24 April 2018
As of now, Asean is not ready yet to make that hard choice of replacing consensus with majority voting. Former Indonesian foreign minister Nur Hassan Wirajuda and Mr Pham Quang Vinh, Vietnam’s former deputy foreign minister, both shared the concern that majority rule would cause division and discord within Asean. Former Asean secretary-general Ong Keng Yong cautioned that “taking a vote or having a majority will not mean we can get a better outcome”.
With majority voting too radical a change for Asean at this juncture, what institutional tweaks could be attempted?
Dr Wirajuda put his hope in the “Asean minus 1” formula so as to prevent “the tyranny of one” where one member state exercises its veto power to override the agreement of the other nine. Mr Ong supported the application of “Asean minus X” for technical and operational issues, subject to appropriate guidelines to minimise its random invoking or its non-use even when the situation warrants it.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 26/04/2018