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Duterte's Philippines

Duterte fuels authoritarian revival

Filipino president rouses illiberal traditions in Southeast Asia

| Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's rhetoric has emboldened regional autocrats and rekindled undemocratic practices across the region.   © Reuters

Just a few years ago, Southeast Asia seemed to be on an ineluctable path to democratic maturity. The region's nations, large and small, archipelagic and continental, and all with diverse religious and colonial heritages, appeared to be moving toward greater freedom amid robust economic growth.

Today, however, we see a completely different picture. Despair about democracy's future has gone hand in hand with a resurgence of autocratic regimes and a growing popular preference for strongmen.

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