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  • OPINION

    Rail deals must have accountability

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 03/05/2019

    » Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's recent participation in the second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in Beijing was problematic on many levels. On what basis did Gen Prayut negotiate a rail deal between Thailand and China? What are the details and cost-benefit considerations of this deal? The lack of transparency and public accountability surrounding the Thailand and China rail plan is likely to pose future questions and problems for a huge infrastructure project Thailand can use, but according to whose terms its people must be the main beneficiary.

  • OPINION

    Thailand's year of hunting normality

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 11/01/2019

    » Three related events that will shape Thailand's path this year and beyond are evidently the coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, the much-anticipated election, and the once-a-decade rotational chairmanship of Asean.

  • OPINION

    The annals of Thailand's military dictators

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 12/10/2018

    » As Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha eyes longer-term power beyond the next election, his eventual legacy will be compared to other military leaders who have come and gone as heads of past Thai governments. Had he left office or stepped down to run for it earlier, Gen Prayut might be in a better place. As things stand, his tenure and subsequent exit from the political scene does not appear promising for how he will be seen in hindsight.

  • OPINION

    Prime Minister Prayut is no President Xi

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 16/03/2018

    » That the Chinese Communist Party-controlled legislature has removed the term limits of the country's president and vice president has already sent shockwaves worldwide. It means that President Xi Jinping can continue to be China's head of state into a third term beyond 2023. Even though China's presidency is less powerful than the Chinese Communist Party's General Secretary and head of the Central Military Commission, the abolition of presidential term limits sends unmistakable signals that President Xi intends to hold complete and absolute power. He is now seen as more powerful than any contemporary Chinese leader, unrivalled since the time of founding father Mao Zedong.

  • OPINION

    A year of living dangerously in Thailand

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 05/01/2018

    » They were supposed to be in power for the royal transition but they have stayed too long and now want to win an unavoidable election.

  • OPINION

    Thailand caught in indefinite transition trap

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 22/05/2015

    » Milestones and anniversaries are for marking. But few should overdo the focus on Thailand one year after its 12th successful coup in 83 years under constitutional rule. The past year is merely a large blip on a long political continuum that dates back a decade or even a century in which Thai society has been grappling with the form and content of a political order that is being contested between the forces of tradition and modernity.

  • OPINION

    A well-intentioned but problematic charter

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 24/04/2015

    » Thailand's draft constitution of 2015 appears to be full of good intentions that may end up in futility.

  • OPINION

    Thai military's cradle of political power

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 17/10/2014

    » From a promising period of de-politicisation in the late 1990s to a manipulative re-politicisation in the early 2000s, Thailand's military has come full circle.

  • OPINION

    A 'third way' is imperative for Thailand

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 03/10/2014

    » As the new government's missteps — from the insensitive comment on bikini-wearing to the microphone procurement scandal — mount, Thailand may soon revert to the same polarisation of the past decade that revolved around former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's rule and legacy.

  • OPINION

    How far can the Thai clock be turned back?

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 08/08/2014

    » As the military coup on May 22 is being converted into a military government with a civilian face, at issue is how far the Thai clock can be turned back.

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