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Jakarta Post

Social upheaval looms on ASEAN horizon

  /   Fri, February 27 2009   /  02:29 pm

The global financial crisis is likely to put more pressure on Southeast Asia's shaky social stability in a region with fragile democracies and a history of tumultuous political transitions, say regional experts. Major economies in the robust region have slipped into crisis when hit by export downturns rising jobless numbers. Countries on steadier democratic footing such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand could be among the first to suffer if social upheaval sparks prolonged protests demanding government take swift measures to weather the crisis. Police have warned that protesters might turn violent during rallies over economic hardship. Discontent could aggravate electoral processes and threaten political transitions. Indonesia will hold its parliamentary elections in April and presidential elections in July; Thailand is gearing up for yet another wave of antigovernment...