Thailand: Three Years After The 2006 Coup

19 September 2006 is the date of latest Coup D'etat in Thailand, ousting Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra into exile. Three years later, the country is still in unrest situation.

Suranand Vejjajiva, one of Thaksin's cabinet members who switched to being a media analyst from being a politician, wrote an interesting wrap-up article on Bangkok Post: Three years down the road, Thailand is at a crossroads

His view points to Thaksin's strategy as different from other former leaders who were removed by the military junta:

the fugitive Thaksin remains a threat to the new regime three years after being overthrown. His “fighter” attitude is one factor, but it is also because Thaksin's base of power is like no other.

He did not obtain his influence from being in the Establishment or through collusion with it, even though he began by amassing his immense wealth through mobile telephone and satellite government concessions.

His business is modern, the operational model new. Through the stock market, he could raise funds at a larger and faster rate than any other business people.

And it was Thaksin's management skills both in business and politics that allowed him to build an organisation with a life of its own.

The combination of wealth and power furthered his clout within the government bureaucratic structure, many members of which continue to support him till now, despite attempts by the coup leaders and present government to dismantle his extensive network.

Suranand also cites two other factors supporting Thaksin: acceptance of democracy after the fall of communism in Southeast Asia and the failure of Thai bureaucracy in addressing the people's demands.

In summary, Suranand says it is difficult for both Thaksin and the opposing forces (military, bureaucrats and current Democrat government) to solve their own problem. Whoever can do will lead Thailand getting through the next decade.

Of course, Thaksin has his faults, and he is now facing the consequences of the abuses of power he committed. Political pundits agree that even though he may appear to be on the offensive, it will be difficult for him to actually return to power – let alone come back home – considering the numerous political enemies he has made.

But at the same time, the regimes that have replaced him, both the interim unelected one of Gen Surayud and the present Democrat-led coalition, have been unable to beat Thaksin in winning over the general population, as they face questions of democratic legitimacy, of capability in dealing with the economic crisis, and of competence in running the government – as reflected in the recent, and still pending, issue of the selection of the new police chief.

Worth reading. You can also follow Suranand on Twitter.

There are many blogs that mention the 19 September Coup D'etat anniversary. These are a few examples:

NaDao, a citizen journalist, briefly interviewed Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the military leader of 2006. Sonthi says that in 2006, his plan was to take down only one person, Thaksin, who causes trouble and believed that the country will unite. He defends his actions by blaming the low performance and wrong decisions of bureaucrat government (appointed by him) as the causes of the country's problem after the Coup.

Another post is from an anti-Thaksin side. Newgeneration wraps up the faults of Thaksin during his reign.

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