Thailand hasn’t had as many coups and constitutions as, say, the Dominican Republic or Venezuela, but it outdoes them for fastest turnover: The average lifespan of a Thai constitution is a bit more than four years.
In May of last year, after months of street protests, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha and other senior military officials overthrew the elected government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. And the junta, following that hallowed tradition of Thai coup-makers, promptly abolished the country’s 18th “permanent” constitution.
It proposed a new one in April. Supposedly the centerpiece of the regime’s roadmap to “sustainable democracy,” the draft constitution is a major step backward.… Seguir leyendo »
Fifteen billion dollars. That’s roughly the price tag of the coup d’état to date. And it’s the difference between the Thai economy, Southeast Asia’s second-biggest, stagnating, as it is now, or its chugging along at 4 percent, its average growth rate since 2001.
When a group of generals led by Prayuth Chan-ocha toppled the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra last May, their political agenda was clear: They wanted to quell a mounting legitimacy crisis. For many weeks protesters had been taking to the streets to condemn Ms. Shinawatra’s management of the economy and a controversial amnesty bill that would have benefited her brother Thaksin, a former prime minister in self-exile whose political parties have dominated Thai politics since 2001.… Seguir leyendo »
At 4 a.m., still dark, Ekapop Luara, aka Tang Acheewa, hurriedly packed his suitcase and left Sihanoukville, a town in Cambodia. The next destination was unknown. But he knew he had to run to avoid being captured by agents of the Thai military. Since Thailand’s coup of May 22, Ekapob has been hunted by the junta. The charges against him: being anti-coup and committing lèse-majesté.
Ekapop is among a number of Thai fugitives seeking refuge in Thailand’s neighboring countries. By now, it is clear that Ekapop is hiding somewhere in Cambodia. He is under the protection of the Cambodian office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).… Seguir leyendo »
In the past month, since the Thai military overthrew the elected government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in the 19th coup since Thailand abolished its absolute monarchy in 1932, I became a fugitive.
The official rationale for the coup was to restore peace and order after months of protest against a government accused of widespread corruption. But, as in the past, the real reason it was launched was to defend the interests of elites allied with the monarchy. Over more than six decades on the throne, King Bhumibol Adulyadej has worked intimately with the military to fashion a politics in which civilian governments are kept weak and vulnerable to the threat of a coup, should they overstep their bounds.… Seguir leyendo »
There is a script for Thai coups: a day or two of shock and awe, seizure of television stations, token tanks on the streets — and then swift international reassurance, a plausible interim prime minister, an appointed national assembly, a committee to draft a new constitution and promises to hold elections within a year.
The 2006 coup followed the script almost perfectly, but still ended in farce: The influence of the ousted prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, was far from removed; indeed, pro-Thaksin parties won the first post-coup election, and the one after that.
The leaders of the May 22 coup are not sticking to the 1991 or 2006 scripts.… Seguir leyendo »
The Thai army chief, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, staged a military coup Thursday afternoon. It was the 19th coup since Thailand abolished the absolute monarchy in 1932.
The coup reiterates the essence of martial law launched two days earlier, which gives full authority to the military to take tight control of the political situation, including the suspension of civil rights and curbs on media and academic freedoms — all in the name of restoring law and order.
Essentially the military’s latest coup should be perceived as an act of disparaging democratic principles. Once again, an elected government has been overthrown in the most illegitimate way.… Seguir leyendo »
The Thai military removed all doubt about its intentions in declaring martial law earlier this week, and on Thursday officially announced that it was taking control of the government, the 12th time it has done so since 1932.
The newly created Peace and Order Maintaining Command, composed of the commander in chief of the army and the commanders of the Royal Thai Navy, air force and police, announced that it had suspended the Constitution — except for articles related to the monarchy, the activity of the courts, and some “independent” administrative agencies. The military said that it was acting to protect the peace and resolve the long political impasse that had brought mostly peaceful protests and counterprotests to Bangkok.… Seguir leyendo »
Egipto y Tailandia tienen poco en común, excepto en un aspecto. En los dos países y en momentos diferentes, personas instruidas que se enorgullecen de ser demócratas acabaron aplaudiendo golpes militares contra gobiernos democráticamente elegidos. Durante muchos años habían opuesto resistencia a regímenes militares opresivos, pero en Tailandia en 2006, como en Egipto el mes pasado, se alegraron mucho al ver a sus dirigentes políticos destituidos por la fuerza.
Esa perversidad no carece de motivos. Los dirigentes democráticamente elegidos en los dos países –Thaksin Shinawata en Tailandia y Mohamed Morsi en Egipto– fueron buenos ejemplos de demócratas no liberales: solían considerar su éxito electoral como un mandato para manipular las normas constitucionales y comportarse como autócratas.… Seguir leyendo »
Por Borja Vivanco Díaz (EL CORREO DIGITAL, 19/09/07):
Los síntomas que presagian un golpe de Estado son similares en cualquier lugar del mundo. Tiende a ocurrir que la infantería y la caballería acorazada rodean los edificios públicos y, con mayor intensidad, la residencia del gobierno. Además, de forma sincronizada, las Fuerzas Armadas ocupan la televisión pública y suspenden la programación habitual. De ahí que cuando, hoy hace un año, tuvimos noticia de que los tanques del Ejército tailandés custodiaban el palacio gubernamental, aprovechando que el primer ministro visitaba Nueva York, y de que la cadena de televisión pública ofrecía una y otra vez imágenes grabadas de la familia real, enseguida sospechamos que el país estaba a punto de ser víctima de un golpe militar.… Seguir leyendo »