Democratic Change in Southeast Asia and the Rise of Illiberal Populism

Project Expert

Joshua Kurlantzick
Joshua Kurlantzick

Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia

About the Project

Southeast Asia was once a model of democratic transition. But in recent years the region has regressed away from democracy. The consequences of Southeast Asia’s democratic decline—for growth, security, and social and cultural rights—extend well beyond the region. This project explores the reasons for democratic decline in Southeast Asia, including the rise of illiberal populism, the persistence of military involvement in politics, and the impact of the global democratic decline on Southeast Asia, and assesses what Southeast Asia’s regression suggests about the health of democracy in other regions of the world. The project seeks to generate detailed recommendations that policymakers in Asia and the United States could enact that would rejuvenate democratic governance and address the challenges of the rise of populism in Southeast Asia.