Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Former British Ambassador Supports Coup

Derek Tonkin, British Ambassador to Thailand from 1986-89 wrote the Sunday Times to express support for the coup:
The problem for the 30 per cent of urban dwellers in Thailand who are mostly opposed to Mr Thaksin is that his political party, through what would appear to be traditional but illegal vote-buying practices, has cornered 70 per cent of the rural vote. His wealth has become so immense and has been used so shamelessly to undermine political opponents and critics that his position has become virtually unassailable through the ballot box.

As the declared purpose of the coup is to restore democratic rights and bring an end to corrupt domination of the rural vote, is action against tyranny and for democracy not fully justified?
New Mandala has some commentary here on the vote-buying issue -- does this evidence lend support the allegation? You decide. I can't help but be skeptical of the junta's claim that the "declared purpose of the coup is to restore democratic rights." If so, then why are Thais being arrested for holding peaceful protests, local political meetings prohibited, Thai newspapers censored, and some Northeastern Thais prevented from traveling in groups? Whereas the ambassador puts great stock in the "declared purpose" of the junta, when I examine what the junta is actually doing, I see a wide chasm separates declaration and deed.

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