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  • OPINION

    5 years backwards under military rule

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 24/05/2019

    » Now that five years have elapsed since Thailand's last military coup, it is an opportune juncture to take stock of where the country is heading. When it seized power in May 2014, the military junta, known as the National Council for Peace and Order, initially had legitimacy from royal ascent and broad approval from its restoration of stability and order after more than half a year of street protests in Bangkok by the People's Democratic Reform Committee that was intent on overthrowing the Pheu Thai government.

  • OPINION

    What went wrong for the Democrats?

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 07/06/2019

    » It is hard to believe today that Thailand's Democrat Party was widely worth rooting for not so long ago. In past eras of military-authoritarianism, Democrat MPs used to be seen as a force for good, pitted against ruling generals in support of popular rule. Somehow during the current military regime that dates back to the September 2006 coup, Thailand's oldest party has tilted away from democracy towards authoritarianism. But just as the party is demoralised and in disarray, it offers a silver lining in new and fresh faces that could offer a way forward if party elders are willing to step aside.

  • OPINION

    Thailand's tale told via 'The Nation'

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 28/06/2019

    » Nearly five decades ago, The Nation newspaper started out as a pro-democracy, anti-military news organisation. It was fiercely independent and invariably hard-hitting vis-à-vis the powers-that-be. An English-language newspaper owned by Thais from the outset, it prided itself for having neither fear nor favour. Its lamentable expiry as a print newspaper today -- an online version will continue -- provides multiple parallels for Thailand's contemporary political history, ongoing polarisation and the changing nature of the business of journalism worldwide.

  • OPINION

    The evolving Thai political fault lines

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 05/07/2019

    » Over the past five years under military government, it is clear that Thailand's political polarisation has not been bridged. It has, in fact, expanded into new fault lines. Apart from the longstanding yellows versus reds revolving around supporters and critics of the established political order premised on military, monarchy and bureaucracy, we now have a clear demarcation between pro- and anti-junta and authoritarianism versus democratisation camps. Newer fault lines are generational and ideological in orientation. While some of these divisions are global in nature, bringing them in line towards a new consensus in Thailand will necessitate a kind of leadership and compromise without which the country will be unsettled for the long term.

  • OPINION

    Give parliamentary politics a chance

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 26/07/2019

    » After a five-year hiatus, parliamentary politics returns this week with a constitutionally mandated policy statement by the coalition government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. With government and opposition back at work again, in contrast to the previous military-appointed rubber-stamp legislature under junta rule, Thailand has yet another small window of opportunity to regain and rebuild popular rule.

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