Tim Meisburger

Moon Jae-in 

Korea Election: A Litmus Test of the System

May 17, 2017


On May 9, after more than six months of massive political demonstrations, public turmoil, and an impeachment, Koreans elected Democratic Party candidate Moon Jae-in as their new president. While the snap election was of unusual significance for Koreans for a number of reasons, it also provided a model for other countries on how a political crisis c… Read more


Thai Voters Approve New Constitution: What You Need to Know

August 10, 2016


On August 7, Thais went to the polls to give their verdict on a new constitution drafted by the government installed by a military coup in 2014. Drafters claim that the new constitution will combat corruption, resolve long-standing political turmoil, and provide a roadmap for the return to democratic government. Although turnout was low, over 61 pe… Read more


Democracy, Representation, and Accountability in Timor‐Leste

May 25, 2016

This paper discusses concerns about the overall quality of democracy in Timor-Leste, and suggests they are predominantly linked to perceptions of a lack of representation and accountability inherent in the current system. These concerns are likely to increase if recently proposed legal “reforms” are enacted.


Korean Elections: A Model of Best Practice

April 20, 2016


Last week, South Koreans went to the polls to elect new National Assembly representatives, with results showing that the governing party led by President Park Geun-hye has lost its majority in Parliament. In Korea, Parliamentary elections are seen as a harbinger of what’s to come in the presidential election, so the results are highly anticipated…. Read more


Booth Capture – Observing Municipal Elections in Bangladesh

May 6, 2015


On April 28, Bangladesh held municipal elections for mayors and ward councilors in Dhaka North, Dhaka South, and Chittagong. The city corporation elections, as they are called, were important for many reasons, and as The Asia Foundation’s director for elections, I had come to Chittagong to observe the process. They were the first municipal elections held in Dhaka City since 2002…


Groundbreaking Observer Group Certifies Fiji Elections

April 22, 2015


On April 12, the Multinational Observer Group released its final report on last September’s national elections in Fiji, the first since a military coup there in 2006. Confirming its preliminary findings released shortly after the vote…


The Nation Posts Opinion Piece by Tim Meisburger on Direct Elections in Thailand

October 20, 2014

Media Coverage

The Nation posts an opinion piece by The Asia Foundation’s Regional Director, Elections and Political Processes Tim Meisburger on direct elections in Thailand, supported by poll findings from the Foundation’s national Thai survey. Read more: “Elected governors should be a cornerstone of reform.”


Observing Thailand’s Tense Elections

February 5, 2014


Despite months of protests by anti-government demonstrators, and an election boycott by the main opposition party, the Democrat Party, Thailand held a national election on Sunday. The protesters, known as the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), were demanding that the current government led…


Is Thailand’s Political Turmoil a Sign of Positive Societal Transformation?

July 13, 2011


Thailand’s political landscape throughout much of the 20th century was populated by numerous regional or personality-based parties, and characterized by weak coalition governments. Alliances and coalitions were made and broken easily, as parties sought the best deal for their constituents and members.


Will Automated Elections in the Philippines Increase Public Confidence?

May 5, 2010


In the past, Philippine elections have frequently been marred by allegations of widespread cheating and other electoral malpractice. The most famous (or perhaps infamous) method of cheating is called dagdag/bawas (add-subtract), when votes are subtracted from the opposition candidate and added to a favored candidate, and vice versa. Concerns over e… Read more


The Misunderstood Thai Voter

October 7, 2009


For close to two decades, I have worked in Asia and Africa on programs that support elections and democracy, and nowhere but Thailand have I heard democracy itself disparaged so frequently. It is common in Bangkok to hear prominent academics question whether the average Thai is educated enough for democracy, while pundits in the media portray rural… Read more


Getting Back on Track in Thailand

April 14, 2009


Thailand was once Asia’s rising star, and its 1997 constitution was the standard for democratic development that other Asian nations sought to emulate. However, over the past eight years the country has become increasingly polarized, and its institutions politicized, beginning when Thaksin Shinawatra and his Thai Rak Thai party ran for office in 20… Read more


Whither Democracy in Thailand?

April 8, 2009


RUNGROJ YONGRIT/EPA As red-shirted protesters continue to block access to the Government House, just as their yellow-shirted foes did a few months ago, one wonders where democracy is headed in Thailand. A dozen years ago, Thailand drafted a constitution through a participatory process seen as a model for other emerging democracies. Thailand was a r… Read more


In Thailand: The Complexities of Vote-Buying

December 19, 2007


As Thailand approaches national elections, the government and election commission express increasing concern that the process will be subverted by massive vote-buying. Based on my experience in previous elections, that concern is probably justified. Over the past decades, there have been numerous attempts to combat vote-buying in Thailand, but none… Read more


In Thailand: After the Constitutional Referendum

August 22, 2007


On August 19, eleven months after Thailand’s democratically elected government was overthrown in a military-backed coup d’état, the Thai people went to the polls for the national referendum ostensibly to accept or reject a new constitution drafted by the military’s Council for National Security(CNS). For most people, the details of the draft consti… Read more


Shaping a “New Nepal”

July 11, 2007


The people’s movement that dislodged King Gyanendra and led to the reinstatement of Parliament in April 2006, followed by the signing of a peace agreement between the government and Maoists, dramatically changed Nepal’s political landscape. As part of a fragile peace process in the wake of a protracted and brutal civil war, Nepal is now engaged in… Read more