In a region characterized by autocratic and repressive governments, Thailand has been a rare pioneer of democracy. Its experience has been far from stable, however. With 11 successful and 7 attempted military coups Thailand has witnessed more coup d’états than any country since 1932. But unlike most of its neighbors, domestic politics in Thailand are vocal and dynamic, and the media face minimal censorship, except for the very sensitive issue of the royal family’s role.
Yet, in the current political crisis the democratic system itself has frequently been criticized as ‘broken’ and demonstrators have advocated replacing the government with an unelected People’s Council. The middle and upper class in Bangkok have become increasingly disillusioned with popular elections.
The recent demonstrations are merely the latest development in an escalating power struggle between the…
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