Instead of asking whether regional organisations can promote democracy, a well-established conclusion, this article asks what type of democracy regional organisations can promote. Where their commitments to democracy are weak, regional organisations can promote the transition away from authoritarianism but cannot drive that process to completion with the creation of embedded liberal democracies. Under such circumstances regional organisations serve as regimes of bounded toleration, and can provide regional linkages that sustain defective democracies. Through examining the relationship between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Myanmar, three supporting roles are identified; regional legitimacy, defence from external pressure, and future-oriented accommodation. The presence of these linkages between defective democracies and regional organisations provides a caveat to the positive assessments of regional organisations as socialisers of democracy.
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