Monday, June 9, 2008

Thailand: are the PAD demonstrations the smokescreen for a coup?

Jonathan Manthorpe, a Canadian foreign affairs correspondent, surveys recent political developments in Thailand from the 2006 coup to the present street demonstrations, highlighting the thorny question of royal succession. Concerning the recent street protests, he observes:
What has brought the protesters out onto the streets are moves by the Samak government to amend the constitution put in place by the military. These plans appear to undercut the legal basis for charging Thaksin with corruption.

Most demonstrators are from the People's Alliance for Democracy, an urban party that dislikes Thaksin's appeal to the rural poor.

The PAD's demonstrations in 2006 provided the excuse for the coup, and it is natural to wonder if that is the agenda again.
Some recent news reports suggest that public support for the PAD protesters may be waning. But if it is a set-up for another coup, it might be sufficient for the coup-plotters if the protests have created the perception of public dissatisfaction with the elected PPP party-led government of Prime Minister Samak. In other words, the protests could be a smokescreen.
Hat-tip: Bangkok Pundit/Absolutely Bangkok

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