Thailand’s Political Crisis and Peaceful Resolution

May 17, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

The Thai government’s political crackdown through military might against the Red-Shirt protesters representing the rural poor and the urban working class population is autocratic than democratic.

Thailand is a nation with a history of military coups and a constitutional monarchy as the ceremonial head of the state.

Accordingly, democracy finds itself between a rock and a hard place.

The National United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship aka UDD and their supporters known as the Red Shirts are the discontent mainstream population in the rural and urban areas of the country marginalized by the current government whose representatives are regarded the elitist least concerned about the populist plight.

Having experienced the effective economic policies that,

Reduced poverty by half within four years,

The country’s first universal health care program,

Education, energy and a controversial yet seemingly popular anti-drug campaign under the deposed Premier Thaksin Shinawatra, the political crisis has been looming since 2005.

Thai politics is complex with the military junta, judiciary, corporate interests, communications media including the news corps and the monarchy exerting authority in the so-called democracy.

In a nutshell, except for the people participating in the voting process, the power is shared among the entities in the hierarchy.

While modern democracy is accustomed to some communication media not barring certain print press positioning with the authority in power in the self-contradictory newscast of their political idols fitting the profile – ‘journalism gone awry,’

The deep-seated problem with Thai governance is the cart blanche military power in direct control of the political system as witnessed in the 2006 coup d’état and now in the political violence producing civilian casualties in the State Capital, Bangkok.

People protesting the economic disparity called for ceasefire against civilians and pleaded with the authorities to begin peaceful negotiations.

The Red-Shirt protesters demand the incumbent Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva’s resignation.

The P.M. is confirmed to have been sworn in December 2008, through political maneuvering by the judicial and the military power not excluding the bureaucrats pledged allegiance to royalty.

In addition, the demonstrators seek Parliament dissolution for new general election due to lack of representation in addressing the Main Street problems.

The government via military has declined the proposals and continue the use of live ammunition against dissenters to disperse the crowd and imposed state emergency in most parts of the country.

With the internal security act in effect, the government’s systemic abuse of power against the people cannot be disregarded.

There appears to be serious violation of democratic principles starting with the explicit control of the communication media preventing the information flow, the only resource available to the economically disadvantaged groups in the anti-government rally.

The government excessive force has been prevalent since the anticipated political uprising during the military rule between 2006 and 2007 leading to the appointment of the current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva until the present time.

If the government in power were to focus on alleviating the economic woes like poverty,
unemployment, wage discrimination, housing, maintaining the universal health care, clean and safe environment…the basic expectations from citizens across the socio-economic spectrum on which it’s dependent for electoral votes,

The clash between the political class and the poor working class in the rural-urban areas would be non-existent.

Besides, the privileged members exploring opportunities to gain or remain in power for self-interest instead of the public and national interest is often the cause for political turmoil with the anti-government sentiments at its peak.

The government’s failure to deal with the economic and social challenges contributes to the political instability eventually threatening national security.

In this particular instance, democracy is undermined by the Kingdom’s regent; the military empowered to execute policies against the electorates’ will.

Public disappointment in the political system run by the nexus organization is justified in a democracy.

Therefore, it’s obligatory on the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to comply with the people’s request for troop withdrawal and refrain from shooting the civilians in public square.

Military role is honorable in national defense i.e. protecting citizens’ lives unlike the contrary.

At the same time, the Red Shirt protesters must leave the site and abandon activities endangering the public and the environment.

Based on the evidence in the ongoing political crisis,

The Premier had rejected peaceful negotiations with the representatives of the rural poor and working class population causing civilian deaths that could have been prevented in the prolonged political unrest.

Notwithstanding, the undemocratic events of the military coup and the Premier’s subsequent appointment expended in defending the right to remain in office rather than resolving the issues constructively in national interest,

The call for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s resignation is appropriate allowing democracy to prevail through free and fair elections where the candidates would represent the republic of Thailand with a sincere commitment to serve the constituents per “The 1997 People’s Constitution.”

Political decisions and appointments from 2006 until now, specifically the 2007 Constitution of Thailand established by the military junta is null and void.

Further, an independent inquiry to investigate the abuse of power resulting in political oppression and loss of human lives is recommended.

Best Wishes to the people of Thailand!

Sovereignty, eternal peace and prosperity is the inevitable outcome of the political resolution.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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