Changing forms of democracy in Asia? Some observations on the Thai and Philippine constitutions

Maisrikrod, Surin (1999) Changing forms of democracy in Asia? Some observations on the Thai and Philippine constitutions. Asian Studies Review, 23 (3). pp. 355-373.

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This article makes some broad observations on the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines and the 1997 Constitution of Thailand, in relation to the emergence of participatory democracy in the two countries.2 Both Constitutions represent a major shift in terms of democratic development. The presence of participatory elements in the Philippines and Thailand—which may indicate a new trend in Asia or elsewhere in the developing world—could thus be seen as a qualitative breakthrough in democratic development. Article 2, Section 1 (Declaration of Principles and State Policies) of the Philippine Constitution signals the ideal of promoting direct democracy by asserting that "[t]he Philippines is a democratic and republican state". In Thailand, too, the new Constitution's preamble declares among its aims the promotion of the "rights and freedom of the people, to enhance the power of the people to participate in government and in providing checks and balances against the state's use of powers". Largely, the emergence of participatory democracy not to replace but to strengthen representative democracy was a result of the efforts of civil societies in both countries to establish a more effective means of checking politicians' abuses of power and making their political systems more responsive to the differing needs and demands of the people. More importantly, the formal enunciation of participatory democracy in both countries has been made possible by the strengthening of civil society following years of struggle against dictatorial regimes: against the military in Thailand, and against the regime of Ferdinand E. Marcos in the Philippines.

Item ID: 76049
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1467-8403
Copyright Information: © Asian Studies Association of Australia 1999.
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2022 01:35
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4408 Political science > 440803 Comparative government and politics @ 50%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4408 Political science > 440807 Government and politics of Asia and the Pacific @ 50%
SEO Codes: 23 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 2302 Government and politics > 230203 Political systems @ 100%
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