In the spate of little more than a year, between August 2007 and September 2008, three countries with predominantly Buddhist populations enacted new constitutions. In the case of Thailand, this was just the last iteration of a turbulent constitutional history that goes back to 1932, when the absolute monarchy was overthrown. Yet it constituted a first step toward a return of some semblance of democratic processes, which had been put on hold after the army’s ‘royalist’ coup d’état against the Thaksin Shinawatra government in September 2006.l In the case of Burma/Myanmar, the promulgation of a new constitution marked an even more significant step in the country’s transition from outright military rule toward a more democratic political system.2 For Bhutan, the new constitution was the first of its kind, marking the end to an era of quasi-absolute monarchical rule in the Himalayan state.3 In all three states, then, the enactment of new constitutions was part and parcel of a process of reform intended to make their political systems appear more democratic.
- Political Participation
- Religious Order
- Electoral Politics
- Guardian State
- Representative Institution
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see Sreang, H. (2008), ‘The Scope and Limitations of Political Participation by Buddhist Monks,’ in A. Kent and D. Chandler (eds.) People of Virtue: Reconfiguring Religion, Power and Morality in Cambodia Today (Copenhagen: NIAS).
See Lynch, D. C. (2004) ‘International “Decentering” and Democratization,’ International Studies Quarterly 48, 339–62;
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and Satha-anand, S. (2003) ‘Buddhist Pluralism and Religious Tolerance in Democratizing Thailand,’ in P. Cam (ed.) Philosophy, Democracy and Education (Seoul: Korean National Commission for UNESCO).
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© 2016 Tomas Larsson
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Larsson, T. (2016). Buddha or the Ballot: The Buddhist Exception to Universal Suffrage in Contemporary Asia. In: Kawanami, H. (eds) Buddhism and the Political Process. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-137-57400-8_5
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