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A Coup in Thailand?

30/12/2013

 

A long article but an interesting one. The article in the link below puts a different perspective on today’s political impasse in Thailand.

The numbers protesting look high but the reality may be that they represent groups of rioting protesters and not serious advocates of change. The article suggests otherwise but I am not convinced.

Of the 43 million Thais that have the vote, the majority are neither red nor yellow shirts but form what I have heard referred to by several Thai academics and political theorists as the “silent” Thais. This Thai majority do not like conflict and just want a peaceful existence. Mai Bhen Rai  (it doesn’t matter) pervades throughout Thai life and is just as visible in their attitude to politics and political change as anywhere else in Thai society. They don’t want to get involved. 

As well as mai bhen rai, the concepts of class and  hierarchy weigh heavily in Thai thinking. Thais will follow and obey their social superiors. It is unlikely a group will form which will seek political reform to promote a stronger and less corrupt democracy. The majority is too ‘silent ” for that to occur. The catalyst for change from the present set-up of elected members to appointees may indeed only occur by coup.

Both sides of the political divide know that. Yingluck is playing it cool, nor rising to any bait, and probably working hard behind the scenes to neutralise those networks that want the type of government that Suthep is advocating. Unlike Thaksin, who tried to fight the networks full on, she seems to have adopted, from the beginning of her premiership, a strategy of working with  them. The anti-government side is playing the “fear” card: a great deal of incitement, talking of corruption as if it were purely a Shiniwatra phenomenon, and suggesting ordinary voters are not yet capable of participating in democratic government. 

Is there, therefore, any alternative to a coup? Will the violence and impasse provide an excuse for army involvement? Will the Democrat party accept the results of a February election if that is allowed to take place? Both parties in the past have sought to govern in an almost absolutist way, almost dictatorially. Both have been accused of corruption and ignoring the rule of law. Will there be further attempts after an election to topple an elected government? Or will there be a genuine will to reform the current way governments operate? Many people are talking about what might happen, but they are not “in the know”. Those that are “in the know”: aren’t  talking.

I hope there will be no coup and that the sides can come to a solution. Ideally by significant reforms after a fair election though the ballot box.

The following link is to a very good article.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/387211/people-of-the-year-muan-maha-prachachon-2013-thai-uprising

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  1. A Coup in Thailand? | Matt.Owens.Rees; Thailand Writer

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