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Deakin Speaking

Timor-Leste’s elections strengthen CNRT, Fretilin

With 83 per cent of the votes counted in East Timor’s elections, it appears that five of 21 parties have gained enough votes to be represented in the next parliament, with Fretilin and CNRT strengthening their dominance of the country’s political landscape.  Early indications of the allocation of seats based on the party list vote […]

Timor-Leste consolidates its young democracy

Timor-Leste goes to its fourth parliamentary elections this Saturday, in a process that has so far been colorful and sometimes noisy but unblemished by the violence that marred this country’s first few years of independence. By conventional criteria, Timor-Leste has passed the test of consolidating its young democracy. The number of parties contesting the elections […]

Jokowi’s power play

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo’s decree on Wednesday banning organisations that do not support the state ideology of ‘Pancasila’ (Five Principles) has sparked strong protest from both human rights and Islamist groups in Indonesia and sparked some alarm abroad. It’s the first time such a presidential decree has been issued since Indonesia’s hard-line leader Suharto was […]

A murdered activist’s anniversary marks Cambodia preparation for a showdown

As Cambodia slides further towards absolute authoritarianism, today (Monday) marks the first anniversary of the assassination of Cambodia’s leading pro-democracy activist, Dr Kem Ley. His murder, in broad daylight, appeared to have been intended to silence dissent in a country that had once been hailed as an example of the international community’s ability to bring […]

North Korea steps up missile testing, President Trump steps up ‘diplomacy’ via 140 characters or less

North Korea’s missile test, yesterday, was perfectly timed to help the United States ‘celebrate’ Independence Day. This deeply provocative act has ramped up global concern over how close that country is to developing a nuclear-capable missile. Consensus is developing around the missile fired into the Sea of Japan being a long-range Hwasong 14, a significant […]

In the Middle East it’s business as bloody usual

It would be easy to believe that the Islamic State is all but vanquished but that rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar will lead to World War III. There’s always been a temptation to extrapolate the best or, more commonly, the worst scenarios from given international situations. In these uneasy times, that tendency has […]

Aceh whippings hide deeper problem with Indonesian Islam

Reporting of two gay men being publically whipped in the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh has sparked concerns that Indonesia’s long-vaunted ‘tolerant’ Islam is turning fundamentalist. Islam in Indonesia is in a process of change and a more fundamentalist version of the faith is increasingly prominent. The ‘Aceh whippings’, however, may be misleading. Aceh was […]