25 April, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile






mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 04/13/2010
THAILAND
Thailand’s socio-political system, crucial factor in its political crisis
The conflict is about not only haves and have-nots but also about two different ways of envisaging society. PIME missionary says red-shirts have brought together all anti-government groups with Thaksin operating behind the scene to get back into power. About 90 per cent of the population wants peace and is concerned about the crisis’ impact on the economy, especially tourism.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Thailand’s crisis is not only about different political factions vying for power, a struggle between haves and have-nots or Bangkok and rural areas, but is also about two different ways of envisaging Thai society. This in turn may eventually affect the country’s socio-political system. In the meantime, as Thais try to celebrate their New Year (Songkran festival, 12-15 April); the economy is suffering, with losses in the stock market and a decline in tourism.

The main opposition group, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), has rejected the government’s offer to dissolve parliament and hold elections in six months time. Red-shirt leaders, who support exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, said they are not planning any new move in the next few days, but they insist that they will continue to hold the areas in the capital already under their control.

Their demands have found some support in the military. Army chief Anupong Paojinda yesterday said the only solution to the country's political stalemate was the dissolution of parliament. Political leaders, he believes, must find a political solution.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who said he would not resign, insisted that the demonstrators who “attacked” security forces last Saturday were “terrorists”. About ten people died in the ensuing clashes and more than 800 were injured. Still, for him a distinction must be made between those who cause disorder and those who demonstrate peacefully.

Fr Raffaele Manenti, a missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) who has been in Thailand for the past 16 years, told AsiaNews that today’s conflict “has its roots in the past, and that many issues are now coming to the surface with a vengeance.”

Red-shirted protesters are partisans of Thaksin. Unlike other administrations, including Abhisit’s, the ousted prime minister “adopted measures favourable to the population” and did simply not favour Bangkok-based elites.

The fact that the current government was not elected is another reason for popular resent. The red-shirts bring together “a number of opposition movements, once tied to Thaksin, who is operating behind the scene in order to get back into power,” Fr Manenti said.

People in rural areas want the government to pay more attention to their needs and put more resources into the countryside. Unless this is done, the authorities “run the risk of a long-term crisis”.

With tourism imploding at a key moment like the Songkran festival, the economy could experience serious repercussions.

A political expert, who asked for anonymity, told AsiaNews that we are faced with “two ways of envisaging Thai society. Intellectuals, recent graduates and professionals have joined the red-shirts.

“We are facing a social revolution whose outcome is not yet clear,” she said. “Beside the economy, the socio-political system and future changes are the other key factors. No one is explicitly talking about it, but they will profoundly affect Thailand’s culture and traditions.”

Some have suggested that Thaksin’s removal is connected to an attempt to change the constitution and start a process that would see the monarchy give way to a republic. However, even though King Bhumibol is old and ailing, he remains an immensely popular figure, and is backed by the military. Any talk of regime change is taboo.

Buddhist traditions are also deeply embedded in Thai society. Peace and non-violence are strong. This is why the military is exercising self-restraint, the source told AsiaNews.

A recent survey showed that 90 per cent of the population is against the violence of recent days.

“Elections are coming; the question is which date would satisfy both government and demonstrators,” she said. (DS)


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
04/08/2010 THAILAND
Bangkok: more red-shirt protests after state of emergency is declared
by Weena Kowitwanij
03/15/2010 THAILAND
Pro-Thaksin "Red Shirts" in showdown against Premier Abhisit
05/26/2010 THAILAND
In Bangkok, thousands pray for peace
by Weena Kowitwanij
05/20/2010 THAILAND
Three-night curfew in Bangkok as fear of more violence lingers
05/14/2010 THAILAND
Army begins final offensive against demonstrators in Bangkok, so far one dead, 12 wounded

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope remembers and prays for "latest tragedy" of migrants, "our brothers and sisters" who "are seeking happiness"At the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis says he is praying for the hundreds of victims in a sinking off the coast of Libya. An appeal to the international community to "act decisively and promptly." "Every baptized person is called to witness in word and deed, that Jesus is risen, He is alive and present in our midst." The Christian message "is not a theory, an ideology or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions, or moralism, but a message of salvation, a concrete event, even a person: the Risen Christ, the living and only Savior of all" . The Pope will be in Turin on June 21 to honor the Shroud, the exposition of which begins today.
SAUDI ARABIA – YEMEN
Saudi war in Yemen masks widening domestic tensions
by Afshin ShahiSaudi Arabia is using the conflict in Yemen to control domestic problems, especially social inequalities and religious sectarianism. However, whilst the royal family flaunts its wealth, some 20 per cent of the population lives in poverty. Many disgruntled young Saudis end up becoming "foreign fighters" for the Islamic state (IS). Some 15 per cent of the Saudi population is Shia, under the heavy thumb of the Sunni-dominated state. Afshin Shahi, director of the Centre for the Study of Political Islam and lecturer in International Relations and Middle East Politics at University of Bradford, provides the following lucid analysis.
VATICAN
Pope: on the persecution of Christians, the international community should "not stand by mute and inactive” and “look away”For the sixth time in a week, Pope Francis mentioned the martyrdom of Christians in today’s Regina Caeli (the Marian prayer at Easter), slamming the indifference of the international community towards this "alarming failure to protect basic human rights.” Today’s martyrs "are many, and we can say that they are more numerous than in the first centuries." In addition, “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can and must offer his brothers and sisters. To one and all, therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is Risen!”

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.