According to Countryaah, the current population of Asia is 4.463 billion.
In Japan, the Conservative Liberal Democrats (LDP) have held on to power ever since the 1950s, except for a brief interlude from the 1993-1996 opposition. Japan has post-war pacifist restrictions on its own defense force, but in turn has a defense alliance with the United States; last renewed in 1996. The same year Japan was elected as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. In 2004, for the first time since 1945, Japanese troops entered a military fighting zone, more specifically in Iraq.
India, in all its complexity, has been considered the largest democratic country in Asia. However, Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi (1984) and Rajiv Gandhi (1991) both fell for killer hand. In 1998, India got a government led by the Hindu nationalist BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), and detonated its first nuclear bomb that year, which was immediately answered with Pakistan’s first explosion. The battle over Kashmir led the recent nuclear powers to the brink of war in 2002. In the years following (2004), peace negotiations progressed between neighboring states. After the 2004 elections, there was a change of government in India. The Congress Party formed a coalition government. The party got a lot of support when Sonia Gandhi, the widow of Rajiv Gandhi, led the party’s election campaign.
In recent years, a number of countries have approached Western democratic ideals; primarily South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia. The military has held a dominant position in Indonesian politics and social life, and has hit hard on the country’s many separatist movements. East Timor was declared an independent state in 1975, but soon after invaded Indonesia. The occupation lasted until 1999, when East Timor was internationally recognized as an independent state.
North Korea and Myanmar still stand as examples of pure dictatorships; the former also nuclear-armed, according to his own statement. The relationship between North and South Korea has been periodically very tense, and North Korea’s nuclear program has sparked strong protests from South Korea and from international teams. Myanmar, with its authoritarian military dictatorship and gross human rights violations, is a diplomatic problem for ASEAN countries, which through their cooperation seek to counterbalance an overly dominant China. For what is ASEAN, see Abbreviationfinder.
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China was characterized by fierce political campaigns and upheavals culminating with the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). After Mao Zedong ‘s death in 1976, Deng Xiaoping was the dominant leadership figure until health failed in the 1990s. The Deng line, with increasingly far-reaching economic liberalization, continued under Deng’s hand-picked successors: Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. In 2002–2003, the latter took over the government by the state and the party at the head of the “fourth generation of leaders”.
Neighboring China and Taiwan have long had a tense relationship. Taiwan has on several occasions expressed a desire to free itself entirely from China, something China has threatened to use force to avert. In 1997, China regained full sovereignty over the territory of Hong Kong, one of the world’s largest trading centers. Hong Kong had been leased to the United Kingdom since 1898 and, according to the agreement, would be returned to China in 1997.
The Chinese people groups outside China have all secured leading economic positions in their new homelands, but are also viewed with varying degrees of suspicion by the majority of the people. Abuses against ethnic Chinese during the 1998 power shift in Indonesia aroused memories of the mass murders of Chinese following the 1965 military coup.
|Country||Main parties with mandate in recent elections||Main parties with seats in the penultimate election|
|Afghanistan||Political parties are of little importance and may not run in elections||Political parties are of little importance and may not run in elections|
|Bahrain||independence 17, unclear political affiliation 11, al-Mithaq 6, al-Asala 3, al-Taqaddum 2, Tajammu` 1 (2018)||independent candidates 37, al-Asala 2, al-Minbar 1 (2014)|
|Bangladesh||Awami Association 257, parties allied with Awami Association 31, GDP 6, parties allied with GDP 2, independent 3, vacant 1 (2018)||Awami Association 235, Jatiya Party 36, Independent 15, Others 14 (2014) 19|
|Bhutan||Solidarity, Justice, Freedom (DNT) 30, Bhutan’s Peace and Prosperity Party (DPT) 17 (2018)||People’s Democratic Party (PDP) 32, Bhutan’s Peace and Prosperity Party (DPT) 15 (2013)|
|Brunei||no elections have been held since 1962||–|
|Burma||National League for Democracy (NLD) 258/138, Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) 26/7, Shan Nationality League for Democracy (SNLD) 13/2, Arakan National Party (ANP) 4/4, other parties 14 / 10 (2020)||National Alliance for Democracy (NLD) 255/135, Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) 30/12, Arakan National Party (ANP) 12/10, Shan Nationalities Alliance for Democracy (SNLD) 12/3 and others (2015) 20|
|Philippines||PDP-Laban 82, Nationalist Party (NP) 42, Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) 36, National Unity Party (NUP) 25, Liberal Party 18,, United National Alliance (UNA) 11, Lakas-CMD 11, and more (2019)||Liberal Party 115/6, Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) 42/3, National Unity Party (NUP) 23/0, Nationalist Party (NP) 24/3, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) 11/4, Lakas Kampi CMD 4, PDP-Laban 3 , and more (2016) 21|
|United Arab Emirates||there are no political parties||there are no political parties|
|India||Indian People’s Party (BJP) 303, Indian Congress Party 52, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 23, All India Trinamool Congress 22, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party 22, Shiv Sena 18, Janata Dal (United) 16, others 87 (2019)||Indian People’s Party (BJP) 282 + its allies in NDA 55, Congress Party 44 + its coalition parties in UPA 15, Ordinary People’s Party (AAP) 4, other parties 143 (2014)|
|Indonesia||Democratic Party-Fight (PDI-P) 128, Golkar 85, Gerindra 78, Nasdem Party 59, National Revival Party (PKB) 58, Democratic Party (PD) 54, Welfare and Justice Party (PKS) 50, National Mandate Party (PAN) 44, United Development Party (PPP) 19 (2019)||Democratic Party-Fight (PDI-P) 109, Golkar 91, Gerindra 73, Democratic Party (DP) 61, National Revival Party (PKB) 47, National Mandate Party 49, Welfare and Justice Party (PKS) 40, Nasdem Party 35, United Development Party (PPP) 39, Hanura 16 (2014)|
|Iraq||On March for Reform / Sadr 54, Conquest / ISCI 48, Victory Alliance / Abadi 42, Rule of Law / Maliki 26 (2018)||Rule of Law 92, Free Bloc / Sadr 34, Citizens’ List / ISCI 31, Muttahidun 28, KDP 25, al-Wataniyya List 21, PUK 21 (2014)|
|Iran||conservatives 221, reformists 20, independents and religious minorities 38, obscure 11 (2020)||reformists 133, conservative groups 125, independent and religious minorities 32 (2016)|
|Israel||Likud 36, Blue and White 33, United List 15, Shas 9, United Torah Party 7, Labor-Gesher-Meretz 7, Yisrael Beiteinu 7, Yamina 6 (2020) 10||Blue and white 33, Likud 32, United List 13, Shas 9, Yisrael Beiteinu 8, United Torah Party 7, Yamina 7, Labor Party-Gesher 6, Democracy Camp 5 (2019) 22|
|Japan||Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 284, Constitutional Democratic Party 55, Hope Party 50, Komeito 29, Japan Communist Party 12, Nippon Ishin no Kai 11 (2017) 11||Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 291, Democratic Party (DPJ) 73, Japan Reconstruction Party 41, New Komeito 35, Japan Communist Party 21 23|
|Yemen||People’s General Congress (GPC) 238, Yemeni Reform Group (Islah) 46, Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) 8 (2003)||People’s General Congress (GPC) 187, Yemeni Reform Group (Islah) 53|
|Jordan||the majority of the seats went to independent royal candidates, the Islamic Action Front received 8 seats (2020)||the majority of the seats went to independent royal candidates, the Islamic Action Front received 16 seats (2016)|
|Cambodia||Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) 125 (2018) 12||Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) 68, Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) 55 (2013)|
|Kazakhstan||The Light of the Fatherland 76, The Light Road 12, The Communist Party 10 (2021)||The Light of the Fatherland 84, The Light Road 7, The Communist Party 7 (2016)|
|China||no major parties exist except the Chinese Communist Party||no major parties exist except the Chinese Communist Party|
|Kyrgyzstan||The result of the parliamentary elections on 4 October 2020 is annulled by the electoral authority||Social Democrats 38, Republican-Fatherland 28, Kyrgyzstan 18, Onuguru-Progress 13, Unity (Bir Bol) 12, Fatherland 11 (2015)|
|Kuwait||24 members are considered opposition, among them the Islamic Constitution Movement with 3 seats and Shia Islamists with 6 seats (2020) 13||At least 16 members are described as opposition, among them Shia Islamists, Sunni Islamists and Salafists (2016)|
|Laos||The revolutionary party of the Laotian people is the only party allowed||The revolutionary party of the Laotian people is the only party allowed|
|Lebanon||Free Patriotic Movement (Aoun Alliance) 25, Future Movement (Saad al-Hariri) 19, Amal 17, Hezbollah 14, Lebanese Forces 16 (2018)||March 14 Alliance 71 Including Future Movement 32, March 8 Movement 57 Including Amal 13, Hezbollah 13 (2009)|
|Malaysia||The Alliance of Hope 113, National Front 79, Malaysia’s Islamic Party (PAS) 18, Sabah’s Legacy Party 8, Independence and the other 4 (2018)||National Front 133, People’s Front 89 (2013)|
|Maldives||Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) 65, Maldives Progressive Party (PPM) 8, Republican Party (RP) 5, Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) 2, Independent Candidates 7 (2019)||Maldives Progressive Party (PPM) 33, Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) 26, Republican Party (RP) 15, Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) 5, Justice Party (JP) 1, Independent Candidates 5 (2014)|
|Mongolia||Mongolian People’s Party 62, Democratic Party 11 (2020)||Mongolian People’s Party 65, Democratic Party 9, Other 2 (2016)|
|Nepal||Nepal Communist Party-Marxist-Leninists / UML (121), Nepalese Congress / NC (63), Nepal Communist Party-Maoist Center / CPN-MC (53), Rastriya Janata Party (17), Federal Socialist Forum (16), others (5) (2017) 14||Nepalese Congress / NC (196), Nepal’s Communist Party-Marxist-Leninists / UML (175), Nepal’s United Communist Party-Maoist / UCPN-M (80), National Democratic Party-Nepal / RPP-Nepal (24), Madhesifolkets Rättsforum / MJF (14) , small parties and independent candidates (86) (2013) 24|
|North Korea||Democratic Front for Fatherland Reunification 687||Democratic Front for Fatherland Reunification 687|
|Oman||no political parties allowed||no political parties allowed|
|Pakistan||Pakistan’s Justice Movement (PTI) 116, Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) 64, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) 43, smaller parties and independence 47, undistributed mandate 2 (2018) 15||Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) 129, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) 37, Pakistan Justice Movement (PTI) 27, MQM 19, Small Parties 32, Independent 26, Unallocated Mandate 2 (2013)|
|Qatar||no political parties are allowed||no political parties are allowed|
|Saudi Arabia||no political parties are allowed||no political parties are allowed|
|Singapore||People’s Action Party (PAP) 83, Labor Party (WP) 10 (2020) 16||People’s Action Party (PAP) 83, Labor Party (WP) 6 (2015)|
|Sri Lanka||Sri Lankan People’s Front (SLPP) 145, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) 54, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) 10, Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JBB; Alliance led by People’s Liberation Front JVP) 3, Tamil EPDP 2, Tamil TNPF 2, United National Party (UNP) 1, other 8 (2020)||United National Party (UNP) 106, United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA; includes SLFP) 95, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) 16, People’s Liberation Front (JVP) 6, Muslim SLMC 1, Tamil EPDP 1 (2015)|
|South Korea||Democratic Party (Minjupartiet, formerly DUP) 163, United Future Party (formerly Saenuri) 103, Korean Future Party 19, Together Citizens 17, Justice Party 6 (2020) 17||Democratic Party (Minjupartiet, formerly DUP) 123, Saenuri Party (NFP; formerly GNP) 122, People’s Party (PP) 38, Justice Party 6 (2016)|
|Syria||Ba’ath party with support parties 177, others 73 (2020) 18||Ba’ath party with support parties 200, other parties and independent candidates 50 (2016) 25|
|Tajikistan||People’s Democratic Party 47, Agrarian Party 7, Economic Reform Party 5, Communist Party 2, Socialist Party 1, Democratic Party 1 (2020)||People’s Democratic Party 51, Agrarian Party 5, Economic Reform Party 3, Communist Party 2, Socialist Party 1, Democratic Party 1 (2015)|
|Taiwan||Democratic Progress Party (DPP) 61, Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, KMT) 38, Taiwanese People’s Party (TPP) 5, New Power Party (NPP) 3, others 10 (2020)||Democratic Progress Party, (DPP) 68, Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, KMT) 35, New Power Party (NPP) 5, others 4 (2016)|
|Thailand||For Thailand 136, People’s State Party 115, New Future 80, Democratic Party 52, Thai Pride 50, other parties 65, not distributed 2 (2019)||For Thailand 265, Democratic Party 159, Thai Pride 34, Thai National Development 19, Chon Buris Power 7, National Development Party 7, Five Small Parties 9 (2011)|
|Turkmenistan||Turkmenistan Democratic Party (TDP) 55, Regime-loyal groups 48, Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Party (TSTP) 11, Turkmenistan Farmers’ Party (TAP) 11 (2018)||Turkmenistan Democratic Party (TDP) 47, Faithful Regimes 64, Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (TSTP) 14 (2013)|
|Uzbekistan||Liberal Democratic Party 53, Uzbekistan’s Democratic Party for National Renewal 36, Social Democratic Justice Party 24, People’s Democratic Party 22, Uzbekistan’s Ecological Party 15 (2019-2020)||Liberal Democratic Party 52, Uzbekistan’s Democratic Party for National Renewal 36, People’s Democratic Party 27, Social Democratic Justice Party 20 (2014-2015)|
|Vietnam||members of the Communist Party 475, independent 21 (2016)||members of the Communist Party 458, independent 42 (2011)|
|East Timor||Alliance for Change and Development (AMP) 34, Fretilin 23, Democratic Party (PD) 5, Forum for Democratic Development (FDD) 3 (2018)||Fretilin 23, CNRT 22, People’s Liberation Party (PLP) 8, Democratic Party (PD) 7, Khunto 5 (2017)|
Asia is a security policy a complex region. Several potential intergovernmental conflicts, such as the Korea Peninsula, Kashmir between India and Pakistan, the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, threaten regional and global stability. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is only the seed of a regional security mechanism. Internal state conflicts have been the cause of serious human rights violations and huge refugee flows, for example in Afghanistan, Indonesia and Myanmar.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to the establishment of a number of new states in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Many of the new republics maintained strong ties to Moscow, but also formed new relations and alliances, including the Commonwealth of Independent States (USSR). Both Turkey and Iran are active players in the area. After September 11, 2001, the new Central Asian states came seriously into major political focus. With permanent military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, the United States has secured bridgeheads in what was previously Soviet territory and since Russia’s area of interest. In 2003, Russia opened new bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
In 2004, Afghanistan was still in a state of war after the ongoing war since a communist coup in 1978 (see Afghanistan War). Following the Soviet Union’s retreat in 1989 and the fall of the communist Najibullah regime in 1992, opposition factions within the resistance movement mujahedin led the fundamentalist Taliban movement to power in 1996. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Taliban refused to extradite the wanted Osama bin Laden. US-led coalition forces crushed the Taliban militia, but occasional resistance has continued.
After September 11, the United States renewed interest in Iraq’s alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Without a UN mandate, but backed by an international coalition of the United Kingdom, Australia and a few other countries, the United States embarked on a military attack on Iraq on March 20, 2003, to disarm the country and remove Saddam Hussein from power (see Iraq War).
In the 1990s, Asia took Europe’s place as the United States’ foremost foreign policy area of interest, but since the turn of the millennium, US dominance has been challenged by China. More or less openly, Asian governments have appreciated the stabilizing effect of US military presence in the region; a balance of power neither China seems interested in bringing out of the making.