Myanmar’s Htin Kyaw has received praise for being the country’s first civilian president in more than half a century. But the media has also labeled him a ‘”proxy” and even “puppet” president because his position was granted through the support of National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Interestingly, it’s not the first time that a head of state in Southeast Asia has been accused of leading by proxy in the past five years. In 2014, Indonesian president Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, was accused of being a proxy for of former president Megawati Soekarnoputri. In 2011, Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was called a “clone” by her own brother, ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
A Month of US Human Rights Concerns in Southeast Asia
The United States’ democracy and human rights concerns have long put Washington at odds with Southeast Asian governments. But during this month or so, these issues have really been in the spotlight in several countries at once.
In Myanmar, nationalist monks staged a protest after the U.S. embassy used the word ‘Rohingya’ in an official statement. In Thailand, some parliament leaders want the U.S. ambassador expelled for expressing concern about the country’s human rights record. And in the Philippines, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte threatened to sever ties with the United States after the U.S. envoy criticized him during the campaign period.
3 Events That Could Heat up Southeast Asia This Summer
Though a series of events are expected to shape Southeast Asia throughout 2016, we are also gearing up for some developments over the next few months that could heat up the regional landscape. In particular, the July 12 ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the South China Sea disputes, the August 7 constitutional referendum in Thailand, and the Panglong Peace Conference in Myanmar in late August are highly anticipated. Here is a closer look at these three events and what they could mean.