Asia Minute: Politics and Power in the Indo Asia Pacific

Jan 20, 2021

The "peaceful transfer of power" is an expression we've heard a lot leading up to today's inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States. As President Biden begins his term, what does the state of political leadership look like around the Indo Asia Pacific?

As the United States gains a new president, the status of political power looks very different in several capitals around the Indo Asia Pacific.

Xi Jinping has been president of China since 2013. He’s 67 and doesn’t look to be going anywhere anytime soon. Nearly three years ago, the National People’s Congress removed a two-term limit on the presidency that had been adopted in the 1990’s — clearing the way for an open-ended Xi administration.

Narendra Modi has been Prime Minister of India since 2014. Now 70, Modi won a second five-year term by a wide margin in 2019.

That was the year Joko Widodo won re-election as president of Indonesia. And Scott Morrison won a surprise re-election as Prime Minister of Australia.

In Japan, Yoshihide Suga has only been Prime Minister since September after Shinzo Abe stepped down with health issues following eight years in office — the longest term of any Japanese Prime Minister.

Judging by recent approval ratings, the 72-year old Suga’s hold on political power seems much less secure — even within his own political party.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong began his fifth consecutive term this past July — extending his time at the top of the government that began in 2004.