Tag Archives: Yingluck Shinawatra

Martial law an interlude in Thailand crisis – Manthorpe

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King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand

Amid the tension and turmoil in Thailand this week, only one thing is  certain — the military would not have intervened without the approval of ailing King Bhumibol Adulyadej, writes International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe. An excerpt of his new column:

A day after declaring martial law, the first attempt by Thailand’s army to mediate an end to the country’s eight years of political turmoil ended inconclusively, with both major factions refusing to end their street protests.

Hours after launching what has been called “a half coup,” Army Chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha today chaired a meeting with representatives of the governing Pheu Thai Party, the opposition Democrat Party and the chairman of Thailand’s election commission. 

But he was unable to get any commitment from either the governing or opposition parties to end their demonstrations, which have regularly spawned violence since Thai politics was thrown into chaos by the 2006 military coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is now in self-imposed exile.

Gen. Prayuth insists his declaration of martial law is not a coup, that the government of Pheu Thai acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan is still the administration, and that his only aim is to prevent bloodshed …  read more.*

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Thailand in Turmoil — Manthorpe

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Caretaker Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan

Thailand is once again roiled by political turmoil, with a rural-urban split. Will there be civil war? Can the country’s aging King Bhumibol Adulyadej hang on? What will come of its democracy when Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, “seen as a vindictive man with thuggish instincts,” takes over? International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe explains why military intervention – now being widely discussed – is no simple matter. Excerpt of Manthorpe’s new column:

Thailand’s military leaders are clear that they don’t want to launch another coup, but the growing intensity of the political chaos may give them little choice.

Last week’s ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra by the Constitutional Court for abuse of power has left dangerous uncertainty about which political leader, if any, has the authority to run the government.

There is even talk of civil war as cohorts of pro and anti-government supporters circle each other in the capital, Bangkok, so far without serious clashes.

In the last few days anti-government demonstrators from the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, known as Yellow Shirts, have rampaged through the capital, Bangkok, attacking media outlets and demanding the removal of the caretaker government.

So far there have been no clashes with the government supporters of the United Front for democracy Against Dictatorship, known as Red Shirts. But emotions are high and on a hair-trigger …  read more.*

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Click here for Jonathan Manthorpe’s page, with all of his columns for F&O.

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Analysis: Will Thailand’s military again intervene?

Expect more turmoil next week in Thailand’s dysfunctional political culture, writes international affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe. The big question in the expected fracas between the two main factions – identified by the yellow shirts worn by urbanites or the red garb of rural dwellers — is whether the military will intervene. Excerpt:

Manthorpe B&WThailand is awash with rumours of a looming military coup as opposition activists aim to shut down the capital, Bangkok, on Monday, in their campaign to oust the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. All the signs are, however, that the military is reluctant to intervene unless the police lose control of the streets.

The head of Thailand’s army, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, was involved in the 2006 coup in which the government of Prime Minister Yingluck’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, was ousted. Thai politics have been in sometimes-violent disarray since, and people close to Prayuth say he is well aware that military coups solve nothing.

More difficult to envisage is what will solve Thailand’s increasingly dysfunctional political culture. The fissures in what was always a bumbling, corrupt and ineffectual democracy have been widening and deepening since the 2001 election of Thaksin Shinawatra.

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Manthorpe on amnesty and exile in Thailand

Thailand is roiled by political intrigue, street protests and royal scandal. International affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe explains why an amnesty bill is unlikely to change this state of affairs:

No end is in sight to the torrid and bloody turmoil that has engulfed Thailand’s public life for almost a decade, as the country’s senate prepares to reject an amnesty law that would allow ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to return from exile.

Since it was elected in 2011 the Pheu Thai Party government, led by Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra, has been looking for the right moment to produce the highly contentious amnesty law. 

Yet even the recent broadening of its provisions to absolve everyone from all parties involved in alleged illegal acts during the years of turmoil, has failed to stem opposition.

Last week’s passage of the amnesty bill through the lower house of parliament, where Prime Minister Yingluck has an overwhelming majority, led to days of mass street protests in the capital Bangkok and other cities around the country.

Fearing these protests will again explode into the street violence that has dogged the nation since a military coup in 2006, Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanij says he believes a majority of the 150 senators will decide it is in the national interest to reject the bill when it comes before them on November 11  …   Read more.

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