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Vested interests are taking the shine off democracy in Southeast Asia

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Supporters cheer for Duterte during a campaign rally in Manila on May 1.   © Reuters

Once at the forefront of the global democratization movement, Southeast Asia is seeing an erosion in civil rights and rule of law in several supposedly democratic countries.

Even the Philippines, the most mature liberal democracy in the region, is struggling to make the upcoming general elections fair and safe. From Malaysia to Thailand to Cambodia, nations still have a long way to go to achieve the free and fair societies they have lacked for so long.

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