Thailand’s ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra “is a symptom of Thailand’s problems, not the source of them,” writes International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe. “Erasing him and his cohorts from the political agenda will not alter the reality that Thaksin represents an upwardly mobile and provincial middle class in Thailand that wants a voice in a system dominated by royalist courtiers, old money and the military.” An excerpt of today’s column:
Thailand’s military regime appears intent on purging the country of all traces of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his family, and preventing a come-back by the man who has dominated national politics for 15 years.
But the course that army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha and his junta are taking is destined to further embed the destructive fissures in Thailand’s unhappy political culture. If, as has been flagged, Gen. Prayuth allows fresh elections under a new, heavily restricted democratic constitution around October next year, it will open a door on a new era of unresolved conflicts and contradictions.
More unrest, like that in which Thailand has been embroiled since the military ousted Thaksin in 2006, is inevitable until the country’s deep-seated tensions between social classes and financial interests are addressed … read more (Subscription required*)
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