Thailand’s military regime promised a return to democracy, but keeps prolonging its power by delaying general elections. Beyond a new constitution, Thailand needs a new social contract to resolve the crippling struggle between elected politicians and an unelected establishment that includes the army, bureaucracy and palace.
01 February 2016
Anti-coup New Democracy Movement (NDM) student leader Sirawith Seritiwat seized 20 Jan by uniformed men; Sirawith alleged he was hooded and beaten before being delivered to police station. Sirawith ...
The insurgency that has plagued southern Thailand for more than a decade continues to fester. Peace talks have collapsed and rifts between the government and separatists remain deep. Resolving the conflict requires Bangkok to accept pluralism and decentralisation, and rebels to articulate their goals and commit to a dialogue process.
Martial law has brought calm but not peace to Thailand’s febrile politics. The military regime’s stifling of dissent precludes a frank dialogue on the kingdom’s future and could lead to greater turmoil than that which brought about the May 2014 coup.
After a decade of violence, the capabilities of Malay-Muslim insurgents in Thailand’s Deep South are outpacing the counter-measures of successive governments in Bangkok that have been mired in complacency and protracted national-level political disputes.
The violent border clashes between Thailand and Cambodia earlier this year have challenged the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to turn its rhetoric into action, but to achieve peace and security more robust diplomacy is required to end a still unresolved conflict.
If Thailand is to minimise the risk of renewed demonstrations and violence, it needs to ensure that forthcoming elections are free and fair and that a legitimate government is formed without any interference from the elite establishment.
The Thai government needs to break the stalemate in the southern insurgency by seriously pursuing political solutions, including addressing past injustices, engaging in dialogue with Malay Muslim militants, and exploring new governance arrangements.
The Thai government should immediately lift the state of emergency to create conditions for national reconciliation that would allow the building of a new political consensus and the holding of peaceful elections if the country is to return to stability.
The Thai political system has broken down and seems incapable of pulling the country back from the brink of widespread conflict. The stand-off in the streets of Bangkok between the government and Red Shirt protesters is worsening and could deteriorate into an undeclared civil war.
On taking office, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva pledged to reclaim policy on the southern insurgency from the military.
Thailand: Conflict Alert
13 Jan 2014
Conflict Risk Alert: Thailand
30 Apr 2010
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