Tuesday, February 16, 2010

All in the Family

Are political dynasties good or bad?

Election time in the Philippines is a regular reminder of the roles that feudal instincts and the family name play in that nation’s politics. Benigno Aquino, son of the late President Corazon Aquino, is the front runner to succeed President Gloria Arroyo, daughter of Diosdado Macapagal, a president in the 1960s.

Senate and Congressional contests will see family names of other former presidents and those long prominent in provincial politics and land-owning.

But the Philippines is not unique. Dynastic politics thrives across Asia to an extent found in no other region apart from the Arabian peninsula monarchies.

The list of Asian countries with governments headed by the offspring or spouses of former leaders is striking: Pakistan has Prime Minister Asif Ali Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto, herself the daughter of the executed former leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Bangladesh has Sheikh Hasina, daughter of the murdered first prime minister, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman . In Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak is the son of the second prime minister, Abdul Razak. Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong is Lee Kuan Yew’s son. In North Korea, Kim Il-sung’s son Kim Jong-il commands party, army and country and waiting in the wings is his son Kim Jong-un.

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/16/opinion/16iht-edbowring.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a26

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