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2018 in review

Elections in Southeast Asia signal uncertain future for democracy

Votes in Malaysia and Cambodia bring starkly different outcomes

Mahathir Mohamad, center, defeated onetime protege Najib Razak in Malaysia's election last year, ending over 60 years of one-party rule (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

TOKYO -- Southeast Asia faces mixed prospects for democracy after two contrasting elections this year -- one in Malaysia that sent a corrupt government packing and another in Cambodia that reinforced control of an authoritarian leader.

The Malaysian election in May stunned the world by bringing back 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister. The odds had been stacked against the opposition. Then-Prime Minister Najib Razak had redrawn the electoral map to his advantage and led a crackdown on "fake news" in an attempt to silence critics.

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