Asian Dynasties


The Philippine Daily Inquirer ran a powerful op-ed today on the dangers posed by dynastic politics. It argues:

A political dynasty requires no membership initiation, no formation programmes; membership is, quite literally, a matter of DNA.

‘In a political domain with a tradition of centralised authority, a dynasty in power enjoys an incomparable advantage: the equity of the incumbent. As any politician knows, power begets power; centralised power, as in the case of an underdeveloped province like Maguindanao, is the gift that keeps on giving.’

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And although the warning was prompted by the apparently politically-motivated massacre this week of dozens of civilians in the country, it should be heeded by all governments in the region.

India has increasingly come under the microscope for its dynastic politics (an issue our Indian correspondent will be taking a closer look at next month), while Japan has just held an election where name recognition came up trumps for numerous second or more generation lawmakers (including retiring former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s son, who succeeded to his father’s lower house seat). And of course there’s Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka…

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