Thai opposition stokes fears of coup, ‘civil war’

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Abhisit
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva

Thailand’s opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, head of the Democrat Party, in his recent speeches warned the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra “not to violate the rule of law, challenge the power of the judiciary, exercise power for vested interests or try to right wrongdoings” after many scandals and failed policies came to light including the rice pledging scheme and continued interventions from ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Abisit said that the recent Egyptian coup should serve as a good lesson that military intervention comes when a government abuses its power. He added that “a truly democratic government” must be aware of the limits on its power and must not abuse the power it receives from people to violate the judiciary. Otherwise, confrontation will occur, he said according to a report in the Bangkok Post.

Thailand has a long history of military coups, with the latest of a total of 18 since 1932 – the most in Southeast Asia – staged in 2010.

Thailand has made poor progress making the transition from military to civilian rule and faces a “high risk” of future coups, said political expert Aurel Croissant, author of a new book called Democratisation and Civilian Control in Asia. Croissant said the three factors that make Thailand vulnerable to coups include the lack of a strong civil society, legitimacy questions about the government and “a lot of coups in the past”.

The fact that prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra took over the role as defense minister recently has been widely interpreted as a precautionary measure in an aim to bring the military under government control.

Thai clashesMeanwhile, Abisit even warned of a “civil war” in Thailand if the government would continue to clear obstacles for the return of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, commenting a clip posted on YouTube July 6 that is said to be a conversation between Thaksin and Deputy Defence Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapa in Singapore late in June where both talk about a possible amnesty decree to quickly bring Thaksin home.

Abhisit said the issues discussed in the video, if true, could stir trouble in Thailand,  and he warned that an attempt to issue an amnesty decree would be unconstitutional.

“I’m worried about the country being pushed into a civil war because of their self interest,” he said, expressing concerned about a possible return of street clashes.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva

Thailand’s opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, head of the Democrat Party, in his recent speeches warned the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra “not to violate the rule of law, challenge the power of the judiciary, exercise power for vested interests or try to right wrongdoings” after many scandals and failed policies came to light including the rice pledging scheme and continued interventions from ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Abhisit
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva

Thailand’s opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, head of the Democrat Party, in his recent speeches warned the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra “not to violate the rule of law, challenge the power of the judiciary, exercise power for vested interests or try to right wrongdoings” after many scandals and failed policies came to light including the rice pledging scheme and continued interventions from ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Abisit said that the recent Egyptian coup should serve as a good lesson that military intervention comes when a government abuses its power. He added that “a truly democratic government” must be aware of the limits on its power and must not abuse the power it receives from people to violate the judiciary. Otherwise, confrontation will occur, he said according to a report in the Bangkok Post.

Thailand has a long history of military coups, with the latest of a total of 18 since 1932 – the most in Southeast Asia – staged in 2010.

Thailand has made poor progress making the transition from military to civilian rule and faces a “high risk” of future coups, said political expert Aurel Croissant, author of a new book called Democratisation and Civilian Control in Asia. Croissant said the three factors that make Thailand vulnerable to coups include the lack of a strong civil society, legitimacy questions about the government and “a lot of coups in the past”.

The fact that prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra took over the role as defense minister recently has been widely interpreted as a precautionary measure in an aim to bring the military under government control.

Thai clashesMeanwhile, Abisit even warned of a “civil war” in Thailand if the government would continue to clear obstacles for the return of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, commenting a clip posted on YouTube July 6 that is said to be a conversation between Thaksin and Deputy Defence Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapa in Singapore late in June where both talk about a possible amnesty decree to quickly bring Thaksin home.

Abhisit said the issues discussed in the video, if true, could stir trouble in Thailand,  and he warned that an attempt to issue an amnesty decree would be unconstitutional.

“I’m worried about the country being pushed into a civil war because of their self interest,” he said, expressing concerned about a possible return of street clashes.

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