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Thailand in crisis, again

Publication Date : 09-05-2014


Thailand will be virtually absent from the Asean Summit in Myanmar this weekend following a ruling by its Constitutional Court on Wednesday, forcing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down as she was found guilty of abuse of power for the interests of her Pheu Thai Party and family.

It is saddening because the constitutional ousting of the sister of ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra will only deepen the country’s political turmoil. Many TV viewers worldwide may think of soap operas when watching all the pro- and anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok. The behavior of street protesters often reached unbelievable levels, such as blocking fellow citizens from voting in February.

The verdict of the Constitutional Court is a victory for Thaksin’s political enemies, who nevertheless hesitate to agree on holding elections in the near future, given their doubts over their ability to convince voters that enough is enough for Thaksin and his family.

The whole nation will no doubt pay dearly, again, for the inability of the political elites to resolve their conflicts. Bangkok’s elites disliked Thaksin, but they were never able to defeat the populist leader in general elections. They described the business tycoon as a politician who abused democracy to accumulate wealth and power for himself and his family. But are Thaksin’s enemies much cleaner and better able to rule Thailand?

Hosting the summit is the highest reward from the 10-member regional grouping to Myanmarese President Thein Sein for his bold political and economic reforms in the country, which had been isolated for more than five decades. Myanmar deserves the honor despite still being in the preliminary stages of democratisation.

The Naypyitaw meeting itself will be humiliating for Thailand, a founding member of Asean, because the nation was once a model of development and democracy for the region, especially compared to its least developed neighbours like Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

It is difficult for the outside world to convince the conflicting parties in Thailand to choose reconciliation as no one will compromise despite the prolonged dispute severely impacting its economy, including tourism. They selfishly victimise their own people in the name of democracy.

It is saddening to see that a great nation and a great people will continue to suffer due to their leaders’ endless conflicts.

Thailand is admired by the world for its ability to remain free of colonial powers, for its highly diversified and rich culture. At present, however, its charming people have become victims of their own leaders.


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