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  • News & article

    Central bank autonomy must be upheld

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 16/08/2019

    » When elected governments make noises about economic growth in countries where macroeconomic management is sound and prudent, central bankers tend to quietly bristle and brush off such interference and infringement of monetary space at their own risk. In so doing, central bankers tend to enjoy the support of domestic and international market participants who value central bank independence more than politicians' vested interests, even if it sometimes undercuts their bottom lines. Accordingly, when central bankers go along with the preferences of elected politicians, the conduct of monetary policy comes into question.

  • News & article

    Prime Minister Prayut's huge little gaffe

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 09/08/2019

    » While Thailand's flawed 2017 constitution was bound to run into a fundamental dispute at some point, the sudden and brewing charter crisis facing the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha stems from an unlikely source. During the oath-taking ceremony presided over by Their Majesties on July 16, the Gen Prayut-led cabinet somehow omitted one-third of a statement which was mandated to be read aloud before officially taking office. What should have been a routine constitutional ritual has become a procedural gaffe that has captured national attention, putting government stability at risk and the prime minister's political longevity in doubt.

  • News & article

    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.

  • News & article

    The cabinet's composition and direction

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 19/07/2019

    » With Thailand's new post-election cabinet members poised to to start work after being sworn in, it is instructive to look at how they have been assembled based on patron-client ties and vested interests. Because it contains unsavoury individuals with shady pasts, this cabinet is unlikely to last long but the political longevity of its leader, former junta chairman and still Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, may endure longer than many would expect from such a fragile, fractious coalition government.

  • News & article

    New cabinet puts power grab on display

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 12/07/2019

    » As if to remind the Thai public of what the past five years of military-authoritarian rule has been all about, the first post-election cabinet under Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha now represents the full manifestation of what was no less than a power grab.

  • News & article

    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.

  • News & article

    Post-poll transitions and directions

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 14/06/2019

    » Almost three months after the March 24 poll, Thailand has barely managed to come up with a new government leader, who remains Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, but a cabinet has still yet to be announced owing to haggling and bargaining over portfolios.

  • News & article

    Thailand's lessons from the Prem years

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 31/05/2019

    » In a galloping world of communications instantaneity, Gen Prem Tinsulanonda's passing earlier this week is likely to be framed by popular expectations and grievances so far in the 21st century rather than the conditions and circumstances of the 20th century where most of the late elder statesman's life was rooted.

  • News & article

    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.

  • News & article

    Anti-regime? Join the opposition ranks

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 17/05/2019

    » Five years after it seized power in May 2014, Thailand's military junta, known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), has achieved what it envisaged.

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