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Democracy in Asia lately has proved to be hardier than many might have expected, with free and fair elections enabling the large and divided societies of India and Indonesia to manage important political transitions. But some Asian democracies – notably, Thailand and Pakistan – seem to be losing their way.In the country's third presidential election, voters – familiar with strong-arm military rule and weak-willed civilian governance – chose a populist mayor, Joko Widodo, over the former general, Prabowo Subianto.In fact, there is a fundamental difference between the military's current relationship with democracy in the two countries – one that bodes well for Pakistan.After several unsuccessful attempts to engineer different political outcomes by manipulating the democratic process, these powerful groups decided that it would be easier to eliminate the pretense of democratic elections altogether.In order to preserve and strengthen it, all of Pakistan's political parties must learn to conduct free, fair, rules-based elections – and abide by their outcome.
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