Pattaya Daily News

07 December 2008 :: 15:12:33 pm 20442

Will Thai Politics ever Free Itself from the Morass?

Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand‘s main international portal has now reopened for business after being closed for over a week by the PAD (People‘s Alliance for Democracy) aka People Against Democracy for their policy of attempting to disenfranchise the rural poor from Isarn, causing inestimable chaos and loss of Thailand‘s international reputation, mainly affecting the tourist trade and exports.
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Critics have also highlighted the poor state of security operating at the airport, saying if the PAD mob can gain such easy access, then so, too, can terrorists! The Royal Thai Police sent in to clear the airport retreated with their tails between their legs, after they had opted for the softly, softly approach, following the death of a protestor on the fateful October 11 confrontation between them and the anti- government protestors.

Thai politics, prior to Thaksin, had muddled along in the form of a loose coalition, deferring to what has been called the “Holy Trinity” of the army, the bureaucracy and the monarchy, until Thaksin, as head of the PPP, gained virtually autocratic control, essentially with the help of the rural poor, largely from Isarn. He effectively became a law unto himself, and elevated his cronies to the top positions in the government, army and legislature. He then commenced his notorious war against drug use, culminating in the extra-judicial killing of over 2000 alleged drug dealers. He continued by trying to severely curtail press freedom, built Suvarnabhumi Airport, the Skytrain, the underground, allegedly raking off a colossal amount in personal profit from these enterprises for himself, his family and sycophants, but he did at least introduce the Bt30 healthcare scheme for the poor, (which cynics have alleged only delivers B30-worth of care) and ensured all his businesses thrived.

Thaksin’s abuses of power and autocratic persona inevitably led to the PAD middle class opposition’s first protests, to which Thaksin responded by throwing an election, which he predictably won, with alleged vote buying from the Isarn poor. The catalyst for Thaksin’s inevitable downfall, however, was when he attempted to take over the army, trying to appoint yet more of his sycophants to the top jobs, which the army responded to by staging the coup, which ousted him and sent him scurrying worldwide looking for sympathetic havens from where to exercise power behind the scenes.

This he manifestly achieved via his cronies, first Samak and then brother-in-law, Somchai; both of whom were ousted in their turn, essentially through PAD pressure. Now, Thaksin’s banned PPP has reformed under the title of Peuea Thai Party, or at least the remnants that have not been prosecuted and are likely to prolong the turgid predicament of Thai politics by forming the selfsame coalition as their forebears. This coalition will elect a new PM, which one suspects will once again enrage the PAD ? plus ca change ? as the French say ? meaning the more things change, the more they stay the same. One wonders if Thai politics will ever free itself from this impasse and elect a government which is acceptable to the majority, or if it will forever remain polarised, leading to the likely scenario of civil war.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Legal

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