Rule Making and Rule Breaking

Electoral Corruption in East Asia

Authored by: Jamie S. Davidson , Erik Mobrand

Routledge Handbook of Corruption in Asia

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138860162
eBook ISBN: 9781315716732
Adobe ISBN: 9781317507888


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Benjamin Reilly (2006, 2007), based on a comprehensive comparison of electoral regimes in Northeast and Southeast Asia, suggests that a loose but discernible model of Asian democracy has emerged. For Reilly, its prime characteristic has been the movement of parties toward the centre of a political spectrum where consensus or majoritarian forms of electoral democracy prevail. Notably, as the number of parties has declined, party systems have stabilised around a handful of established, sizeable parties that are vaguely programmatic in orientation. Reilly speculates that reasons behind this phenomenon could include: 1) a deep-seated culture of “Asian values” that prioritises consensus; 2) incumbent advantage as political elites “rejig” the electoral process in their favour; and/or 3) efforts to staunch regional or separatist tendencies. In this chapter, we take Reilly’s second hypothesis seriously and deploy it as a launching point for an exploration into the role corruption plays in electoral management in East Asia.

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