CALD TIMELINE (1993-2016)
The Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD), the only organization of liberal and democratic political parties in Asia, has the following full members across the region: Democrat Party (Thailand), Democratic Progressive Party (Taiwan), Liberal Party (Philippines), Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, Singapore Democratic Party, Liberal Party (Sri Lanka), Cambodian National Rescue Party, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, Civil Will Green Party (Mongolia) and Nation Awakening Party (Indonesia). It also has observer parties such as the Democratic Party of Japan and National League for Democracy (Myanmar). Hong Kong legislators Martin Lee and Sin Chung-kai are individual members while Myanmar’s Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is an honorary life member.
Between the inauguration of the organization in 1993 and its establishment as a significant force in Asian politics today, CALD has consistently watered the seeds of liberalism and democracy among its member parties by organizing conferences, seminars, workshops, and executive missions across the region and beyond.
Below is a list of the most important events and developments in the history of CALD from 1993 to 2016:
CALD’s inception transpired in Sintra, Portugal when Asian legislators from the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand came up with the idea of having a forum where liberal and democratic ideas in Asia can be discussed. On 10 December 1993, CALD held it’s inaugural General Assembly in Bangkok, Thailand with then Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai and Korean opposition leader Kim Dae Jung gracing the occasion. Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, MP, became the founding chair of CALD.
The first CALD major conference was held in Manila, Philippines in November 1994 with the theme “Liberal Democracy in the Asian Context.” Present during the event were guests of honor Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos and Senate President and Liberal Party of the Philippines President Jovito Salonga.
In 2002, CALD and its activities gained even wider attention when it worked with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) for a workshop on “Political Party Strategies to Combat Corruption” in Bangkok, Thailand on 14-16 January and with the European Liberal Democratic Reform (ELDR) Party on a meeting that focused on the common challenges for liberals and democrats in Asia and Europe held in Seoul, Korea on 30 October to 1 November. It was during the Executive Committee meeting in Seoul when the chairmanship of CALD was handed over to the Democrat Party of Thailand with M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, MP, accepting the leadership as CALD Chair.
The CALD Conference on Wealth Creation and Sustainable Development held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 29-30 May 2003 was CALD’s first activity in South Asia. It was during the Executive Committee Meeting in Colombo when Hon. Martin Lee and Hon. Sin Chung-kai, legislators from the Democratic Party of Hong Kong, joined CALD as individual members.
The Liberal International Asia Conference, a joint project with Liberal International (LI) and the Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan (DPP), was held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on 4-6 March with the theme “Democratic Consolidation and the Role of Political Parties.” During this occasion, the chairmanship of CALD was transferred from the DP Thailand (DP) to DPP Taiwan with Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian serving as the chairman of CALD, the first (and only) time that an incumbent head of government served as CALD Chairperson.
The first biennial meeting between Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and CALD was held in Brussels, Belgium on 12 November which focused on the social, political, and economic challenges of Europe and Asia.
In partnership with DPP Taiwan, the first CALD Observers’ Mission to Taiwan Parliamentary Elections was held on 8-11 December in Kaohsiung, Tainan and Taipei.
The CALD Executive Visit to Taiwan was held on 18-19 March in Taipei and was highlighted by an audience with Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian.
The LI Women’s Conference and CALD General Assembly was held on 12-15 October in Taipei, Taiwan with the theme “Advancing Women in Politics: The Role of Political Parties.” The CALD Handover Ceremonies, hosted by President Chen Shui-bian, was held at the Taipei Guest House transferring the chairmanship of CALD from DPP Taiwan to the Liberal Party of the Philippines.
On 13-16 November, the CALD hosted the senior leaders of the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) of Cambodia including majority its parliamentarians to meet at the CALD Secretariat Office in Manila, Philippines since SRP’s self-imposed exile leader Sam Rainsy was stripped of his parliamentary immunity.
The CALD Official Development Assistance (ODA) Conference was held in Siem Reap, Cambodia on 26-29 April to assess and discuss the best practices and approaches to ODA accountability.
The ALDE-CALD-LI Meeting, a gathering of more than a hundred eminent liberal leaders worldwide, was held in Manila-Cavite-Tagaytay, Philippines on 21-24 June.
Parliamentarians and top party officials from CALD attended the CALD Executive Visit to Jakarta, held on 7-8 February. During the trip, CALD had audiences with the leaders of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) and the Nation Awakening Party (PKB).
The ALDE-CALD Parliamentary Mission, held in Jakarta, Indonesia and Singapore on 10-13 April, was organized to seek stronger cooperation between Asian and European liberals through issue-based discussions and dialogues.
With the theme “Strengthening Networks and Combating Human Trafficking,” the CALD-LI Human Rights Conference was held in Taipei, Taiwan on 7-11 December. This event also marked the first time the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) took over the CALD chairmanship with Dr. Chee Soon Juan, who was barred from leaving his country, accepting the role as CALD Chair.
The 3rd biennial meeting between Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and CALD was held in Brussels, Belgium on 15-17 April with the participation of ALDEPAC, a grouping of liberal and democratic political parties and politicians from the Pacific, Africa and the Caribbean.
The first CALD-Red Liberal de America Latina (RELIAL) Meeting and Liberal Regional Networks Meeting were held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 17 May under the auspices of the 55th Liberal International (LI) Congress.
CALD held its 15th anniversary conference in Bangkok, Thailand on 27-30 March with Thai Prime Minister and Democrat Party (DP) Leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as keynote speaker. The occasion also marked the entry of former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid or “Gus Dur” as CALD’s third individual member.
The 6th biennial CALD Communications Workshop on new technologies shaping political communication and campaign strategies was held in Hong Kong on 2-6 September.
The biennial CALD General Assembly took place in Manila, Philippines on 26-30 November, which also provided an opportunity for the participants to honor three prominent CALD personalities who passed away during the year: Former Philippine President Corazon “Cory” Aquino; Former South Korean President Kim Dae Jung (CALD Founding Member); and Former Indonesian President Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid (CALD Individual Member).
In the Executive Committee meeting held before the assembly, CALD also formally welcomed Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan or PDIP) as its newest member party and Cambodian Member of Parliament Mu Sochua as the new Chair of CALD Women’s Caucus.
Since the assumption of Mu Sochua as Chair, the CALD Women’s Caucus has regularly conducted workshops dealing with women political participation and empowerment.
The position of CALD Chair-Party rotated from Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) to Liberal Party of Sri Lanka (LPSL). LPSL subsequently elected Dr. Rajiva Wijesinha as CALD Chair. This took place on the sidelines of CALD Conference on Education held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 1-3 March.
A conference with the theme “Asian Liberal Parties in Power: Getting There, Remaining There” was held in Manila, Philippines on 27 June-1 July to celebrate the electoral victory and presidential inauguration of Liberal Party of the Philippines’ (LP) presidential candidate, Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
The CALD Youth Caucus Workshop in Kaohsiung and Tainan, Taiwan on 17-21 August resulted in the formation of CALD’s youth arm – the Youth Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats or CALD Youth. Later in the year, on 19-21 November, CALD Youth Chair Selyna Peiris of LPSL attended a General Assembly of the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) in Beirut, Lebanon. Since 2010, CALD Youth regularly conducts 1-2 workshops annually.
Myanmar’s leader of the opposition and democracy icon, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was formally bestowed CALD’s first Honorary Individual Membership on 20 September in Liverpool, U.K.. The plaque was received by Burma Campaign U.K. Coordinator Zoya Phan on the sidelines of U.K. Liberal Annual Conference, where a delegation from CALD was invited to attend.
On 14 November, CALD and ALDE released a joint statement welcoming the release from house arrest of CALD’s Honorary Individual Member, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. CALD and ALDE at that time were in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the 4th biennial CALD-ALDE Meeting.
More than a week after, 22 November, in Manila, Philippines, CALD Secretary General Neric Acosta facilitated a telephone conversation between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, where the former conveyed her sincere gratitude for the Philippines’ steadfast support to the cause of freedom and democracy in Myanmar.
On 31 January, a delegation from CALD became one of the first ones to meet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her lakeside home in Rangoon, Burma. A meeting with senior members of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), also took place.
As a result of these discussions, CALD returned to Burma later in the year, on 15-17 November, to conduct a workshop on women empowerment with members of NLD Women’s Wing as participants.
CALD co-organized LI’s 57th Congress held in Manila, Philippines on 16-20 June – the first one to be held in Asia. As a co-organizer, CALD was also given an opportunity to come up with fringe meetings relevant to theme. Accordingly, CALD spearheaded the organization of events on women, youth and regional democracy/development, which facilitated the collaboration between CALD Women’s Caucus and International Network of Liberal Women (INLW), CALD Youth and IFLRY, and regional networks around the globe.
In an Execom Meeting held on 6 November, on the sidelines of the CALD Conference on Pluralism and Development held in Bali, Indonesia, CALD unanimously accepted as its 10th member the Civil Will Party (now Civil Will Green Party) of Mongolia.
CALD convened in Bangkok, Thailand on 28 November-1 December to launch its multi-year climate change programme through the workshop “Setting CALD’s Climate Change Agenda.”
CALD conducted its follow-up climate change activities on 10-14 February and 23-28 March in the Philippine provinces of Cagayan de Oro/Bukidnon and Palawan respectively. The latter event in Palawan resulted in the adoption of CALD Climate Change Statement.
On 10 March, the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) of Cambodia became the new CALD Chair-Party. SRP President Sam Rainsy was subsequently elected as the new CALD Chair. This took place as the CALD General Assembly convened on 8-11 March in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The CALD Youth General Assembly was also concurrently held.
CALD and ALDE held their 5th biennial joint conference in Brussels, Belgium on 4-8 June with the participation of LI, European Liberal Democratic Reform (ELDR) Party and other liberal groups/foundations in Europe.
On 20 September, the International Parliamentary Committee for Democratic Elections in Cambodia (IPCDEC) was launched in Manila, Philippines. IPCDEC was chaired by Philippine Liberal Senator and former CALD Chair Franklin Drilon, whose personal relations with incumbent CALD Chair Sam Rainsy were instrumental for the creation of the committee.
Later that year, CALD launched the “CALD Party Management Handbook”, which aims to document best practices of CALD member parties on party and campaign administration, as highlighted in previous CALD Party Management Workshops in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011.
In recognition of continuing challenges to fundamental freedoms in Asia, CALD organized the Conference on Challenges to Fundamental Freedoms on 2 March in Singapore. The general objective of the event was to analyze how political, economic and civil rights are at risk in many countries in Asia, and what could be done to address this.
On 10 March, CALD Chair and Leader of the Cambodian Opposition Sam Rainsy met with his Burmese counterpart Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on the sidelines of the first ever national congress of NLD in Yangon, Myanmar.
Fourteen young leaders from eight Asian countries showed their passion for action in Cebu City and Bantayan Island, Philippines for the first CALD Youth climate change workshop. Held on 18-23 April, the activity aimed to empower participants to take action to address the perils of climate change; be familiar with practical, legal, and paralegal strategies on responding to environmental challenges; conceptualize a climate change adaptation project; and expose themselves to solutions for sustainable living.
Between 19 to 23 June, the delegates of CALD Youth and International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) converged in the CALD Youth Festival in Bangkok, Thailand to discuss the best strategies in the promotion and protection of political freedom; stress the importance of international networks in promoting democracy; further strengthen relations between and amongst CALD Youth members and other international youth networks; and uphold CALD Youth’s leading role in forwarding the principles of liberalism and democracy amongst the youth in Asia.
CALD Youth reached a new milestone in its history with the very first turnover of the CALD Youth Chair and CALD Youth Secretary General positions. In elections held last 23 June, the member-parties elected Mr. Nant Thananan (Democrat Party, Thailand) and Ms. Bulgan Bayasgalant (Civil Will Green Party, Mongolia) as new officials of CALD’s youth wing.
In conjunction with the CALD 20th anniversary celebration, CALD and ALDE celebrated its biennial meeting in Manila, Philippines. The event focused on increasing the shift of global power to Asia and how countries in Asia and external actors respond to this development.
CALD concluded the year by celebrating its 20th Anniversary in Manila, Philippines. With the theme: “Towards Party Reform and Renewal: Bringing Political Parties Back to the People,” CALD went back to its inception and discussed how political parties can be reconnected to the general public.
In recognition of the year of climate action, CALD began 2014 with Climate Change Strategic Planning Workshop held on 14-17 March in Malacca, Malaysia. The workshop aimed at coming up with strategies on how to make CALD’s climate change programs more efficient, as well as for these to be able to raise awareness and provide the most recent information on the state of climate change in Asia.
With the theme relating to minorities and indigenous groups, the CALD General Assembly (GA) Conference in Siem Reap, Cambodia last 11-14 April aimed to assist its member-parties and other stakeholders in formulating policy responses to protect and empower women and indigenous peoples in Asia. It paved the way to drafting a resolution clarifying CALD’s stance on the issues confronting marginalized sectors.
As a follow-up to its previous initiatives on climate change, CALD assembled a delegation for an Observation Trip to Typhoon Haiyan-Devastated Areas in Leyte, Philippines on 1-5 May. The trip was organized as a part of the continuing effort to provide assistance to the victims of the super typhoon, and to promote awareness of climate change impacts. The highlight of the trip was when participants had the chance to visit the beneficiaries of the 30 CALD-sponsored transitional shelters.
In early July, CALD sent an Election Observation Mission in Jakarta, Indonesia to witness one of the world’s biggest electoral exercises, and Indonesia’s third presidential elections since the ouster of the dictator Soeharto in 1998. The mission also enabled them to witness first-hand the victory of PDIP’s Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla over Gerindra-led coalition’s Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa.
On 8-11 August, CALD convened in Yangon for the 5th CALD Political Party Management Workshop. The Burmese opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) hosted the event that included some 40 prospective candidates and campaign officials from the party as participants.
A climate change communications seminar and workshop was organized last 19-22 September in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia entitled Youth Climate Change Communications Seminar and Climate Change Workshop. It tackled the use of new media and social media to spread awareness about climate change among the youth.
Some 200 liberals from all over the world convened in Hong Kong on 7-10 November for the CALD-LI-EFN-FNF Conference on Liberalism. Held while the “umbrella movement” was underway, the event provided the participants with an opportunity to interact and show solidarity with Hong Kong’s vibrant democratic forces.
In an Election Observation Mission in Taiwan in 24-27 November, CALD was able to witness the largest ever election in the history of electoral process in Taiwan. The elections were also significant because they mark the beginning of the end of the Koumintang (KMT) government.
2015 As a continuous effort of CALD in integrating climate change advocacy and youth leadership, it organized a summit themed, “Translating Ideas Into Action” in Bataan, Philippines on 4-8 February. The musical festival that accompanied the summit was attended by more than 1000 local youth leaders.
CALD returned to Burma for the Phase II of the 5th Political Party Management Workshop that began in 2014. The 11-13 March event was participated by some 60 NLD party members and campaign officials, as well as by representatives from the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA). A number of the participants in this workshop won in the general elections of 2015.
With a number of CALD member-parties contesting elections in 2015 and 2016, CALD organized its 8th Communication Workshop: Political Communication, Elections, and Governance in Manila, Philippines on 13-16 March. The participants shared their experiences and best practices in political communication and participated in activities aimed at producing viable and effective communication strategies suited to their respective political landscapes.
At a parallel ASEAN event on 24-27 April in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with the theme “Regional Integration in Asia: What Can We Expect from the ASEAN Community,” CALD went through intense discussions and deliberations about the future of ASEAN, the results of which were summarized in a statement on ASEAN Community. The statement was then submitted to the 2015 ASEAN Chair, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, through the host party, the Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (PGRM).
CALD convened its member-parties’ climate experts who, together with a resource person from the International Federation of the Liberal Youth (IFLRY)’s Climate Change Programme, participated in a summit in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. This event also launched the CALD Climate Change Educational Video that is now available on YouTube.
On 6-10 November in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a conference on UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focused on how these specific targets can be achieved by 2030. A CALD Women’s Caucus Seminar, a CALD Executive Committee Meeting, and special sessions on women and religion, death penalty, and elections in Asia took place as well.
CALD, together with IFLRY and LI, organized a side-event during the historic COP 21 summit in Paris, France.
2016 CALD participated in an election observation mission which saw the historic victory of the DPP in both presidential and parliamentary elections. DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen became the first woman to be elected to the presidency.
As the sixth installment in the Political Party Management series, CALD organized a workshop in Singapore on 11-14 March that aimed to strengthen the competencies of CALD member-parties (and CALD as a network of political parties) in strategic planning by familiarizing themselves with its process and relevant best practices.
CALD organized an election observation mission in the Philippines for its highly contested presidential elections. One of the highlights of the event was the Liberal Party (LP) gathering with speeches of then Philippine President Noynoy Aquino and LP presidential and vice-presidential candidates, Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo, respectively.
In May, a delegation from CALD and LI witnessed the historic presidential inauguration of Tsai Ing-wen as the first female President of Taiwan.
During the 7th CALD-ALDE Summit in Brussels, Belgium on 30 May to 03 June, CALD was able to tackle the theme “Bailout, Refugee Crisis and Terrorism: Implication for Regional Integration,” focusing in particular on the lessons from the European responses to the economic crisis, migration, and terrorism, and how they impact on regional integration.
As a part of CALD’s effort in strengthening its climate change advocacy, it gathered youth participants from CALD Youth and IFLRY in Bali, Indonesia on 19-22 August for a workshop discussing the use of various social media platforms in advancing climate change advocacy.
On 9-12 September, CALD held an Executive Mission to Taipei, Taiwan. The mission revolved around CALD’s participation in the first Asia Democracy Forum organized by the DPP Democracy Institution.
With the theme “Liberalism vs. Illiberalism: Which Side Does Asia Belong?,” CALD organized its 11th General Assembly in Bangkok, Thailand on 3-7 November. The event served as a forum where the most pertinent issues and problems about the future of liberalism in the 21st century. Apart from the interesting discussions on the rise of populism and illiberalism, this event highlighted solidarity of CALD members to the Thai people during the visit to the remains of the late Thai King, and the transition of CALD chairmanship from the Civil Will-Green Party of Mongolia to the Democrat Party of Thailand.