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|18-06-2010, 06:12 AM||#1 (permalink)|
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Last Online: 13-12-2013 05:25 PM
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Abhisit diminishes his chances yet again
Abhisit Wastes Another Chance for Thailand Reconciliation
Fabio Scarpello | Bio | 16 Jun 2010
World Politics Review
DENPASAR, Indonesia -- Six weeks after violent standoffs between
Thailand's Red Shirt opposition and government forces left 89 people
dead and roughly 2,000 wounded, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva seems
to have learned little from the recent past and is wasting another
chance to work toward a stable reconciliation in the crisis-plagued
The last such opportunity arose in April 2009, after the Red Shirts'
protests turned violent for the first time. The subsequent crackdown
resulted in 25 people killed, including five soldiers, and more than
800 others wounded. Then, too, Abhisit promised to resolve animosity
between rival groups and foster reconciliation within six to eight
months to pave the way for a snap election. Instead he ended up
antagonizing the opposition by ignoring the recommendations of a
committee he established on political and constitutional reforms.
Those proposals would reinstall the system that had favored the rise
of former Premier Thaksin Shinawatra's party, the Thai Rak Thai.
Abhisit quickly changed course, calling for the establishment of a new
charter-drafting assembly and a referendum, while also taking a harder
stance on the Red Shirts. As a result, instead of resolving its
internal divisions, the country polarized even further, with the Red
Shirts' gathering strength leading to this year's clashes.
Now, Abhisit is again promising reconciliation and reform, but there
are many indications that he is simply using the post-crisis period to
consolidate his power base.
Abhisit has used his weekly televised program to emphasize that his
five-point reconciliation program is well under way and that it will
be completed by the end of the year. The plan was announced in early
May as a way out of the stalemate that had seen demonstrations in the
capital for almost two months, but was subsequently shelved when the
Red Shirts rejected it. In addition to pledging an independent
committee to investigate recent incidents of violence, the plan called
for an independent watchdog agency to oversee the media as well as
constitutional amendments to assure fairer treatment of all political
parties. It was presented along with the promise that new
parliamentary elections would be held by November.
Abhisit has since withdrawn the early election offer. As for the
panels that he has established to investigate the deaths of
demonstrators during the standoff and formulate constitutional
amendments, the decision to put them in the hands of pro-government
figures critical of the Red Shirts shattered their credibility.
Moreover, Abhisit's reconciliation roadmap suffers from a fatal
shortcoming. It fails to clearly address what is largely seen as the
core problem of the country: the centralized power structure, by which
Bangkokians, most of them ethnic Chinese, control the country's
political and economic structure.
Michael Nelson, a visiting scholar at Chulalongkorn University, noted
that the recent protests also had an ethnic element. "Bangkok is an
essentially a Chinese city," he said, "while the protesters consider
themselves 'real' Thais."
It is thus not a surprise that the roadmap has failed to convince a
majority of Thais, with 66.3 percent of respondents saying it would
fail, according to a recent survey conducted by the Abac Poll.
Aside from the roadmap's chances for success, Abhisit is also seen by
many as having been too deeply involved in the recent violence.
According to several commentators, his best contribution to the
country would be to step down and leave the difficult job of putting
the "Land of Smiles" back together to a less-compromised figure.
Instead, the ever-smiling, Western-educated leader of the Thai
Democrats seems unperturbed -- and bent on taking Thailand even
further toward authoritarianism. Several Thailand-based sources,
including one diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed
fears that the country is sliding fast toward a military regime.
Paul Chambers, a professor at Heidelberg University, Germany, and
Payap University, Thailand, who is an expert on the Thai military's
linkages to politics, said that "Abhisit is not really serious about
reconciliation," and called him "a hostage of the right-wing section
In the Thai political context, the right wing refers to those close to
the crown, and includes the military, the bureaucratic apparatus and
the middle-class, represented lately by the yellow-shirted People's
Alliance for Democracy.
Abhisit's entanglement with the military has reached such a level that
it is no longer clear who, in fact, leads the country. The military's
support for Abhisit's rise to power in 2008 led to an increased role
for the military in the government, as well as to a windfall in terms
of defense spending.
The military has also increased its role under cover of the recent
crackdown on the Red Shirts. In particular, the Center for the
Resolution of Emergency Situations (CRES), the military-controlled
body established to counter the Red Shirts, has assumed a central
position in the country's politics.
The blurring of the civilian-military divide has been accompanied by
the crushing of any dissent. Thailand's mainstream media have toed the
government line, while the independent media, or any media associated
with the Red Shirts, has been shut down or intimidated. Foreign
journalists have been castigated for reports deemed "pro-Red Shirt" by
the Thai government, and some have been summoned by CRES. Currently,
Thai censorship is only circumvented by a handful of bloggers, who are
doing a good job of presenting the opposition's side of the story.
Red Shirt supporters, whether real or perceived, are being arrested on
a daily basis on charges of terrorism and for instigating violence
under the Emergency Decree, which Abhisit extended indefinitely on
On June 9, the Thai police released a list of the names, alleged
crimes and places of detention of those being held. According to the
online news site, Prachatai, the list includes 417 people. There are
also allegations of death squads sent loose to liquidate Red Shirts.
Such charges, though unconfirmed, reflect the mood taking hold.
In the meantime, the danger remains that Bangkok's recently restored
calm is only the prelude to another gathering storm.
Fabio Scarpello is the Southeast Asia correspondent for the Italian
news agency Adnkronos International. He is based in Denpasar,
Photo: Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (World Economic Forum
|18-06-2010, 09:36 AM||#3 (permalink)|
Last Online: 30-03-2013 02:28 AM
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WPR Article | Abhisit Wastes Another Chance for Thailand Reconciliation
|18-06-2010, 10:03 AM||#4 (permalink)|
Not surprisingly, the article is short (if not, invisible) on facts to support an inflammatory headline.
I was thinking it would headlight some recent (as in, today) bungle of Abhsit's, yet all the article does, is list a time line of everything that has happened so far (yawn!), and then underlines that with "See, that's another reason where he's screwed up".
Just when I thought tainted writing couldn't sink any lower.
|18-06-2010, 10:42 AM||#5 (permalink)|
Noone here gets out alive
Last Online: 20-03-2013 04:14 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: The back of beyond..on the bloody PC by the looks of it!!
Could it be that Abhisit is not mildly better than Toxic??? I for one think that maybe the case...he is however scuppered by the fact that he has Thai's in the cabinet and the fact that his party is part of a coalition...and their is infighting like children in a playground....then of course there is the very real problem of keeping the military happy at the same time...because all heads of Thailand know that you've gotta keep them on side or your definately out...
Talk about a rock and a hard place...let's just look back at Toxic's reign...he managed this by just placing family members into the position of vunerability...thus securing his position other than beingable to do that ....just huge bribes and payoffs...
So really who can we trust...isn't it just the same in the states???? and many countries all over the world...politicians are not to be trusted around the cookie jar!!!! Let alone your kids...
This fecker looks like he's slipping the poor bugger the tongue!!!!
Everyone of them just using us all to line their own pockets.....history will show you it's never been any different...are you surprised STILL????????
There are no strangers here, just friends you haven't met yet.
|18-06-2010, 03:53 PM||#7 (permalink)|
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|18-06-2010, 04:35 PM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2009
You have a picture of Thaksin as your avatar and post extremely biased opinions. You are being rather hypocritical calling others on the truth.
You're a fan boy of the man who is the very antithesis of truth and sincerity.
|18-06-2010, 05:22 PM||#9 (permalink)|
Last Online: 30-03-2013 02:28 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
The only thing I support is for the Thai people to have their say in free and fair elections. I despise coups, judicial coups, media suppression and silencing / intimidating political opponents. Simple as that. If that is bias then so be it.
Don't blame me if your narrow mind makes simpleton connections between a poster and their avatar. I care for Thaksin about as much as I care for Abhisit - both are unfit for government.
Plenty of others in the international community increasingly share this view:
|18-06-2010, 06:59 PM||#10 (permalink)|
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|19-06-2010, 02:25 AM||#11 (permalink)|
Last Online: Today 09:55 AM
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Asia Sentinel aren't too impressed-
The Bangkok elite show little sign they favor reconciliation, reports Asia Sentinel
As many as 435 Red Shirt protesters remain in Thai jails and prisons in the wake of the May 19 breaking of the two-month siege of Bangkok by police and soldiers, with more being added every day, according to a list supplied to opposition figures and released to the press Wednesday.
A careful examination of the lists indicates that the authorities are predictably punishing the protesters while so far allegations of violence concerning government soldiers and royalists have been ignored. Considerable evidence exists indicating that soldiers and others deliberately targeted and killed not only protesters but members of the international press. Two foreign journalists were killed during the confrontations and seven foreign and domestic reporters were wounded, several of them seriously.
As Asia Sentinel reported on May 19, if the results of three previous revolts in 1972, 1976 and 1992 are considered, the defeated can expect little comfort. Thailand has experienced three major violent political upheavals in the 35 or so years before the present crisis began. There was little leniency shown to demonstrators in any of the three following the upheavals, despite the fact that in all three cases the authorities shared as much responsibility for the violence, if not considerably more, as the protesters.
Growing number of Thai protesters jailed | Asian Correspondent
|19-06-2010, 11:59 AM||#12 (permalink)|
|19-06-2010, 08:25 PM||#13 (permalink)|
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|20-06-2010, 08:11 AM||#14 (permalink)|
|20-06-2010, 01:40 PM||#17 (permalink)|
I am in Jail
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