South-east Asia's two coups and one-party regimes

The military coup on Feb 1 is not just a setback for democracy in Myanmar; it has tightened the grip of authoritarian rule over mainland South-east Asia. None of the present ruling regimes in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam can be considered genuine democracies.

If authoritarian rule is accompanied by strong economic performance, as in the case of China, people are more likely to tolerate top-down, iron-fisted control. But that is not the case with most of the countries in the Mekong region.

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