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Let us not waste this opportunity for lasting change

Publication Date : 23-05-2014

 

Whatever it is called, yesterday's "power seizure" - as termed by Thai Army commander-in-chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha - was not right under democratic principles. This seizure should not be allowed to continue for too long and power should be returned to the people as soon as possible.

In effect it was a coup d'etat staged by commanders-in-chief of the three Armed Forces and the national police chief under the name of a National Peace and Order Maintaining Council.

What is required is to make this power seizure lead to a sustainable solution for the country, which has been gripped by a political crisis for the past six months. This opportunity should not be allowed to be wasted again. This time, it should lead to real sweeping reform - something agreed upon by the conflicting parties.

Dialogue, the only way

The National Peace and Order Maintaining Council should encourage further dialogue between the conflicting sides. The process of talks has started already, with the help of the military after the imposition of martial law on Tuesday.

However, the military should explain clearly to the public why the talks between the conflicting sides, brokered by the Armed Forces at the Army Club, ended in this power seizure. What was the problem or obstacle that prevented an accord?

A general expectation is for this power seizure to lead to a way out of the dangerous political conflict and also to a general election that is acceptable to all sides.

We have come to this point because our politicians are unable to resolve their conflicts through normal means. And their repeated failure has been used by the military as an excuse to take action, from imposing martial law to eventually staging a coup.

All the different groups involved with the chronic political conflict should also be held responsible for the consequences of their stubbornness. They should sacrifice their personal benefits in the national interest.

 

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