Do democracy and good governance necessarily go hand-in-hand? In most Southeast Asian countries, a gap exists between the two. How should we understand good governance in an authoritarian context? And what does poor governance mean for the legitimacy of democracy?
Can regionalism help to redress the uneven spread and internal weaknesses of democracy in Southeast Asia? Unforeseen events in the region and positive political entrepreneurship may yet transform ASEAN into a force for democracy.
For this huge, sprawling nation in the throes of an ambiguous transition, 2004 will be a year replete with unprecedented electoral tests. In the end, leadership and results will probably count for more than rules and institutions, however carefully designed.