Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thailand airport crisis: what happens next?

Bangkok Pundit weighs Reuter's list of four "next" options for the Kingdom, and adds a fifth of his own. Here they are ordered according to likelihood as ranked by BP:

1. Police storm airport
2. Judicial coup*
4. Military coup
3. King intervenes**
5. PAD protest group backs down

* This is the option BP added to the Reuter's list. BP explains: "PPP is dissolved next week, before HM the King's birthday, then so entity takes over, the so-called judicial coup option." In his most recent post summarizing the events of Friday, BP discusses the resignation of 5 PPP party members. BP quite reasonably surmises that this may be a tactical move to pre-empt next week's possible dissolution of the PPP.

** BP comments "If there is widespread violence with more than 100 people dying then this seems the only chance, but before then less than 5% chance." Andrew Walker at New Mandala asks if the palace has not already expended its quota of political capital on the crisis. Jonathan Head of the BBC asks whether limitations on the physical stamina of the eighty-year old monarch limit the prospects of such intervention.

Personally, I lean toward viewing option #2, "judicial coup," as most probable. It seems to me that this option both saves face and minimizes risk for more powerful figures than any other.


  1. the Truth Today "red" group will gather at Sanam Luang on Sunday 30 Nov in a peaceful show of numbers

    the group opposes any attempt to topple the elected government and will oppose any attempt to impose government by non-elected people!

    the recent actions by the PAD and their backers especially if a "juducial solution" is contemplated has increased the probability that Thaksin will be brought back to assist maintenance and maturation of democracy in Thailand!

  2. With passage of another day with no action by the police, I think you're right. The court is scheduled to convene Tuesday, supposedly to receive final arguments from the three political parties. The PAD seems to believe that the decision has already been made and will be announced Tuesday that the parties are dissolved. If that happens, the rumor is that the court will then go on to appoint a ruling council as the temporary government until elections are held. This ruling council will be authorized to issue legislation by edict, and to revise the constitution. They will then completely rewrite the constitution before elections and create the PAD's "New Politics", and appoint 70% of the new legislature. The public will be permitted to vote for the remaining 30%. PAD, of course, believe they will be in the appointed 70% and will be repaid for their faithfulness by being allowed to loot the country.

    Neither the military nor the police dare to move until the court makes its announcement, because if my scenario occurs they will be punished by the reactionary and royalist appointed government. On the other hand the current government is trying to hold on until they are dissolved by the court, since there's a tiny chance it may not happen (I'd say about 1%).

    So I don't think we'll see any movement until Tuesday. PAD and its backers apparently aren't worried about the huge losses to Thai businesses caused by the delay.

    If there is any civil unrest after this the Army will forget all about its "refusal to permit bloodshed" and go back to the kind of counterinsurgency warfare they had from the 50s to the 70s. Bring out the red barrels again.

    Something that has puzzled me all along, why the government has not published the names of most of the backers of PAD (some probably can't be named)? I think the public would have put pressure on them long ago if they had the information. Too late now.

  3. I agree about publishing names...

    the Kasikorn bank guy had to come out after people started to withdraw funds...

    we need some more of that

    never too late!

    next week when it is still going we will say wish we had done it...


Because all comments on this blog are moderated, there will be some delay before your comment is approved.