4 Answers

  1. It is strange that no one has written this yet, but if we approach it formally, then such a country can be called Japan, where in 1889 a fairly democratic constitution was adopted, with a parliament elected by the people and other rights and obligations of citizens taken from European constitutions. Although it was more of a declaration than a working document, it is safe to say that the Meiji Revolution laid the foundations of modern Japanese democracy. And this is not counting the Ottoman Empire, where the first constitution was adopted even earlier, but there it could not survive, like the Ottoman Empire itself a little later.

  2. Three candidates come to mind.

    1) Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932. The Head of State is the Prime Minister. The country, by the way, has never been anyone's colony, which Thais are terribly proud of.

    2) Turkey: a republic since 1923.�

    3) Lebanon: a republic since 1943.

    The first two countries formally passed to a democratic form of government earlier, but the constant military coups (in Thailand, the military has essentially been in power for almost 4 years) and other anti-democratic excesses (I think everyone knows about Erdogan, who has essentially turned into a local Putin) allow us to call these countries only partially democratic.

    But Lebanon, despite its peculiar form of government, when the highest positions are occupied by representatives of different religious groups (the president is a Christian, the prime minister is a Sunni, etc.), the civil war and military intervention of 1975-1991 and the war with Israel in 2006, can generally be called a democratic country in spirit.�

    But even there, everything is very difficult. There is Hezbollah, which is an extremely destructive force, provoking for example the same Israel (and supported by Iran, and previously the Assad regime). There are Palestinian refugee camps (in fact, because of them, the civil war began), and now there are still a lot of refugees from Syria. In addition, there is also the problem of elections (I don't remember exactly, but it seems that the last full-fledged parliamentary elections were held in 2009). A defective parliament cannot elect a president for several years, etc.

    But, despite all this, Lebanon is the most Western country in the region culturally. As far as I remember, the Lebanese media is one of the most qualified in the Arab world, even al-Jazeera and al-Aribiyya TV presenters often take Lebanese/Lebanese women as the most advanced and adequate.

  3. If we approach the question formally, we get two dimensions in which we evaluate: how democratic it is and how long ago.

    Well, being democratic is not as simple as the answers above are trying to show here. Democracy is just about a developed institution of elections, change of power, separation of powers and developed local self-government. At the same time, the institution of elections and turnover are a kind of core of democracy. And when they say that in general there is something incomprehensible about the elections, but they have Western thinking and they are advanced-this is not about democracy. As well as written legal acts. We also have a lot of regulations and a wonderful constitution that is not being implemented.�

    At this stage, not so many countries can boast of competitive and free elections and turnover in Asia – South Korea (here 1 term is the maximum for the president), Mongolia (in 2017 there was even a tense second round of presidential elections and the results in it were 55/44), Japan (first place in Asia in terms of press freedom), Israel, relatively free and competitive elections take place in Armenia, Georgia, and from time to time in Nepal.

    Since Mongolia, Armenia,and Georgia took the democratic path only in the early 90's, South Korea and Israel, respectively, may be the contenders for being called the oldest democracy. The oldest, of course, formally-as the oldest, and not as countries whose democratic traditions go back centuries. But in 100-200 years, if nothing changes, this term will be quite applicable). Japan could have added to this list if not for the current policy of deliberation.

  4. Hmm, I'm afraid not. Because Asian countries were mostly colonies until the end of World War II (Vietnam-French, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh-British, Indonesia-Dutch) or semi-colonies (like China, occupied by Japan, Egypt and Palestine under the protectorate of Britain, �half-British Iran). Therefore, Asian democracies are either young post-war ones (India, Pakistan, Israel), or not democracies at all, but monarchies (Arab countries, the Kingdom of Thailand, Bhutan).

    Something like this.

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