy, the states
policy of a 300-baht minimum wage across the country has helped
improve peoples livelihood and has reduced economic inequality. The
extension of the national health coverage scheme has also helped in
improving the living condition of Thais. According to the National
Health Security Office (NHSO 2012, 21), more than 90 percent of Thai
citizens are covered by a healthcare scheme. While the Universal Health
Care schemealso known as the 30 baht healthcare schemeprovides
coverage for 47.7 million people, another 4.9 million civil servants and
state enterprise workers are covered under separate health and pension
schemes provided by the government, and around 9.9 million employed
workers in the formal sector are covered under the social security system,
which may develop to include a pension scheme in the future (NHSO
2012, 14-20). However, it should be noted that the Universal Health
Care scheme does not cover migrant workers; it is limited only to Thai
citizens with identification cards.
Regarding trade unions in Thailand, most workers in the country are
factory-based rather than industry-based, which weakens the bargaining
power of industrial workers. The weak bargaining power of labor, according
to Phonthep and Pokpong (2013), has decreased the ratio of labors cost
(minimum wage) to output in many sectors. Still, the growing awareness
and concern over high income inequality and the persistence of social and
economic hierarchies are increasingly discussed, contributing to political
conflicts and social division over the last ten years. Despite some initiatives
again, including the 300-baht minimum wageno real solutions or practical projects have been implemented to tackle these serious problems.

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In sum, the Thai political system, which has previously been characterized as being defined by oligarchic politics or rule by the few, has clearly
impacted the countrys economic activities. Over the past five decades, the
countrys economic policies have continually been driven by faith in economic trickle-down policies. Successive governments have turned rural
agriculture from a largely self-sufficient sector into a manufacturing sector under an export-oriented policy. Although Thailand is now thought of
as an upper-middle income economy, the ADI survey data shows that a
small number of privileged groups enjoy disproportionate access to power
and are the principle beneficiaries of the countrys economic development.
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. Although there is no consensus on any
solution, most people agree that the new model should incorporate social
concerns, fair distribution (of income, wages, education, social provisions)
and more democratic participation in the economic sphere.
The Thai Civil Society Field

For the past few decades, the emergence and the active role of civil society
ranging from the increasing number of NGOs, the nationwide social
movements, public expression and the involvement of active citizens in
many social and political issues, as well as the use of social media in
spreading a wide range of information and criticism of authoritieshave
been pivotal to Thailands democratization. While the rise of civil society,
to a certain extent, has been part of the changing political atmosphere that
allows greater freedom of expression and resistance to unjust policies,
some scholars also see that the proliferation of civil society to have, in
turn, helped create the social conditions wherein the process of demonopolization can be initiated and strengthened at the truly grassroots
level (Pasuk 1999, Ukrist 2001).
Rapid economic development has led the Thai government to focus
on sustaining and expanding the countrys industrialization processes.
State-financed infrastructure and mega-projects have been extensively
implemented in rural Thailand, where natural resources are abundant and
could be employed in supporting growing industries (Fahn 2003). Statefinanced projects like dams, electricity-generating plants, superhighways,
industrial estates, and deep-sea ports have been flourishing throughout

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79

the rural regions, while private companies have also encroached agricultural lands and forests for the expansion of their industrial production
capacities. 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, basic human and community rights have
been violated and villagers access to natural resources has been obstructed by the states top-down regulation and controls (Missingham 2003).
Amidst these conflicts, representative democracy has been perceived by
many development-affected people as insufficient in guaranteeing their
rights, livelihood security, and emerging rural aspirations (see Jakkrit 2013
and Walker 2012). With the rise of NGOs working in development-related
fields, 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, thus helping
them to create fairer deals with the aforementioned public and private entities.
Table 3. Thai Civil Society Index
Autonomy

4.79

Competition

4.92

Pluralization

5.06

Solidarity

4.57

Average

4.83

As can be gleaned from table 3, when examined vis--vis the scores in


the other ADI fields, Thailands civil society index is ranked the highest
in terms of overall average de-monopolization score. It can be said that
there is some optimism among our informants, who generally think that
civil society can be a leading force in fostering de-monopolization in the
country. However, there are also some limitations and skepticism toward
civil societys role in the democratization process. Even though civil society
ranked the highest among the three field-specific sets of subprinciples, its

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average score is still low at 4.83. 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. When looking closely at how our
key experts perceived the status and roles of civil society in terms of the
ADI subprinciples, civil society pluralization ranked the highest, with a
score of 5.06, while the lowest is that of civil society solidarity at 4.57. It is
interesting to point out that both pluralization and solidarity are subprinciples of the ADI principle called equalization. In other words, there are
some paradoxical attributes in the process of creating equality within civil
society. This paradox is important as, to a certain extent, it reflects the
strengths and limitations of Thai civil society, especially in terms of its
capacity to work toward de-monopolization. We will elaborate on this
issue when we highlight and analyze some of the challenging attributes
within each subprinciple of civil society.
Under autonomy, civil society received a medium-ranked evaluation
in comparison to those of the political and economic fields, though the
score it received, 4.79, is still quite low. The most important achievements
within civil society in Thailand are perceived to be tolerance toward social
and cultural differences, the freedom of citizens to organize social activities,
and the provision of basic needs for most Thais. These three attributes are
essential in allowing members of Thai society to express their identity and
ideology without interference from the state, corporations, and their fellow
citizens. Our experts suggested that when the citizens basic needs are
sufficiently met, they can then engage more with public interest issues and
form networks of concerned citizens, which will in turn strengthen the role
and autonomy of civil society in fostering the de-monopolization process.
On a more critical note, some of the experts commented that the
autonomy of civil society is still very much based on the freedom granted
by the government. In addition, the success of several NGOs advocacy
depends very much on the interpersonal relationships between these
organizations leaders and key policymakers within bureaucratic circles
and, to certain extent, with some business conglomerates. This is not to
mention the emergence of many NGOs that are social enterprises, working
partly in accordance with business logic. With this kind of state-businessNGO entanglement, sometimes it is difficult to clearly identify the scope,
status, and autonomy of civil society in Thailand.
Civil society competition obtained a score of 4.92, which is higher
than the competition scores in politics and economy. This might be a
result of the influence and observable impacts that NGOs have had on
society. NGOs in Thailand have been actively working on many development issues such as environmental protection, human and communitys

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81

rights, ethnic and women empowerment, food security, and energy and
resource management. Many NGOs working on these issues have been
successful in inserting their concerns and agenda into the official policymaking process, or have at least raised awareness about these issues
among the general public. However, some of our experts commented that
such advocacies were mostly based on the initiatives of funding agencies
rather than representing real public interests. Thus, the average score
given to the indicators on the public good and transparency of NGOs is
quite low (4.62). In addition, competition among NGOs has led to
another dilemmathe lack of solidarity among civil society organizations
working on similar social issues. We will detail this dilemma later.
Based on our survey data, civil society pluralization is the most
successful subprinciple in the civil society field. However, even though
the roles and activities of NGOs in Thailand have recently diversified
as reflected by the 5.06 average score in the indicator contemplating these
roles and activitiessome NGOs prefer to limit their role to advocacy.
Another concern under civil society pluralization is media and the circulation
of information within society. The media has largely been criticized for
their bias and lack of professionalism in reporting the news. 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, lacking ethics, and inconsiderate when presenting
the news, especially via the daily newspapers.
Civil society solidarity is the least successful among the subprinciples
in the civil society field, obtaining a score of 4.57. This is probably the
most challenging factor; the lack of solidarity in this field is hampering
civil society from acting as a fostering field in the de-monopolization/
democratization process. During the past few decades, NGOs have
mushroomed and have been actively working in many developmentrelated issues throughout the country. As previously mentioned, this
plurality has also led to competition among NGOs and other social
groups working on similar fields and issues. Because most of Thai NGOs
rely so much on outside financial support, and because they have focused
mainly on advocacy and research rather than on fund-raising activities,
these NGOs have found themselves trapped in development aids competition. The competition and, in many cases, tension also led some of these
NGOs to claim people and areas as their territory, prohibiting other
organizations to enter therein and work with them toward achieving
common aims. This competition among the NGOs is what has mainly
impeded the creation of solidarity within Thai civil society.

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In sum, when looking at Thailands civil society using ADI indicators, we found that civil society has been perceived as the most advanced
in the de-monopolization process. The diversification of social groups,
media, and especially NGOs working on different social issues has been
viewed as a strength of Thai civil society, as reflected by civil society pluralizations relatively high score. Still, there are some limitations and challenges
within Thai civil society itself, especially as regards cooperation and solidarity
among the active agents therein. 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.
What needs to be tackled is how to improve this activation. Based on our
interviews, we believe that the increase in peoples real participation, the
articulation and better sharing of information, and better cooperation
among civil society organizations are the keys to achieving that development. Amidst the ongoing political conflicts and the current authoritarian
regime, 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.
Conclusion

The overall ADI score of Thailand for 2013 is 4.65 (see table 4). This
score suggests that Thailands level of democracy is still very low and
progress towards deepening democracy through de-monopolization is
making little progress. While the nationwide political conflicts and street
violence in Bangkok and other large cities in recent years have obviously
disrupted the process of democratization, they are only the tip of an
undemocratic iceberg that has long accumulated in Thai society. Thailand
is recognized as a recently industrialized country with a relatively liberal
economic policy, a development strategy that emphasizes the role of the private sector alongside state subsidization for community enterprises and the
agro-industrial sectors. The process of liberalization, especially in the economy, was perceived positively by many foreign investors, the international press
and international organizations, as well as by many Thai citizens themselves.
Today, however, 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. 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

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83

cost of social and political equalization in 2013-2014. In other words, the


advancement of Thailands economic liberalization was not accompanied
by the advancement of political liberalization in the country, which has
created problems and tensions, especially when centrally planned economic
policy and development projects are deemed to threaten the livelihood of
local people.
This skeptical view of liberalization is also reflected in the scores given
by our experts, who ranked the overall liberalization of the country at 4.92
on a 0-10 scale. After several decades of economic liberalization, from the
perspective of the interviewed experts, it is ironic that the economic
regime of the country is probably the most troublesome of the three fields
evaluated in the study. It is civil society that was ranked highest by the
experts, followed by the political field. Meanwhile, the economic situation
in Thailand reveals that even as the country is now considered an uppermiddle income country, decades of market-oriented liberalization cannot
really be considered successful as it has created inequality among different
groups of people, not only in economic terms but also in political and civil
society terms.
While liberalization has been evaluated skeptically, the rating thereof
is still higher than that of equalization, which received an aggregate score
of 4.38 (see table 5). Based on this data, we can state that Thailands demonopolization process has been moving more toward liberalization
rather than toward equalization. From our survey, when looking closely at
the equalization principle, the lowest score is in the field of the economy.
As mentioned above, the shortcomings of the economic liberalization
process in Thailand during the past decades have resulted in a wide variety
of inequalities. Economic inequality can be observed in the many persistent economic problems that Thailand is encountering today, including
labors lack of autonomy and rights, the centrally planned economic policies,
the lack of transparency in corporate operations and the relationship of
corporations with the government, the domination of a few business
conglomerates in many sectors, 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. This lack of equalization in the economic field,
we argue, has been the basis for the social discrimination and political
favoritism in Thai society which, in turn, has led to the creation of a
national political divide and the polarization of society at large.

Equalization

Liberalization

4.25
4.32
4.81

Solidarity

Average

4.82

Competition

Pluralization

5.85

Politics

Autonomy

Table 4. Summary of ADI Scores in Thailand

4.32

4.65

3.45

4.69

4.49

Economy

4.83

4.57

5.06

4.92

4.79

Civil Society

4.51

4.25

4.81

5.04

Average

4.65

Thai ADI
Score

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THAI COUNTRY REPORT

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85

Political equalization in Thailand scored 4.28, which, while a little bit


higher than equalization in the economic field, is still quite low. As discussed above, the most problematic aspects perceived in Thailands political regime regards the process of pluralization. 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.
This skepticism toward checks and balances and partisan politics have
resulted in elite groups and the middle class opposing elections, claiming
that Thailand is not yet ready for such a system as most of the citizens are
poor and uneducated, thus their votes can easily be brought with a small
amount of money and short-term benefits. From the perspective of these
people, the way to solve the problems of corrupted politics is for the system
to be reformed by good and qualified peopleimplying the aristocracy
instead of allowing everyone to have an equal voice in governing the
political system. Needless to say, this contradicts the aspiration, of the
majority population of the country, who see representative democracy and
elections as a channel for them to get involved in shaping policy.
Table 5. Liberalization and Equalization in Thailand
Politics

Economy

Civil
Society

Average

Liberalization

5.33

4.59

4.85

4.92

Equalization

4.28

4.05

4.81

4.38

Average

4.80

4.30

4.83

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. Of course, such division has also been influenced by the inequality and failure of liberalization, especially in the economic and political spheres. 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. We conclude that the only means to overcome

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THAI COUNTRY REPORT

the countrys polarization is not the cessation of democratic activities and the
reform of Thailand toward authoritarianism. Rather, the process of democratization can only be achieved through the de-monopolization of the political,
economic, and civil society spheres, leading to a condition wherein people can
constructively engage the state to shape a fairer society together.
References
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Berja, Clarinda L. 2013. Achievements and Limits of the Asian Democracy Index
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Conference, Realities and Prospects of Democracies in Asia, Sogang University,
Seoul, South Korea, August 29-30.
Einhorn, Bruce. 2013. Thailand's Farmer-Friendly Rice Subsidy Backfires. Bloomberg,
April 18. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-04-18/thailands-farmer-friendly
-rice-subsidy-backfires#p1. Accessed on June 28, 2014.
Cho, Heeyeon. 2012. Democratization as De-monopolization and Its Different Trajectories:
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Daimond, Larry. 2014. Democracy's Deepening Recession. The Atlantic, May 2.
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/05/the-deepening-recession-ofdemocracy/361591/. Accessed on 11 August 2014.
Fahn, James D. 2003. A Land on Fire: The Environmental Consequences of the Southeast
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Jakkrit Sangkhamanee. 2013. Democracy of the Desired: Everyday Politics and Political
Aspiration of Contemporary Thai Countryside. Asian Democracy Review 2: 5-37.
Missingham, Bruce D. 2003. The Assembly of the Poor in Thailand: From Local Struggles
to National Protest Movement. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books.
Naruemon Thabchumpon. 2012. Thailand: Contested Politics and Democracy, Report
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www.peacebuilding.no/Regions/Asia/Publications/Thailand-contested-politics-anddemocracy.
NESDB (National Economic Social Development Board). 2013. NESDB Economic
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NHSO (National Health Security Office). 2012. Annual Report, 20 December 2013.
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130319946592031250_annual report_2555.zip. Accessed on August 11, 2014.
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download/news/bp2011_12_15.pdf.
Pasuk Pongpaichit. 1999. Civilising the State: State, Civil Society and Politics in Thailand. Amsterdam: Centre for Asian Studies Amsterdam.
Pasuk Pongpaichit and Pornthep Benjaapikul. 2013. Political Economy Dimension of a
Middle Income Trap: Challenges and Opportunities for Political Reform in Thailand.
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Pornthep Benyaapikul and Pokpong Junvith. 2013. Thailands Decent Wage and its
Impacts on the Economy. Research paper submitted to Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
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13-20.
Stepan, Alfred. 2001. The New Professionalism of Internal Warfare and Military Role
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Walker, Andrew. 2012. Thailands Political Peasants: Power in the Modern Rural Economy.
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Challenges and Possibilities of


Substantive Democracy in India:
A Critical Engagement through the
ADI Framework
NAVEEN CHANDER, BONOJIT HUSSAIN

Democracy as it Exists in India

We must make our political democracy a social democracy as


well. Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base
of it social democracy. What does social democracy mean? It
means a way of life which recognises liberty, equality, and fraternity as the principles of lifeon the 26th of January 1950, we
are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will
have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality.
In politics, we will be recognising the principle of one man-one vote
and one vote-one value. In our social and economic life, we shall by
reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the
principle of one man-one value - Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar1
As compared to those countries and people who have gone through a long
period under authoritarian rule (in varying conditions and degrees), if we
look at the history of India over the last six decades, we might well observe it to be one of the worlds most robust democracies. 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, thereby safeguarding the basic philosophy that
____________________________________________________________

Naveen Chander and Bonojit Hussain are independent researchers based in Delhi. They
are affiliated with New Socialist Initiative.

ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. 3 (2014): 89-125

ISSN 2244-5633

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INDIAN COUNTRY REPORT 2013

underlies it, which gives individuals a great degree of priority


over communities;
b) It is a sustained stable polity without much ruptures, except
for two years of State-imposed Emergency2 in the middle of
1970s, to which the masses responded with clear disapproval,
leading to the emergence of the first non-Indian National Congress
(henceforth Congress party), which is led by government at the
central level;
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;
d) The demise of what is theorized as one party dominance or
the Congress system3 in the 1970s and the 1980s, which has
definitely given rise to a spectrum of political parties, from extreme right wing to extreme left wing. Simultaneous with this demonopolization in the institutional political sphere is the growth
of mass/social movements all over the country of peasants, workers,
Dalits,4 tribals, et cetera. In other words, a relatively expanded
scope of what is termed as civil society has also been a visible
phenomenon in India. A good illustration of this can be seen in
the influences exerted by various civil society formations, in the
last two decades, in pushing for many progressive laws like the
National Rural Employment Guarantees Act, the Right to
Information Act, the Forest Rights Acts, the Right to Education
Act, et cetera; and
e) A judicial apparatus that has played a significant role at times
to put the government of the day in check. 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. However, the same cannot be said of the lower judiciary which is often perceived to be incompetent, biased and hand in glove with
the political class.
While all these points are not mere assertions, there is a flip side to
them, almost a paradox. As democracy matures further in India, a fairly

CHANDER, HUSSAIN

91

large section of people have shown resilience toward democratic form of


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

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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;
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; and
c) the adivasis6 in the mineral-rich forest areas of Central India.
These groups face Indian democracy in very different manners and
degrees. As Jairus Banaji (2013) argues, the State violates its own constitution and does so repeatedly and is probably the biggest violator of the
constitution of this country. The State which is supposed to be the guarantor and upholder of the constitution is the biggest violator of the constitution; its a paradox. 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.
How Do We Approach Indian Democracy?

Democracy as a term, concept, political system, ideology, and history can


mean many things in different times and spaces. Historical specificities
are as important as the universalizing tendencies in a social phenomenon
like democracy. 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. This can help us understand why democracy
appears differently in most of the world today. To turn it around one can
also look at the specific roots of authoritarian regimes. 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.
According to Kaviraj (2011, 9-10), Indian democracy is peculiar in the
sense in which every democracy is peculiar. British democracy shows the
peculiarity of never undergoing a revolutionary rupture in its political
traditions. French democracy is peculiar in the sense of emerging from a
revolution. German democracy is peculiar in the sense that it has to deal

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93

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

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fact, the word equality has virtually disappeared from public discourse
and has been replaced by the language of growth.
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. In fact, economic equality is not a variable under liberal
idea of democracy. With the increasing pressure of global capitalist needs
and the corresponding policy orientation of Indian State towards neoliberal
restructuring in last two decades, the State has gradually withdrawn from
its agenda of welfare and responsibility to provide opportunities to the
underprivileged. Massive privatization of basic services, such as health
and education, which previously, to some extent, were provided by the
State, has accelerated the process of intensifying inequalities. This has
been coupled with the phenomenon of an average of 7 to 9 percent
sustained growth.
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,
b) But on the other hand democracy cannot provide an opposition
and resistance to the massive inequalities generated by capitalist
development. In fact, it can be safely be argued with help of various
data that over the years, inequalities have increased by manifold.
With the process of dispossession or primitive accumulation, the
processes of producing inequalities have become more violent,
which has serious consequences for democracy in general. Thus,
ours is not only a historical moment which not only has sufficient
potential to subvert the democratization process, but it can also
seriously alter the concept of democracy as possibly the best form
of rule for the propertied classes.
Many political theorists will not include inequality as a multi-layered
category that encompasses political, economic, and social aspects. When
they assess the development of democracy, they use a narrow meaning of
the term social. In the Indian case, the social implies, for example, 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.
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

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

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therein, Southern India will score very differently on the ADIs liberalization and equalization measures of democratization than Northern India.
One of the reasons for this has do with the Souths 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 termshas
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

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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. Indias 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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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

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

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At the very core of liberal conventional approaches, which do not like


to pose the aforediscussed as a conflict between democracy and capitalism,
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. 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, yet that does not necessarily bring overall egalitarian value
to the system of democracy on its own. 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, social, economic equality are less preferable (Kaviraj
2011, 2). On the other hand, conventional Marxism, argues Kaviraj, is
excessively critical of what it regards as bourgeois democracy treats it
primarily as a deceptive institutional arrangement and, in its more extreme
variants, regarding democracy as a sham (Kaviraj 2011, 2).
Kaviraj (2011, 1) argues that like other democracies, there are problems
in Indian Democracy, but there is a special sense in which the existence
of democracy in India is itself a problem. The establishment, relative success,
and unfamiliar historical elaborations of forms of this phenomenon all go
against some of the deepest assumptions of conventional democratic theory.
He further finds problem in the assumption that the rise of modernity
produces complete disenchantment in societies (Kaviraj 2011, 1). Democracy,
he argues is in fact part of the political enchantment of modernity (Kaviraj 2011, 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,
1). But at the same time it also leads to despair by making people expect
too much, often by turning the conception of democracy in some form of
nave thinking into a secular equivalent of paradise (Kaviraj 2011, 1).
As Kaviraj further notes, if we go by the methods and techniques of
conventional political theory, Indian democracy seems to defy all the
preconditions that theory lays down for the success of democratic government (2011, 2). This is because, according to Kaviraj, these preconditions
are picked out of the conditions that surrounded the rise of democratic
forms in the modern West namely, the presence of a strong bureaucratic
state, capitalist production, industrialization, appreciable levels of literacy,
commonality of language, the secularization of society and relative
economic prosperity (2011, 2). Looking at Indian democracy in reference
to these preconditions, one has to either conclude that since these preconditions were never met in India it cannot be called democracy at all or maybe we

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need to ask are these preconditions really preconditions for democracy,


or were we led to believe they are by some fault in our thinking? (Kaviraj
2011, 2). Kaviraj (2011, 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.
In the history of the West, 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. In India, by contrast,
these processes have been going on at the same time and show that the
logic of one can seriously affect, hinder, or alter the logic of the other.
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. For him, the vast majority of poor, whom he conceptually considers part of political society, 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. He argues that
there is now a new dynamic logic that ties the operations of political
society (comprising the peasantry, artisans and petty producers in the
informal sector) with the hegemonic role of the bourgeoisie in civil
society (2008, 53). This logic is provided by the requirement of reversing
the effects of primitive accumulation of capital with activities like antipoverty programmes. This is a necessary political condition for the continued
rapid growth of corporate capital (Chatterjee 2008, 53). The State, with
its mechanisms of electoral democracy, becomes the field for the political
negotiation of demands for the transfer of resources, through fiscal and
other means, from the accumulation economy to programmes aimed at
providing the livelihood needs of the poor (Chatterjee 2008, 53). Chatterjee
says that his thought is based on the work of Sanyal (2007). Sanyal,
influenced by Marx, 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, 54). 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, since this
carries the risk of turning them into the dangerous classes (2008, 53).
Thus, while there is a dominant discourse about the importance of
growth, which in recent times has come to mean almost exclusively capitalist
growth, it is, at the same time, 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, 55).

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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, 38), it has two obvious limitations. Firstly, 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, i.e., transition from authoritarian rule. India is a classic
example that provides basis for a modification of the aforesaid formulation.
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. The fact
that neoliberalism has created obstacles for democracy is not contested,
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. The introduction of neoliberalism
is more a visible sign of a clear shift in the nature of the Statefrom one
kind of welfare state, one that was pushing the transition toward democracy,
toward a different model of welfare that is targeted to the specific social
groups. Thus, what we also need to see is a contemporary history of the
State focusing on its transformations.
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. 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.
In liberal regimes, like the one in India for instance, problems seem to be
identified with democratic consolidation or in located inside certain
forms or practices. This conception of internality suggests that the issue is
one of getting things right within the system, thereby protecting the system or model itself from critique. In societies like India that do not have
the narrative of transition from authoritarianism, 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. In
the contemporary context, this leads us to consider that the existing

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framework of democracy that makes liberal democracy the natural


choice needs to be questioned as well.
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, thus eroding the peoples
trust in democratic institutions. Under the global gale of neoliberalism,
processes of democratization could not but abort the improvement of the
quality of life in the society (CADI 2012, 38) Is there a clear relationship
we can see between a particular idea of democratization, i.e., transition
from authoritarianism, 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, leads to or
forces, owing to structural reasons, the neoliberal policies. 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, especially by the
last decades of twentieth century? If we reverse the proposition, 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.
While we consider globalization to be an important feature of the
contemporary moment, in our analysis the actions of regimes that are external to them do not get accounted for. A country might be rating highly
in democracy indices but it might be promoting conditions averse to democratization is other parts of the world. We have examples of authoritarian
regimes developing reciprocal structural linkages with many liberal
democracies. To take an example, the United States of America is
heavily dependent on securing oil from states in the Middle East that are
clearly authoritarian. The USA is heavily invested in the stability of these
regimes, economically and militarily. In most developing countries that
are following neoliberal economic policies the gap between the rich and
the poor has been growing rapidly. This has often been linked to the
Structural Adjustment Programmes advocated by agencies like the World
Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The role of these agencies,
which are dominated by interests of leading Western states, in fostering
conditions of agonizing inequality within and between nation states calls for
attention since increasing inequality hinders the process of democratization.
Another issue that is important for us in India, and might well be
useful for other members of the Consortium for the Asian Democracy
Index (CADI), is the diverse and opposite processes in the three spheres
of politics, the economy, and civil society. Here, the interplay between the

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concepts of democratization and de-monopolization is called into question.


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. But if we look at the economic sphere, we do not find the same
process taking place. 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, this has happened in certain
senses. State control over the economy has been significantly reduced in
last thirty years, with the country witnessing neoliberal restructuring and
privatization. The license regime is over and through the process of globalization, Indian markets are open for corporate capital. 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.
This led to, in recent times, massive corruption in India where often elected
members and ministers are involved in tilting policies in favor of corporate
capital. In fact, many of such ministries that deal with key sectors of
Indian economy are manipulated by big capital. 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. The corporate demands for cheap natural resources are being
met, on one hand, by accelerated expropriation and pauperization of marginal peasants and tribal peoples, while on the other hand we are witnesses
to massive budgetary cuts in the social sector, which provides basic support
(e.g., health) and the main avenues for sustenance and upward mobility
(e.g., education).
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. As suggested
above, neoliberal economic restructuring in India has resulted in a related
growth of cronyism and monopolistic tendencies, both of which are detrimental to democracy since they render institutions ineffectual. If we look
at India, we see that once the process of monopolization starts in economic
sphere, it gets linked up with having to influence government policies for
consolidating advantages, i.e., by lobbying for particular kinds of economic
policies. Corporate funding of political parties and ownership of media
houses results in effective pressuring of governments to shape policies
benefitting these capital-holders. Opponents can also be blocked off,
exemplified in the recent media boycott of a particular newly emerging

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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). In other words, in indirect ways we can
witness the emergence of a complex in politics and economy that could
possibly lead to monopolization. Thus, we have to think differently about
de-monopolization in a formal democracy.
Furthermore, a major limitation that we were confronted with during
our survey is that the questionnaire does not sufficiently capture the Indian
reality, an observation that, as we will detail later, our respondents shared
with us. Whereas the ADI conceptual framework can be used as a guiding
set of principles subject to modification, the questions were insufficiently
grounded in the particular reality of India. To give an example, unless we
include the reality of caste to understand the democracy and demonopolization relationship in India, our analysis of it can be misleading.
Similarly, it is a challenge to incorporate the regional diversity in India.
We cannot expect a homogenous experience of all the social groups and
classes in the country, thus it is very important to acknowledge the
differences that exist. 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. Violence and citizens rights, for example,
are such variables that cannot be generalized in the Indian case. While
Human Rights Watch terms India as dangerous, it should be noted that
not all the regions and social groups face violence by State or non-elected
institutions with similar intensity.
Finally, in order to further enrich our understanding of really existing
democracy in India, we must try and disaggregate the objects of analysis.
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. Just to give an example, 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. 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.
To conclude this section, we are of the opinion that while we see demonopolization as a good working conceptual model, we need to further
evolve both specific and general questions together for the ADI project to
accomplish its aims in India.

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Report on the 2013 ADI Survey in India


Objectives of the Study

This study of Indian democracy, based on the methodology devised by


CADI, is an attempt to initiate a closer understanding of Indian democracy
while considering the complexity and multiplicity of the Indian context.
The histories and realities of Asian societies necessitate such an effort.
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. We hope the case of India will further help to problematize
certain parameters that may not address Indian and South Asian realities.
Methodology and Problems Encountered
Survey Method and Duration

The survey was conducted between January and May 2013. The survey
was predominantly conducted in-person; twenty-four of our experts were
interviewed face-to-face. Survey forms were sent through email to three of
our experts.
Selection and Profile of Experts

This study, as a part of the ADI pilot test, uses both qualitative and
quantitative analyses of data from a survey of twenty-seven experts across
different fields and ideological moorings. The respondents were selected
primarily on the basis of their expertise on relevant issues that may
highlight, if not be representative of, the whole of Indian society with all
its complexities. Our twenty-seven experts were selected from various
fieldssocial activists, political activists, academics, corporate officers, financial experts, and journalists. 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-, Liberal-, and Right-wing. The experts were then
distributed to answer one of the three ADI questionnaires corresponding to
the three ADI fields (politics, the economy, and civil society).

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Difficulties and Comments from the Experts

The predominant difficulty in carrying out the survey was at the level of
the questionnaire. The questionnaires were given to many experts but a
significant number of them refused to answer, saying that the questionnaires
did not address Indian reality. The current set of experts came through
despite their disagreements with the questionnaires and particular
questions about them. After hurdling this initial difficulty, however, upon
persuasion, the questionnaires were filled out by the requisite number of
respondents. Due to this impediment, the quantity and expanse of the
optional explanatory comments we obtained from our experts are lower
than what was expected from the respondents.
It truly must be emphasized that the typical first response to the
questionnaire, regardless of the experts ideological position, was that the
instruments do not address Indian reality, thus the experts often found
difficulty in assigning a numerical rating as a response to certain questions.
The Survey Results

Figures 1.1 and 1.2 show the consolidated results of the ADI pilot survey
conducted between January to May 2013 in India. It shows the average of
all the subprinciple and core principle scores we obtained across the three
ADI fields.
The average (overall) Indian ADI is 4.53 on a scale of 0 to 10. This
means that the experts have generally rated Indian Democracy negatively, i.e.,
below the median value of 5. In terms of the core principles of ADI framework, the overall indices for both liberalization and equalization are modest.
While liberalization scored 4.81, equalization fared a little worse at 4.24.
In terms of the three fields of the ADI framework, the Indian political index is highest, with a score of 5, while the Indian economy index is
the lowest at 3.67. In between is the Indian civil society index, which
scored 4.76.
What follows are brief discussions of the results of the survey per field.
More detailed analyses of the results per subprinciples will be done later.

Figure 1.1. Overall Results of the 2013 ADI Survey in India

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Figure 1.2. Core Principle Scores by Field, 2013 ADI Survey in India

Politics

The results of the Indian politics survey, structured on the basis of the
four ADI subprinciples (autonomy, competition, pluralization, solidarity)
is provided in figure 2. The overall scores of autonomy, competition, and
solidarity did not differ much, with respective scores of 5.01, 5.31, and
5.06. However, the score for pluralization was relatively lower at 4.55.
The respondents under the Liberal category tended to give high scores
(above 6) to indicators under all four subprinciples. On the other hand,
the respondents under the Left category tended give low scores to the
indicators under all four subprinciples, ranging from an average of
4.44 (in competition) to 2.29 (in pluralization).

Figure 2. Scores in Politics Per Subprinciple and Respondent Category

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Economy

The results of the Indian economy survey can be seen in figure 3. In the economic field, the subprinciples of autonomy and competition, though tending
toward negative (below 5), showed better average scores (4.55 and 4.74,
respectively) than that for solidarity (3.8), while the results for pluralization
can be said to be extremely poor. Economic pluralization indicators were
rated very poorly by respondents from all three categories, with the overall
score being 1.97. Still under economic pluralization, the Left, Liberal,
and Right respondents gave average scores of 2.33, 1, and 2.6, respectively.
Civil Society

The results of the Indian economy survey are shown in figure 4. The
average scores for all the subprinciples in the field of civil society are average
to below average. The scores for competition and pluralization, hovering
around 5, are slightly better than the scores for autonomy and solidarity,
which are at 4.35 and 4.65, respectively.
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. 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. Having said that, we will still
need to look at the current context to help us in correctly interpreting the data.
The period we are concerned with here is between 2004 and 2013,
almost a year before the general elections of 2014. This period, for the
study of Indian democracy, is interesting and complex in many ways. This
period can be divided into two timeframes: 2004-2008 and 2008-2013. In
2004, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the Congress party,
defeated the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by BJP. Looking
at the aggressive shining India campaign of BJP-led NDA, this was a
significant and surprising victory for the Congress party-led UPA, whose
leading campaign slogan was aam aadmi ka haath, Congress ke
saath (the common man is with the Congress). The UPA government
again got re-elected in the general elections of 2009. Thus, we can call the
first term of this government (our first period), from 2004-2008, as UPA-I,
and the current term (our second period) as UPA-II.

Figure 3. Scores in Economy Per Subprinciple and Respondent Category

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

Figure 4. Scores in Civil Society Per Subprinciple and Respondent Category

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

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gence of an idea of social democracy that includes the former but goes
beyond it. The emergence of Aam Aadmi (common man) as a discourse generally, at this juncture, reflects the combination of these two
aspirations/orientations in the Indian polity. At this moment, the progress
of democracy carries both these possibilities in India.
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. Similar to the response of anticorruption movements, large urban constituencies got mobilized in a
manner and scale never seen before.
To sum up, 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, an immensely powerful corporate class whose interests are in
a nexus with those of the political class. An active political citizenry and
growing inequalities, along with a possibly divided state apparatus, might
fail to always find a balance between two mutually contradictory phenomenaan emerging political and an economic right wing. The world
of Indian democracy is full of both opportunities and threats.
This suggests that to some extent the process of democratization
progressed because of some of the initiatives under UPA-I, which had
initiated the potential of transformation in the existing relations of power
in the fields of politics, economy, and civil society. Of course, the degree
and the scale of this transformation did not carry the potentialities of democratizing rapidly to all the fields. 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. Furthermore,
the characteristics of UPA-II show that the way a system within which
democracy works is not a givenit is actually volatile. Thus, 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.
Before we get into further discussion and explanation of our survey
data, we must mention that the respondent categories were chosen with
their ideological leanings as prescribed in the current ADI methodology.
Except in some cases, those who were categorized as Left scored very
critically, with marks on the lower side of the 0-10 scale, the Liberals
tended to score on the positive (above 5) side, and the Right scored less
enthusiastically than the Liberals but more optimistically than the
Left. The Left seem to consider democracy in India to be a near-sham,
Liberals celebrate it and find it possibly the best system available, and the

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Right locate themselves the middle of this Left-Liberal pendulum. Nevertheless, it seems that the Right find their relationship with democracy
quite troubled.
With this set of respondents, the aggregate score for the core principle of
equalization is relatively low (4.24) in comparison to the overall score of
the core principal of liberalization (4.81). The equalization score, according
to the ADI framework, signifies the quality of democracy and the
achievement of agents in terms of gaining actual resources within a certain
system (CADI 2012, 45). The two subprinciples of equalization, pluralization and solidarity, shows the extent to which monopoly over resources
[have weakened] and the available means to de-integrate the monopoly
of resources, respectively (CADI 2012, 45). In this light, given how in
our survey liberalization scored slightly better than equalization, we can
say that Indian democracy is not doing well in terms of pluralization and
solidarity. But this cannot be generalized in each field. Under equalization, the most glaring contrast can be seen in the field of economy. In this
field, the score is 1.97 for pluralization and 3.8 for solidarity. What does
this tell us about Indian democracy? If we go by the ADI framework, 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) and the
means by which inequality is institutionally addressed (CADI 2012,
70). Furthermore, the low pluralization score supposedly suggests the
existence of economic monopoly, disparity among regions, inequalities in
income, assets and employment (CADI 2012, 65-69).
In this context the score in the field of politics under the core principal of liberalization, and specifically the subprinciples of autonomy and
competition, is a good contrast. The score is 5.01 in autonomy and 5.31 in
competition in the political field. The subprinciple of political autonomy
tells us to what extent the citizens are independent from government, in
terms of the degree of state violence, the degree of civil liberties, the
degree of freedom to organize political groups and undertake political
action, and the degree of freedom and political opposition (CADI
2012, 47-49). Meanwhile, the subprinciple of political competition refers
to other forms of political freedom such as universal suffrage, rule of law,
fair and competitive election, et cetera (CADI 2012, 50-52).
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, whereas this has not necessarily
resulted into equalization in the economic field in any region. In one way,

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the enactments of rights and the empowering of citizens under UPA-I,


coupled with an economic system characterized by growing inequalities, is
one definite trend of democracy in India. The State is central in both of
these narratives of Indian democracy.
In the final sections of this paper, we will look at the scores per subprinciple in each field. Considering that the questionnaires were considered as far from Indian reality, both by the respondents and surveyors
own observations, it will be presumptuous to utilize the data generated in
terms of different variables as representative of Indian democracy indices;
further analyses of the data carries with it the possibility of misrepresenting the
existing Indian context. However, if one supersedes the impediments
arising from the questionnaires, the data can be used to make the following
broad sketches about the India context.
A final word before the analyses: even if the overall score is below 5
on the 0-10 scale, one has to consider, while evaluating such scores, that
the responses not only reveal the existing realities of Indian democracy
but also inform us of the respondents expectations of an ideal democracy.
In short, their evaluations also merge with their own idea about the kind
of democracy that they want.
Autonomy

The autonomy index in politics is relatively good, standing at 5 on a scale


of 0-10. The autonomy in the economy field is at 4.56, while it is at 4.35
in the field of civil society. From the differential data in the respective
fields, it is clear that the scores to the items under autonomy in the economic and civil society fields are inclined toward negative evaluation,
while those in the political domain can possibly progress toward a higher
index as the current score stands at the median.
In the field of politics, it is remarkable to see that the item on state
violence has scored low (meaning high incidence), obtaining only a 3.55
overall score, whereas the rest of the items, which deal with the degree of
civil liberties, degree of freedom to organize political groups and undertake political action, and degree of freedom for political opposition have
scored relatively highly (meaning high degree of these freedoms) with
overall scores of 5.22, 6.55, and 4.77 respectively.
The state violence score is informed by the different attitude of the
State toward certain regions, sections and groups, as has been outlined in
the previous sections. The corresponding reality of this score can be captured

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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. Government has also been involved in
extra-judicial killings (euphemistically called encounter killing).
The belief that the other freedoms under political economy are wellguaranteed by the State has to be qualified. There are exceptional areas,
e.g., in Kashmir and parts of Northeast India, where there are ongoing
movements for self-determination, as well in Central India where there is
a civil war going on between State forces and the Maoist guerrillas, which
has resulted in suspension of all the freedoms mentioned in the items
above therein.
In the field of economy, the autonomy score is 4.56, lower than the
median. It is considerably difficult to validate this score as a representative
figure because out of the three items under economic autonomy, the first
item, which looks into political power/elites influence on private companies,
does not address Indian reality. 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. 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.
Protection of basic labor rights received an average overall score.
Considering the fact that India has some of the best labor laws in the
world, one would have expected higher score, but the current situation
says otherwise. Since the 1990s, with the onset of liberalization, while very
progressive labor laws exist, 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. Its interests are now intertwined with those of private capital, thereby becoming complicit in the
violations of its own laws.
The autonomy score in the field of Civil Society is relatively low, at
4.34. The score reflects the paradox of social autonomy in India. Social
activities are fairly free from state interference, yet in response to items
concerning freedom in relation to the market and basic human development level and tolerance, the scores from our respondents are expectedly
low. The data reflects existing conditions of illiteracy, intolerance, and
poverty; Indias human development index is currently lower than SubSaharan Africa. Furthermore, in a study conducted by the UNICEF,
eight million children in India have never stepped inside a school, while
80 million have dropped out without completing basic schooling (The
Hindu 2013).

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Competition

Similar to the autonomy scores, the competition index in the political


field, at 5.31, is relatively better than the same in the fields of economy
and civil society, which have scores of 4.74 and 4.94, respectively. From
the differential data in the respective fields, 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.
In the political field, the guarantee of electoral rights and freedom of
expression, as well as the occurrence of regular free and fair elections rates
impressively high in the eyes of our respondents. However, as far as the
item on implementation of government policies by its agencies is concerned,
the response from the experts are substantially negative, confirming the
political common sense about government agencies. While non-elected
bodies based on family heritage or military power are not seen by our
respondents to have an influence on political power, many experts have
pointed out that corporate groups (both domestic and foreign) do have
undue influence on the government.
In the economic field, our respondents have a negative evaluation of
corporate transparency in our country. In India, corporate governance is
rather opaque; as one of our respondents put it, corporate operations are
incredibly obscured from public society. The issue of fairness of competition between companies was regarded to be controversial, with our respondents opining that the question corresponding thereto is too vague for the
Indian condition. 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. The current
CADI formulation fails to capture broader questions of economic activities,
especially when one considers the glaring exclusion of religious minorities,
Dalits, and other lower castes.
The civil society competition index is at 4.94, closer to the median
but still on the negative side, but slightly better than that of the economy
field. The representation of society by civil society organizations (CSOs)
is ranked fairly high. If one takes into consideration the broad nature of
CSOs, the index is fairly representative. On the other hand, when we look at
the indices of capability, transparency, and diversity of voluntary association,
the figures pull down the overall competition index on the lower side of
the median. As one of the respondents rightly identified, on paper, CSOs
participate openly in the political debate/s, but their ability to influence

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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, respectivelyclose 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 womens 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 inequalityindeed, 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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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 publics 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 peoples 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 solidaritys 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 opinionthat 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

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conflicts in more than repressive ways, thereby unleashing the deployment of literal
suspension of normalcy in these regions in the decades since the 1970s. However,
the Indian state has successfully managed to retain electoral democracy in these areas.
6. Adivasi is term is used in India for indigenous people, though this term does not
capture the reality of these 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. Adivasi in some sense can also mean the primitive communities, 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. A substantial population of Adivasi women now work as domestic
workers in cities like Delhi. Adivasi in the Indian constitution are given the status of
Scheduled Tribe and are entailed to reservation based on affirmative action.
7. While the form of parliamentary system was taken from British government, the
institution of an independent judiciary and fundamental rights were taken from
Unities States; federal structure with a strong center from Canada; directive principle
for state policy from the Irish constitution; emergency provision and suspension of
fundamental rights from the Weimar constitution of Germany; amendment with 2/3
majority in parliament from South Africa; and the idea of fundamental duties from
the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, among others.
8. 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. The largest underground armed party is known as the Communist Party of
India (Maoist).
9. This term is not much in use today, 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, broadly
speaking (Nigam 2000, 2). More specifically, this category was used by Indian
scholars, 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, 2) (see also Kothari 1984).
10. The survey was designed and executed by Anil Chamaria, a freelance journalist,
Jitendra Kumar from the Media Study Group, and Yogendra Yadav, senior fellow at
the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. The survey mentions that there
were no Dalits and Adivasis among the top 300 journalists. See Upper Castes
Dominate National Media, The Hindu, June 5, 2006.

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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

Introduction

By its midterm in 1989, President Corazon Cory Aquinos administration


had revived a dead economy (posting a 6.7 percent growth in 1988),
placed virtually all school age children in school, caused unemployment to
decline significantly since 1985 (the year before Aquino took office), and
caused poverty to decline significantly since 1985or at least Cory
Aquino claimed these achievements in her fourth (1989) state of the nation
address (SONA). Several other figures showing socioeconomic development
peppered that speecha typical feature of Philippine SONAs. Cory
Aquino was proudest, however, of something she did not quantifyher
administrations political achievements:
In little over a year, we uprooted a dictatorship and planted the freest
democracy in the world with all its good and bad features. We held
elections that were the freest and most participative in the history of this
perhaps of any republic in the world.
Our swift democratization was done against the advice that I reserve
emergency powers in the face of rising military adventurism and
communist terrorism. 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, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines Manila.
Miguel Paolo P. Reyes is university research associate at the Third World Studies Center,
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines Diliman. Joshua
Hans B. Baquiran is a Master of Arts in History candidate at the Department of History,
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines Diliman.
ASIAN DEMOCRACY REVIEW Vol. 3 (2014): 127-149

ISSN 2244-5633

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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. Democracy
is our faith and the root of our strength to defend it. (C. Aquino 1989)

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

REYES, BERJA, BAQUIRAN

129

Many are convinced that that is not the case. One assessment from a
political watchdog nongovernmental organization (NGO) stated that
three years of the Noynoy Aquino administration only entrenched elite
governance, as he has done no institutional reforms - which are the call
of the times - and never will he (CenPEG 2013). 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,
given that the actual GDP growth is far from target, the Philippines
remains the poorest among the ASEAN-5 economies (the Philippines,
Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore), and that overall, the
growth Aquino boasts of is not inclusive (Diokno 2013). Lastly, according
to the Movement for Good Governance, a coalition of citizens and
organizations that was organized to build a constituency for better
governance, the Noynoy Aquino government is making gains in delivering
what the president has promised, with the caveat that these gains are
being achieved with a slow pace (2013).
Asian Democracy Index (ADI) assessments in the Philippines have
been ongoing since 2011, about a year into Noynoy Aquinos term. The
Philippine team was particularly interested in completing an ADI survey
round in 2013, as this year marks the Noynoy Aquino administrations
midterm. Moreover, 2013 is an election yearin May, 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. In October, elections were be held for posts at the lowest
administrative unit level, the barangay. Are the abovementioned apparent
beliefs of Noynoy Aquino regarding Philippine democracy justified? Is it
no longer necessary to explicitly invoke democracy as the peoples faith,
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. We categorized 45 percent of these
experts as Left-Left leaning, while the remaining 55 percent were categorized as Right-Right leaning. To reiterate the Philippine teams heuristic
categorization of respondents,

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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, publications, etc.) to exhibit
critical or dissenting opinions against the Philippine government
and its policies, at the same time are avowedly supportive of
socialist socioeconomic policies are classified as left-left leaning;
2) those who have worked for the Philippine government, either
in the bureaucracy or as consultants, and/or subscribe to the
governments neoliberal socioeconomic policies are classified
as right-right leaning. (Reyes, Berja, and Socrates 2012, 138)
The Philippine team encountered a number of challenges in data
collection this year, the most notable of which is the aforementioned 2013
electionsmany potential respondents were expected to be unavailable
until after the elections, as some of them were involved in the elections in
various capacities, such as candidate, campaign manager, tracking poll
manager, and election watchdog head.
Survey Methodology
Sample Selection and Respondent Profile

As in previous years, for the 2013 survey, the Philippine research team
made a long list potential respondents, all of whom can be considered
experts in politics, economics, or civil society. The list includes experts
from the academe; nongovernmental/civil society organizations (NGOs/
CSOs); and what the team refers to as the private sector, members of
which, as we have stated before (Reyes, Berja, and Saturay 2012, 125),
are not affiliated with the government or any academic institution, nor
are primarily affiliated with NGOs/CSOs. The experts were then categorized according to their ideological leanings (L-LL or R-RL).
The respondent profile according to field, institutional affiliation, and
ideological leaning can be found in table 1. As in the previous survey, our
target sample size was fifty-four, or twice the prescribed minimum for a
national ADI survey, 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.
While clearly we failed to meet our target sample size, our sample is still
in excess of the common CADI minimum and is still a fair mix of L-LL
and R-RL individuals.

REYES, BERJA, BAQUIRAN

Table 1. 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. of L-LL
1
1
1
2
1
0
3
1
3
13

NO. of R-RL
1
3
2
3
3
2
0
1
1
16

Geographic Coverage

As with previous surveys, the 2013 survey includes respondents from all
of the countrys three major island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao,
though most of the respondents were at the time of data collection based in
the National Capital Region/Metropolitan Manila.
Data Collection

The survey ran from June to November 2013, less than a month after the
2013 local-legislative elections until a few weeks after the October barangay
elections. However, the majority of the filled-out questionnaires were
returned to us by early August 2013, just before the so-called million
peoples march in Manila against the heavily abused Priority Development
Assistance Fund (the latest euphemism for Congressional discretionary
funds) (Mangosing et al., 2013). The quantitative-qualitative ADI
questionnaireseach corresponding to one of the three ADI fieldsthat
the Philippine team has been using since 2011 were again the study
instruments. As before, constraints in distance, time, and resources made
it difficult for the researchers to conduct face-to-face interviews. Only one
face-to-face interview was conducted in 2013. The rest of the respondents
answered the questionnaires that were sent (mostly by email) on their
own. Most of the respondents were given on average one week to return
their filled-out survey instruments. Most of them were given a deadline
extension if they failed to submit on time.
The team sent a total of ninety invitations to potential respondents.
Four of the fifteen 2011-2012 paneliststhose who participated in

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PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013

both the 2011 and 2012 survey roundsstated that they could not participate
in the 2013 survey round due to previous commitments or did not reply
to the teams invitations. 52.78 percent of previous respondents explicitly
or constructively refused to/were unable to participate or withdrew
participation from the 2013 survey. The overall refusal rate (including
those who constructively refused or withdrew their participation) for 2013
is 67.78 percent, the highest since the 2011 pilot test. For some, this may
have been due to respondent fatigue (since they have been answering the
same survey instrument every year since 2011). For others, it may have
been partly due to work they had to do in connection to the elections.
Analytical Method

As in last years survey, the Philippine team complied with the analytical
method delineated in the latest version of the ADI Guidebook (CADI 2012).
Findings

Table 2 summarizes the preliminary estimates derived from the results


thus far of the 2013 CADI ADI survey in the Philippines. For reference,
table 3 shows the overall results of the 2012 survey. The aggregate scores
of every subprinciple in politics and civil society clearly went down.
Interestingly, 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. Taking
into account Noynoy Aquinos statements on the Philippines supposedly
improving economic fundamentals, 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, one might think that the respondents are generally of the opinion
that the 2013 elections were questionable, or that the Philippines
vibrant civil society is in fact growing weaker. Such interpretations are
tempered by the optional explanatory comments, which we will dwell upon
in relation to the ratings in the following field-based subsections.

Democracy Indices

Equalization (E)

Liberalization (L)

Core Principles

Autonomy
Competition
Pluralization
Solidarity

Subprinciples
5.30
4.95
2.93
4.48
L = 5.13
E = 3.70

E = 4.98

Fields
Economy

5.92
4.11
4.47
5.49
L = 5.01

Politics

Table 2. Estimates of Democracy Indices (Philippines 2013)

E = 4.46

4.29
5.56
3.91
5.00
L = 4.92

Civil Society

4.38

5.02

Core Principle
Indices

Philippine ADI = 4.70

5.17
4.87
3.77
4.99

Subprinciple
Indices

REYES, BERJA, BAQUIRAN


133

Democracy Indices

Equalization (E)

Liberalization (L)

Core Principles

Autonomy
Competition
Pluralization
Solidarity

Subprinciples
4.48
4.30
2.28
4.31
L = 4.39
E = 3.30

E = 5.25

Fields
Economy

6.00
4.68
4.65
5.85
L = 5.34

Politics

Table 3. Estimates of Democracy Indices (Philippines 2012)

E = 5.10

4.84
6.43
4.70
5.50
L = 5.64

Civil Society

4.55

5.12

Core Principle
Indices

Philippine ADI = 4.84

5.11
5.14
3.88
5.22

Subprinciple
Indices

134
PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013

REYES, BERJA, BAQUIRAN

135

Before proceeding any further, it should be noted that the 2013


respondentswhether frequent participants or new bloodgave less
comments than the respondents of previous surveys. Although we have less to
work with this year, we cannot downplay the value of what insights we did
receive from our astute and highly knowledgeable respondents.
Politics

In the field of politics, the mean score in liberalization is higher than that
of the equalization score, which is consistent with the results of previous
survey rounds. The difference in the scores between political liberalization
and equalization from 2011 to 2013 is smaller in 2013 than in previous
survey rounds, however; it was .4 in 2011, .09 in 2012, and .03 in 2013,
suggesting increasing political cynicism, i.e., the existence of legislation
guaranteeing political freedoms are increasingly being perceived as insufficient evidence that political de-monopolization is successfully proceeding in the Philippines. This is borne out by a closer examination of
the qualitative data per subprinciple under the political field. Figure 1
shows that there are few (though distinct) outliers among the respondents
of the 2013 politics survey in the Philippines, suggesting that the opinion
summations made below are fairly valid.
Political Autonomy

Most of the political survey respondents pointed out that violence from
elements of the state still persists, 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 respondents were also generally of the opinion
that citizens generally enjoy basic freedoms such as freedom of assembly;
whether or not the state listens to those who publicly assemble is another
matter. Opposition against the state is seen as generally permissible,
though some of the respondents said that no genuine political opposition
exists; 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, remain in power, and
extend their power by dynastic expansion. Another L-LL respondent
went so far as to state that [in] the Philippines social context, no real
opposition movement is allowed; only farcical opposition that does not
rock the boat, so to speak, is. The latter is an outlying opinion, however.

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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 tobut actually rarelyfunctions well. As one R-RL respondent
noted, transparency has never been a word one associates with government.
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, especially the partylist representatives). Lastly, 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,
[we] have public hearings in [Congress] on issues under [deliberation;
how] well our parliamentarians listen to the public is a different story.

REYES, BERJA, BAQUIRAN

137

Political Solidarity

As regards the indicators in the political solidarity field subprinciple, 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, political participation
by Philippine citizens is fairly commendable), but they all agreed that
generally, citizens have a high degree of trust in the executive (especially
President Noynoy Aquino), Congress, and democracy as an ideal. There
were conflicting accounts on voter turnout by R-RL respondents,
though voter turnout is in truth fairly high in the Philippines. Also
worth highlighting is the low to middling scores of the respondents to the
item corresponding to the affirmative action attributea clear slide
downward in opinion from last year on the matter of the state looking out
for the welfare of the marginalized.
Economy

As in previous ADI surveys, economic liberalization still scored better


than economic equalization in 2013; the far-below-the-median economic
pluralization score continues to bring down the overall economic index.
This continuing condition, which reflects continuing widespread inequality
in the Philippines, thus annuls any overall positive evaluation of the
Philippine economic field. For a graphic representation of how our
respondents rated the items in the economy survey, see figure 2. As in the
political field, there seem to be few consistent outliers among the economic
specialist set, which may, as previously mentioned, be primarily due to the
dominance of R-RL respondents.
Economic Autonomy

The respondents did not reach consensus as regards political influence on


private companies, likewise on how well prohibitions against forced labor
are enforced. On the other hand, 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, they thought that the same
cannot be said of the governments relationship with local elites. One R-RL
respondent noted that the local oligarchy has far more influence than
foreign capital on the Philippine economy.

138

PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Figure 2. Mean Scores in the Economic Field Per Subprinciple

Economic Competition

Among the series of indicators concerning economic competition, overall,


the respondents had varied opinions on how transparent private companies
are. None of them believed that Philippine companies are highly transparent;
disclosure to the Security and Exchange Commission, many of them note,
is selective. They also believe that competition among small and large
companies is generally poor because of unbridled monopolization. On
labor laws, ideological divides become fairly well-drawn. The L-LL
respondents rated labor rights protection from 0-5, with one of them
highlighting contractualization and labor commodification as a statesupported stance. Meanwhile, some of the R-RL respondents (of a libertarian bent) thought that labor laws are overprotected in the Philippines.
Economic Pluralization

Regarding the economic pluralization field subprinciple, most of our


respondents were of the opinion that economic power is largely only in the
hands of a small elite. Save for one respondent, economic, income, and
asset disparity was seen as very high, therefore evaluated negatively, by
the respondents; the lone wolf respondent contended that inequality is a

REYES, BERJA, BAQUIRAN

139

natural thing, thus economic inequality in the Philippines is generally


acceptable. That R-RL respondent also believed that urbanization and
development will eventually reach todays poor provinces/regions). The
others simply relied on current objective reality, which is partly characterized
by, in the words of one L-LL respondent, glaring abject poverty. That
same L-LL respondent was an outlier on the subject of labor market
discrimination; while the others stated that labor market discrimination is
not a very serious problem in the Philippines, this respondent gave a 0 to
the item corresponding to that indicator, noting that labor inequality still
exists despite legislation that aims to combat it, and how, in his opinion,
union activities are discouraged in the Philippine workplace.
Economic Solidarity

As regards the field subprinciple of economic solidarity, 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. There is a middling evaluation of social insurance
programs but they generally think that labor unions are poorly organized.
Consequently, these labor unions have little influence on central government
policies and hardly participate in management processes. The respondents
added that public monitoring of private companies hardly exists. This
is probably contributes to the persistence of poor compliance to labor
protection laws. Lastly, they contended that the general public is not or
largely losing enthusiasm in eliminating economic inequality, at least for
government-led efforts toward that aim. Some of the respondents, however,
think people in NGOs show more enthusiasm as regards this matter than
government and the general public.
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, though, as previously
mentioned, in the current survey, the item scores given were relatively
lower than the scores in previous years. Figure 3 shows that the respondents
generally agreed in their evaluation of the conditions/situations covered by
civil society competition, but were somewhat split on the matters contemplated by the other civil society subprinciples.

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PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Figure 3. Mean Scores in the Civil Society Field Per Subprinciple

Civil Society Autonomy

According to most of the civil society survey respondents, the following


observations applied for indicators in the civil society autonomy field subprinciple: NGOs/Civil Society Organizations are generally free from government interference, but they can be censored by political forces; one R-RL
respondent reminded us that there is a Cybercrime Prevention Act that
might be used to muzzle Internet freedom. 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. All respondents noted that private
companies have a high degree of influence in Philippine society (though
NGOs are relatively free from such influence). Save for two, our civil
society survey respondents share the view that the state fails to meet citizens basic needs (and if at all, largely for political purposes), as shown in
the prevalence of poverty in the country. The two who thought otherwise
cited the states Conditional Cash Transfer program, which, by the time
of our survey, already had some observable positive outcomes. The majority
thought that access to education in the Philippines is limited (though one

REYES, BERJA, BAQUIRAN

141

L-LL and all the R-RL respondents think it is adequate). Lastly, a point
of near-consensussave for two in the L-LL camp our respondents
think that Philippine society is by and large toleranteven respectfulof
people of different backgrounds, affiliations, and beliefs.
Civil Society Competition

Regarding the civil society competition subprinciple, the respondents are


divided on NGO influence and internal democratic processesone of the
R-RL respondents thought that NGOs/CSOs are highly influential in
society, particularly when juxtaposed with the government, and function very
democratically even within networks, while the other R-RL respondent, an
NGO/CSO member himself, noted how personalistic some NGOs have
become, and how embezzlement has happened within big organizations.
Generally, the L-LL respondents gave far less praise to these organizations
in terms of influence and internal democracy, though one of them
defended NGOs as [promoters of] democratic values such as participation
and transparency. Overall, however, all of them believe that NGOs/CSOs
are representative of peoples interests and are by various measures diverse.
Civil Society Pluralization

Moving on to responses related to the civil society pluralization: our


respondents are divided on media fairness, with the majority saying that it
is generally free (three L-LL respondents beg to differ, giving scores of
3 to the item on media freedom). 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),
and a very poor distribution of power throughout the country (though less
so, says one R-RL respondent, in urban areas).
Civil Society Solidarity

As regards civil society solidarity, the 2013 respondents say that affirmative
action programsif they exist at allare largely ineffective in the
Philippines. Save for one R-RL respondent, who gave a rare 10 to the
item about concerned with citizens participation in civil society work, all
of our respondents agree that NGOs/CSOs are numerous but do not
attract a significant number of citizen (non-member) participants. Lastly,

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PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013

our respondents thought that NGOs, overall, have some influence in government policymakinga high amount of influence, as per the R-RL group and
one L-LL respondent; the latter highlighted how the Aquino administration
is working closely with NGOs/CSOs to alleviate poverty.
Summary of Findings and Analysis

The results of 2013 survey, despite the increase in the scores in the
economic field, are consistent with those of the 2011 and 2012 surveys.
The following summation of findings generally still applies:
1) while measureslegal or otherwiseto assure the continuation
of democratization in the political, economic, and civil society fields
exist, the implementation of these measures is poor or negligible;
2) government corruption and other abuses of power are checked
in principle both by governmental and nongovernmental bodies,
but such abuses persist because these monitoring mechanisms
are poorly implemented, especially at the local government level;
3) there is also a dearth of legislation and other means to ensure
transparency and accountability among nongovernmental power
holders; 4) coordination among the means and agents to address
inequality in power and resource distribution in all the aforementioned areas of society is lacking.
[O]ne can validly conclude that there is a lack of significant
united opposition to multi-field monopolization in the country,
even if monopolies are anathema according to the law and popular
belief. The doors to successful sustainable de-monopolization are
openbut the few who struggle to keep them open are barely
able, if at all, to combat those who would rather keep the status
quo. (Reyes, Berja, and Socrates 2012, 163-164)
Indeed, 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. Hardly any of the respondents gave comments along the
lines of this situation has been alleviated or it is much better now. In
fact, many of the two-/three-time respondents gave comments to the effect
of same as last year or not much change from before.
We hardly expected the contrary. Speaking as observers/scholars in
the fields of Philippine politics, economics, and civil society ourselves, we

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143

are well aware that the advances trumpeted by the countrys second
President Aquino in his 2013 SONA obscure certain undeniable facts,
such as the still egregious gap between the very few rich and the immense
poor. We know that elections may have become somewhat more credible
thanks to automation, but, having participated in these elections and having
lived through the campaign season circus, we know that many politicians
were as traditional as they come, e.g., with their volunteers distributing
sample ballots with their names emphasized outside election precincts.
Moreover, as numerous studies/well-informed journalistic accounts have
shown (e.g., Mendoza et al. 2013; Rood 2013), dynasties still rule in the
Philippines even after an election during a reformist administration.
Soft Validation of Results

If outside assessments of Philippine democracy or the substantive constituents


thereof are any indication, the above quoted overall assessment may not
change even if our team had obtained data from more respondents,
forming a set that is more clearly bifurcated along ideological lines (L-LL
and R-RL). Two such assessmentsfrom Freedom House and the
Economist Intelligence Unitare shown in table 4.
The 2013 Freedom House Report described the rule of law in the
Philippines as generally weak. It also noted that the country has a few
dozen leading families [that] continue to hold an outsized share of land,
corporate wealth, and political power; has an inefficient and dirty
judiciary; and the extent of authority afforded to the military therein has
led to arbitrary detention, disappearances, kidnappings, and abuse of
suspects...numerous killings of leftist journalists, labor leaders, and senior
members of legal left-wing political parties(Freedom House 2013).
While Freedom House (2013) noted that in the Philippines, government
censorship is not a major issue as media institutions are allowed cover
controversial topics and criticize the government, 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.
Lastly, 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, Freedom House (2013) also emphasized that trafficking of
women for forced labor remains a major problem in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, in EIUs democracy index, the Philippines was ranked
sixty-nine out of 167 states in 2012. This is the second-highest ranking

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PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013

achieved by the country since the Index was created in 2007. However,
the Philippines remains categorized as a flawed democracy. Countries
within this category have been characterized by low levels of political participation, weak democratic cultures, and significant backsliding in recent years
in some areas such as media freedoms (EIU 2012, 8).
Table 4. Assessments of Philippine Democracy/Freedom, 2011-2013
Index
2011/2012
2012/2013
rating
rating
Freedom House
3.0 Partly
3.0 Partly
Freedom in the
Free
Free
World
(2012)
(2013)
Economist
6.12 Flawed
6.3 Flawed
Intelligence Unit
Democracy
Democracy
Democracy Index
(2011)
(2012)
Sources: EIU (2011, 5), (2012, 5); Freedom House (2012), (2013)

The 2013 Freedom House Report described the rule of law in the
Philippines as generally weak. It also noted that the country has a few
dozen leading families [that] continue to hold an outsized share of land,
corporate wealth, and political power; has an inefficient and dirty
judiciary; and the extent of authority afforded to the military therein has
led to arbitrary detention, disappearances, kidnappings, and abuse of
suspects...numerous killings of leftist journalists, labor leaders, and senior
members of legal left-wing political parties (Freedom House 2013).
While Freedom House (2013) noted that in the Philippines, government
censorship is not a major issue as media institutions are allowed cover
controversial topics and criticize the government, 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.
Lastly, 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, Freedom House (2013) also emphasized that trafficking of
women for forced labor remains a major problem in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, in EIUs democracy index, the Philippines was
ranked sixty-nine out of 167 states in 2012. This is the second-highest

REYES, BERJA, BAQUIRAN

145

ranking achieved by the country since the Index was created in 2007.
However, the Philippines remains categorized as a flawed democracy.
Countries within this category have been characterized by low levels of
political participation, weak democratic cultures, and significant backsliding
in recent years in some areas such as media freedoms (EIU 2012, 8).
According to EIU, the Philippines needs to seriously address its
weak political culture. By political culture, EIU refers to a sufficient
degree of societal consensus and cohesion to underpin a stable, functioning
democracy as well as popular support and perception for democracy over
other possible forms of government, and strength of autonomy between
church and state (EIU 2012, 35-36). The EIU thinks that Philippines
has made no progress over the past five years in addressing this problem.
The country scored 3.13 for political culture in 2012, the same score it
has posted since 2007.
Also worth mentioning here are the results of the 2013 Global
Corruption Barometer (GCB) of Transparency International (TI). The
GCB is based on an international survey of 114,000 respondents spread
across 107 countries. It examines the role of corruption in people's lives,
specifically their experiences with bribery, their personal views on corruption
in their country, and their willingness to act against it (TI 2013, 3). TI
noted that in 2013, the Philippines was one of thirty-four countries whose
citizenry believed that corruption had decreased in their country (TI
2013, 7). 12 percent of the total number of Philippine respondents reported
paying a bribe (TI 2013, 34). The police, public officials/civil servants,
and political parties were identified by the Philippine GCB respondents
as the top three most corrupt institutions in the Philippines (TI 2013, 37).
Meanwhile, 84 percent of the GCB respondents from the Philippines
stated that they would partake in one of five actions against corruption
(TI 2013, 40). These actions include: signing a petition asking the
government to do more to fight corruption, taking part in a peaceful protest
or demonstration against corruption, joining an organization that works to
reduce corruption as an active member, paying more to buy goods from a
company that is clean/corruption-free, spreading the word about the
problem of corruption through social media, and reporting an incident of
corruption (TI 2013, 32).
Moreover, as previously mentioned, the overall Human Development
Index score of the Philippines, .654, is still in the medium range, and is
hardly any differentalthough increasingfrom the overall score of the
Philippines in the preceding five years (UNDP 2013). In the 2013

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PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013

Human Development Index, the Philippines ranked 114 out of 186


countries being monitored (UNDP 2013, 143). Historically, the Philippines
has made very little progress in terms of human development. Beginning
in 1980 when it had an initial index score of 0.561 the Philippines has
only progressed minimally to settle at its current level of 0.654 in 2012
(UNDP 2013, 149). Over the last three decades the Philippines has
increased its score by only 0.093 and remains in the category of Medium
Human Development country. Its subpar performance is further highlighted when compared with similar countries within the same category.
Countries categorized as Medium Human Development have been able
to increase their HDI scores by 52.7 percent while the Philippines
growth rate is only 16.6 percent since 1980.
However, though most observers/scholarsboth those we consulted
for our survey and the external ones detailed abovefind the state of
democratization and related processes under the Noynoy Aquino administration disappointing, the public overall seems to feel that democracy is
working better now than ever before, at least according to one polling
groupseventy-five percent of Filipinos were satisfied with the way
Philippine democracy works, higher than the average in Europe and Latin
America, says one Social Weathers Stations poll conducted just before the
May 2013 elections (SWS 2013a); the survey conducted after the 2013
elections showed that 64 percent were still satisfied with democracy under
Noynoy Aquino, about as many during his mothers midterm (SWS
2013b). Speaking of the recent polls, based on a cursory comparison of
headlines in 2010 and 2013, there are fewer complaints of election-related
fraud in the 2013 elections. Also, the current dispensation is currently
enjoying a reputation for passing landmark lawse.g., the Reproductive
Health Law, the new Sin Tax Law, and the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Lawthat the specialists consulted thus far have
hardly mentioned in their responses. There is a possibility that these may
affect the responses of respondents of future ADI surveys. Then again,
not that long ago, 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, but also to NGO
transparency and accountability. Also, the local mega-transnational
companies are getting bigger and biggerone of them showing much
interest in building an enormous media empire. Lastly, 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.

REYES, BERJA, 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, given the difference in the number of respondents (forty-six
in 2012, 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, among other reasons. In any case, as can
be seen in tables 2 and 3, has been alluded to or directly stated elsewhere
in this paper, the changes in overall mean field subprinciple scores from
2012 to 2013 are minimal.
Conducting a statistical comparison of scores, either from 2011 to 2013
or from 2012 to 2013, is suspended for this year, pending a re-examination
of the value of conducting such tests given the abovementioned variability
in respondent size per year. 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.g., there will be some respondents who participated in all surveys, some
who participated in three surveys, and so on). 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, given how having panelists were not
in the original research design.
Concluding Thoughts

With results like these, it is hard to be optimistic about the state of Philippine
democracy. In fact, 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, even
after a dictatorship was overthrown, the Philippines could still not be
described as a democracy; the political system can best be described as a
non-democratic oligarchy (Miranda et al. 2011, 23). It may be that the
younger President Aquinos 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, leading to its substitution in
government rhetoric by the straight path. However, the specialists
consulted thus far think that Filipinos still have faith in democracy.

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PHILIPPINE COUNTRY REPORT 2013

If only to highlight this faith, and to emphasize that democratization


is a continuous de-monopolization process that requires the participation
of the entire citizenry, the Philippine team is already more than happy to
continue the survey. 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, but also for those in the public who trusts that democracy will
eventually come to the Philippines.
Notes
1.

2.
3.

In a massive protest action for the implementation of a radical land reform program,
over a dozen protestors were killed by government gunfire from anti-riot forces
assembled on Mendiola bridge, a traditional protest site that leads directly to the
presidential palace. Most sources say that the shooting was unprovoked, though
reportedly there were instigators from communist rebels among the ranks of the
protestors. See Maglipon (1987) and Supreme Court (1993).
FRC-HRD (1987) contains a long list of human rights violations committed during
the first year of the Cory Aquino administration.
Calculations are based on figures provided in table 2, Human Development Index
Trends 1980-2012, published in the Human Development Report 2013.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT

COVER PHOTO: Million People March in Luneta against Pork


Barrel, August 26, 2013, taken by Ryomaandres, downloaded from
Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:
Million_People_March_in_Luneta_against_Pork_Barrel_22.JPG).

Notes for Contributors


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