Why, oh why am I responding?...so many inaccurate, out of proportion, misguided inferences in the previous posts...suffice it to say that, unequivocally, what's transpired recently is for the better
...believe what you will...
What can I say about the crazy contradictions of Thailand?
Horrified is to see anyone describing Thailand (now, or ever) as a democracy...
then act to place right minded nonmilitary leaders in charge to set temporary national policy, calm the Thai business and capital markets, and establish a path toward constitutional elections.
Dan Rooney wrote:Horrified is to see anyone describing Thailand (now, or ever) as a democracy...
An unbelievably asinine comment. Just incredibly stupid. Democracy is not a binary condition - countries exist as democracies to greater or lesser degrees. Some countries are far enough along the continuum (North Korea for example) that they can safely be labelled as non-democracies. It should be absolutely clear to anyone in possession of a functioning brain that this is (or at least was until a few days ago) not the case for Thailand. Was, prior to the imposition of military rule, Thailand as democratic a state as the Scandinavian countries? Obviously not. Does this mean that Thailand was not a democracy? Obviously not. Does the action of the judiciary in usurping power the power of an elected government (elected in a process which is recognized as having met international standards) increase the strength of the democratic process? Obviously not. Does the seizure of power by the military, the suspension of most of the constitution (all those parts which relate to democracy and human rights but not those which relate to the entrenched power of the elite in state institutions) and the cancelling of elections increase the strength of the democratic process? Obviously not.
Dan Rooney wrote:^ Some areas are:
In 2011, there were free and fair elections. There was a high voter turnout and seats (and party lists) were contested by wide range of candidates. Evidence of vote-buying was low (I think 5 red cards were handed out) and the election was accepted as valid by essentially everyone. The electoral system, mixing FPP and party lists, does a reasonable job of producing governments which reflect national voting patterns.
There was (until recently) a (semi-) viable opposition.
There is a vibrant civil society, highly involved in political life (for example, The Assembly for the Defence of Democracy has just shy of a million supporters. Note the name: defence, not establishment).
There was (until very recently) an active and engaged media, representing a broad range of political opinions.
There is separation of powers, with judicial review of the government.
There are, of course, also major failures with the system of governance in Thailand including, but not limited to:
Unelected bodies are able to wield power way beyond anything which could reasonably be justified - the judiciary in particular, but also the 'independent agencies' and the unelected portion of the senate, sit above the electoral process and are able to decide on matters far from their remit, overruling the democratic process, either in terms of policy (the high-speed train, for example) or elections themselves (the last 3 elected PMs).
The feudal system lives on in the extraordinarily large numbers of political families in parliament/government.
The civil service is deeply politicized and closely aligned with the Democrats/PDRC.
The main opposition party no longer believes in democracy and neither do large swathes of the middle classes.
Even at the best of times, civilian control of the military is non-existent.
Freedom of speech is non-existent in certain areas (112, most obviously).
State transparency and accountability is low to non-existent.
But none of these failures are going to be rectified by a military dictatorship, most of them having in fact been made worse as a direct consequence of the last spell of military rule and given the way that this coup is shaping up, it's now reasonable to expect the situation to deteriorate further, probably dramatically.
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