This association was created to seek international support for Thailand’s transition into democracy. Print. He described the protesters as “Thailand’s reformers” who he said “are not seeking a … Experts say demands for monarchy reform have previously only been made by fringe groups, and protesters are changing the game by talking about such issues so publicly and openly. Thailand: A Democratic Failure and Its Lessons for the Middle East. Those who have fallen foul of the law in the past include. We are not brainwashed, we know what is happening in Thailand," said the girl, who didn't give her name for fear of reprisals. The court granted me bail, I should not repeat the same offenses but it doesn't mean I can't exercise my rights under the constitution," he said. Since then Thailand has experienced 13 military-backed coups, the latest of which occurred in 2014. He, His son, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who assumed the throne in 2016 and. BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s indefatigable pro-democracy activists took to Bangkok’s streets again Sunday, this time to protest the army as they push forward with their campaign for sweeping reforms, including to the nation’s monarchy. Democracy or Else. Some observers say the "Thai people's patience has run out." Currently, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has yet to pass two organic bills on the elections of MP’s and the selections of senators. Thailand’s Political Situation and Coup Thai socialist Giles Ji Ungpakorn is a former Identified by the iconic three-finger Hunger Games salute, the movement has drawn in a wide range of citizens throughout the country, from drag queens to food vendors , K-pop fans and motorbike drivers . Thai pro-democracy protesters scaled a Bangkok monument on November 14 night to unfurl a giant banner scribbled with anti-government slogans and calls to reform the monarchy. Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra told the Thai people that he would only resign when the King asks him to do so. Democracy is a government by the people, for the people and of the people. Calls for monarchy reform could alienate large numbers of protesters, but pushing too hard could spark a violent backlash or a military crackdown, which could ultimately serve to draw more support for the movement. “At a time when democracy is under assault from so many quarters it is critical that the United States Senate stand with the democracy movement in Thailand,” said Bob Menendez, a Democrat senator from New Jersey. Thailand was a kingdom under an absolute monarch for over seven centuries before 1932. "It is important to understand that, with a large group of demonstrators demanding monarchical reform, the cat is out of the bag for the first time, meaning that henceforth monarchical reform is a valid demand for Thai demonstrators.". The country is a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. While Thailand managed to make a big leap following the election in March last year, it did not – in the end – perform the best out of all the other ASEAN member countries included in the index. "There are so many injustices in this country," the high school student said. Thailand is a name of a country in Southeast Asia not a democracy to answer your question. But grievances once whispered in the private confines of living rooms are now being publicly aired over speakerphone to thousands of listeners, expressing the extent of protesters' disillusionment with Thailand's governing institutions. "I am not afraid, I have been waiting for this moment for a very long time. Although absolute monarchy was abolished in Thailand in 1932, the monarch still wields significant political influence. In other words democracy is a system which gives power to each and every citizen to actively participate in the government of the country. Thanathorn has been receiving a lot of support at his anti-government rallies. He lives in Bangkok. On August 10, another protest at Bangkok's Thammasat University laid out a series of 10 demands for reform that boil down to ensuring a genuine constitutional monarchy that places the monarch under the constitution. The country has some of the strictest. And yet Thailand … The recent violence comes as Thailand, once a leading example of an emerging democracy in Southeast Asia, tries to persuade the United States, E.U. This would set a trend of political instability that has been a present theme throughout the course of Thai politics. Thai-style democracy is therefore an oxymoron put to use as a euphemism for Thai-style dictatorship. Read the article from Asia Sentinel about democracy in Thailand.. Pithaya Pookaman is a retired Thai ambassador and a regular contributor to Asia Sentinel. Many have taken inspiration from movies to illustrate their demands. Anger among disaffected youth has been bubbling since before the March 2019 elections, which gave, "I am so thrilled to see a lot people turned out to join the protest today," said Arnon. A New Democracy Movement in Thailand. Aside from that, more recent developments in Thailand paints a bleak picture for the future of Thai democracy. The country was awarded 7.42 points for electoral process and pluralism, 5.36 for functioning of government, 6.11 for political participation, 6.25 for political culture and 6.47 for civil liberties. ", Protesters in Thailand demand monarchy reform, Alexey Navalny says CNN's investigation uncovers 'terrifying' details. BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s indefatigable pro-democracy activists took to Bangkok’s streets again Sunday, this time to protest the army as they push forward with their campaign for sweeping reforms, including to the nation’s monarchy. They are fighting for a profound transformation of Thai society. King Bhumibol, who reigned for 70 years until his death in 2016, was beloved by many in the country. Thailand’s Political Situation and Coup This would set a trend of political instability that has been a present theme throughout the course of Thai politics. Yes and No. For many years, we were pleased to see Thailand build prosperity and democracy, becoming in many ways a regional success story as well as a close partner on shared priorities such as counterterrorism, wildlife trafficking, transnational crime, energy security, and conservation of the environment. Right now, the military is running the show because of a coup dating back to May 26, 2014. "I really wanted to join the protest, my parents don't know I am here. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) also recently published its World Report 2020 that takes an in-depth look at events in countries featured in the report that have to do with the protection or violation of human rights. For many years, we were pleased to see Thailand build prosperity and democracy, becoming in many ways a regional success story as well as a close partner on shared priorities such as counterterrorism, wildlife trafficking, transnational crime, energy security, and conservation of the environment. Thailand on its way back to democracy? (Source: World Bank and CIA World Factbook) Thailand is identified as a flawed democracy in 2019, an imporvement from being labeled as a "hybrid regime" in 2018 (Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2019) In Thailand, the monarchy is considered sacrosanct, and therefore calls to reform them are unprecedented. Wanting a fresh kind of politics, young people made their mark on the 2019 elections by turning out to vote for new, progressive, pro-democracy parties. FILE - Pro-democracy activists shout slogans during a protest at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand, Sept. 19, 2020. Thai expats in other countries, like Japan, France and the UK, have also […] Led by people on stage, protesters sang a Thai version of "Do You Hear The People Sing?" Thailand needs a democracy where majority rule is allowed to proceed but where minority interests are also acknowledged. But the King, although very concerned with political fragility, always resolved crises through democratic and constitutional means. Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, a co-leader of the bloodless revolution, inaugurated the monument eight decades ago, declaring it would stand tall to remind Thais of the need to protect democracy. A small but increasingly vocal group is calling for reform of the monarchy -- a radical idea in Thailand, where the powerful royal institution is regarded by many with deity-like reverence. Prayut came in a distant second spot in the poll. The upgrade was obviously due to the long-awaited general election finally being held following the May 2014 military coup.Â. In 1932 the absolute monarchy was disbanded in via military coup. "The election led to improvements in the scores across all five categories of the Democracy Index, but the sharpest increase was recorded for electoral process and pluralism.". Behind closed doors, these two unelected individuals sat and discussed the future of Thailand’s democracy. The first protest was organised just three days after the country’s Election Commission voted to ask the Constitutional Court to dissolve the FFP for alleged campaign finance violations. CNN to Ivory Coast leader: Does that sound like democracy? Since then Thailand has experienced 13 military-backed coups, the latest of which occurred in 2014. FILE - Pro-democracy activists shout slogans during a protest at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand, Sept. 19, 2020. I think, before he announces his resignation as PM, he first have a meeting with the King and probably the King asked him to resign that's why he resigned. While the military-backed ruling coalition promised to restore stability to a nation rocked by decades of coups and political crises, many of the country's young people feel Prayut's government has done little to improve their economic prospects, restore democracy, or build confidence in the people. The song was core anthem of Hong Kong's anti-government protests, which rocked the city for six months in 2019. Thailand is a relatively prosperous nation with strong banks, modern factories, flourishing tourism, a growing middle class and other typical markers of a successful democracy. But there must be a vigilance about violations, I think people won't tolerate it and allow an incident like this to happen again.," he said. For many years, we were pleased to see Thailand build prosperity and democracy, becoming in many ways a regional success story as well as a close partner on shared priorities such as counterterrorism, wildlife trafficking, transnational crime, energy security, and conservation of the environment. Thailand’s democracy has been very fragile and whenever the country was in crisis, the people hoped the monarch would intervene. Thailand. Can polar bears survive the climate crisis? The upgrade was obviously due to the long-awaited general election finally being held following the May 2014 military coup. The question the government must ask itself is what it can do to further improve democracy in the country. Thailand's Pro-Democracy Protesters Warn of Possible Coup Pro-democracy demonstrators in Thailand have held another rally to make fun of their critics and warned of the possibility of a military coup. The Association for Thai Democracy, USA, a US-based non-governmental organization, held a rally in Boston’s Bhumibol Square on Monday. A survey by Thailand’s National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) earlier this month named Future Forward Party (FFP) leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit “the most suitable person” for the post of Prime Minister and his party as the best party to lead the country. However, the grand structure has also come to serve as a reminder of the lack of democracy in Thailand. They also said he could help keep the country at peace. However, the grand structure has also come to serve as a reminder of the lack of democracy in Thailand. Protesters give a three finger salute at a rally at Democracy Monument on August 16, 2020 in Bangkok. An election finally took place in Thailand, signalling the end of military rule but some quarters believe that remnants of military rule still exist. One high school girl attended the protest in her school uniform along with her boyfriend. Thailand is identified as a flawed democracy in 2019, an imporvement from being labeled as a "hybrid regime" in 2018 (Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2019) Democracy in Thailand, are we about to see it coming back? Thailand’s Political Situation and Coup About 23.7 percent supported Prayut, saying he is honest and can help the people. Failing to do so could see more Thais, especially the youth, throwing their support behind Thanathorn and the FFP.Â, 2019, a bad year for human rights in ASEAN, Thai Future Forward Party's leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit (C) greets supporters during a "run against dictatorship" in Bangkok on 12 January, 2020. The success of the ongoing struggle for democracy in Thailand is crucial for securing peace in its southern regions. Chanting "dictatorship must be destroyed" and "democracy shall prosper," protesters demanded authorities stop intimidating those who come out to exercise their democratic rights. Thailand's Pro-Democracy Protesters Warn of Possible Coup Pro-democracy demonstrators in Thailand have held another rally to make fun of their critics and warned of … But they were thwarted in part by a military-drafted constitution that enabled the generals to keep hold of power via the Senate led by an unelected Prime Minister. William Shakespeare among first Britons to receive coronavirus vaccine, CNN gets access to site of Iranian scientist's assassination, From Bethlehem to Rome, see Christmas decorations around the world, Hear Ashton Kutcher's plea to lawmakers on proposed child abuse legislation, General-turned-Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Thailand protest movement puts country's youth on collision course with military-backed establishment. I want Thailand to be (a place) with more freedom of speech. If I told them they would have stopped me. Pro-democracy protests can help bring peace to Thailand’s south. Traditionally, Thai citizens are supposed to stand still to pay respects to the anthem -- played twice daily in public spaces -- and the rule is even stricter in schools. ... means their very existence during the next five years poses an existential threat to the country's already stumbling democracy. The headline cause a stir on social media, like Twitter, which said a "Flawed Democracy" is a serious matter that mush be fixed, not made less important by Bangkok Post's used the… (Thailand) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha started his second term in July showing the same disregard for human rights that characterised the previous five years of military rule. Students and anti-government protesters light up their phones at Democracy Monument on August 16, 2020 in Bangkok. The government is officially a constitutional monarchy similar to the Great Britain. Thailand’s latest constitution set a roadmap for elections, but analysts fear true democracy may never return. Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) It was an act unthinkable in Thailand mere months ago -- an estimated 10,000 anti-government protesters packing Bangkok's Democracy … The sudden transfer of power in 2014 was the. Led by a new generation of students and workers, protests have taken place throughout the country. At its core, Thai-style democracy recognises that democracy is not monolithic but rather pluralistic, where a system of governance need not conform to Western standards of liberal democracy to be democratic and multiple types of democracy can exist. The Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) 2019 Democracy Index – the 12th edition of the index – saw Thailand’s score jump 38 places in the global rankings to become a "flawed democracy" rather than a "hybrid regime". They used gaffer tape to cover the name of their school and to hide their identities. Recognizing the numerous opportunities for and challenges to democracy in Thailand, USAID has committed to working with civil society, the media, and independent agencies to strengthen government transparency and accountability, and bring together citizens and government to build a more fair and just society. Tyrell Haberkorn ▪ October 21, 2020 Pro-democracy protesters give the three-finger salute in Bangkok on October 20, 2020 (Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images) . The country is called "The Kingdom of Thailand", and during non-coup periods we have an elected government. In 1932 the absolute monarchy was disbanded in via military coup. Thousands of protesters in Thailand's capital hit the streets for a second night on Thursday, defying a government emergency decree aimed at quelling pro-democracy … Thai protesters are calling for curbs on the monarchy and changes to the constitution that were brought in under the junta rule. Her boyfriend, who also didn't want to give his name, said, "Our country doesn't belong to just one single group or like-minded people, we should be able to be different and have our own thoughts.". The constitutional monarchy replaced the absolute monarchy after the Revolution of 1932. However, while the NCPO disbanded after the new government took office in July, the constitution protects junta members and anyone acting on the junta’s orders from ever being held accountable for human rights violations committed during military rule.Â, “No redress is available for victims of those rights violations. Protesters also flashed the three-fingered salute from the "Hunger Games" movie franchise, which has become a symbol of defiance against the Thai government since the 2014 military coup. The recent violence comes as Thailand, once a leading example of an emerging democracy in Southeast Asia, tries to persuade the United States, E.U. The law has increasingly been used as a political tool, as ordinary Thai citizens -- as well as the government -- can bring charges on behalf of the King. The monarchy is revered, you have to love it unconditionally.". Thanathorn has been organising protests against the government following what he calls the injustice inflicted on him and his party. Pro-Democracy Protests In Thailand 2 November 9, 2020 in Asia / Current Events / Thailand by Niyati Verma (updated on November 11, 2020 ) In Thailand, a student-let movement calling for political reform of the monarchy has sparked protests across the country, reports say. Pavin, an exiled Thai dissident himself, said Thailand "has long had a tradition of putting the monarchy above everything else. A mass movement for democracy has swept Thailand since July. The first spark for the agitations was lit in June after Wanchalearm Satsaksit, a leader of the pro-democracy movement who was forced to flee from Thailand in 2014, was abducted from a street in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, and has never been seen again. On the frontline of Thailand’s pro-democracy protests a new and unlikely mascot has emerged: a giant, inflatable duck. 'We want a true democracy': students lead Thailand's protest movement This article is more than 3 months old. For Thailand, a large amount of focus was given to the military rule and subsequent general election. I think, before he announces his resignation as PM, he first have a meeting with the King and probably the King asked him to resign that's why he resigned. At schools in Bangkok and southern Thailand on Monday, video posted to social media showed students singing the national anthem while wearing white ribbons and making the three-fingered salute. The so-called Thai-style democracy draws upon traditional values, so-called Thai-ness, demanding loyalty to three core institutions, including nation, religion and monarchy. While no protesters have yet been arrested on charges of lese majeste, at least two protest leaders -- Nampa and Parit Chiwarak, a core leader of the Student Union of Thailand -- were arrested on other charges, before being released. Some dressed in Harry Potter costumes and chanted verses from the popular franchise to dispel dictatorship. Democracy or Else. Impunity for human rights violations continued unabated,” the HRW reported.Â, The human rights group also noted that as the chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) junta, Prayut wielded power from 2014 to 2019 that was unhindered by oversight or accountability. It is a myth in some Thai quarters that democracy is a Western import, unfit for Asian societies like Thailand. These bills need to be passed if elections are to be held this year or in early 2019. The developments offer a ray of hope that democracy in Thailand could be revived after years of repression. Protesters have used the Harry Potter theme at previous rallies, with protest leaders saying it represents the fight to remove the military from politics and protect the peoples' rights and freedoms. In Asia, Thailand is a remarkable example of a ‘managed democracy’ (read: deficient) coping with the pandemic. If the answer to that is to allow more freedoms and to shed the “legacy” the previous military junta left behind, then, the Thai government would be seen as moving in the right direction. Demonstrators are calling for a new election and democratic reforms. Critics still point to its repressive nature. From flash mobs to mock fashion runways, Thailand’s pro-democracy movement is employing creative tactics to drive democratic change throughout the country. The government of Thailand is a unitary government with the country emerging as a modern state after the the founding of the Chakri Dynasty in 1782. Thailand's pro-democracy movement. Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra told the Thai people that he would only resign when the King asks him to do so. Protest organizers Free People, a coalition of student groups, on Sunday called for the end of military coups and an unelected national government. More than 31.2 percent of respondents supported Thanathorn, saying they wanted a new generation to lead the nation. In July, Prime Minister Prayut said he was "worried and concerned about this movement" and warned protesters against violating the monarchy. Thailand’s military government says it wants to hold elections early next year, after the generals cemented their control over the state and its institutions. Thailand is one of South Asia’s troubled democracies, where elected governments have been toppled by military juntas on several occasions since the country became a constitutional monarchy in 1932. Thailand's first election in eight years won't be free or fair, say democracy activists Campaigning for Sunday’s poll marred by crackdown on anti-junta parties and … By Ureerat Wilson, October 21, 2020. UK and EU officials warn a no-deal Brexit is likely, Former Covid-19 success story is now one of hardest-hit countries in region, Inside a Tehran hospital facing Iran's biggest Covid-19 surge, Hear Merkel's plea to Germans amid record Covid-19 death toll, 'It didn't hurt at all': 91-year-old Briton on receiving Covid-19 vaccine, Here's why tens of thousands of Indian farmers are protesting, Saudi Arabia is changing. "I feel for our children, youths and university students and I also share their parents' worries too. Voters had a wide array of parties and candidates from which to choose, and this helped to restore some public confidence in the electoral process and the political system," the EIU said. Democracy. But since then, Thailand's military rulers have been accused of rolling back democracy. Observers say this is a crucial time for Thailand. "It's very radical and could be a turning point," Pavin Chachavalpongpun, associate professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University, said of the calls for royal reform. Thai police patrol an anti-government rally at Democracy Monument on August 16, 2020 in Bangkok. In an ideal liberal democracy, responsible and clean political parties should try to unite the whole society and maximize the interests for all citizens, rather than serving only the interests of certain groups and regions. Thailand's struggling traditional media, Bangkok Post, citing UK's think tank EIU, ran a report with the headline, Thailand now only a flawed democracy. Nampa, a human rights lawyer, was arrested and briefly detained on August 7 on sedition charges relating to an earlier protest he had attended. from "Les Miserables." In the last rally on Wednesday, two men were reportedly shot and critically wounded. "The poor are getting poorer, how can people without enough money afford good education. The importance of democracy lies in the fact, that currently there are 123 democratic nations in a world of 192 countries. Observers are astonished by how young people are … Gen Prayut remains Thailand's prime minister. The Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) 2019 Democracy Index – the 12th edition of the index – saw Thailand’s score jump 38 places in the global rankings to become a "flawed democracy" rather than a "hybrid regime". "The protests in Thailand are historic because this is the first time in Thailand's history that urban demonstrators have demanded such reforms," said Paul Chambers, a lecturer and special adviser at Naresuan University's Center of ASEAN Community Studies. Thailand’s conservative middle classes are now joining populists in a movement against their military-backed system. Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, a co-leader of the bloodless revolution, inaugurated the monument eight decades ago, declaring it would stand tall to remind Thais of the need to protect democracy. Yes, On paper we are a Constitutional Monarchy. Thai overseas have joined the battle for democracy in Thailand. The changes are designed to prevent the main pro-democracy and anti-military party, Pheu Thai, which has won every election this century, from taking power. "The biggest score change in Asia occurred in Thailand, which finally held an election in March 2019, the first since the military coup in May 2014. Pro-democracy demonstrators in Thailand held another rally on Friday, and warned of the possibility of a military coup. It is impossible. They have now unveiled the final draft of a controversial … Thailand has a fraught relationship with democracy. The government still has not repealed all of the rights-violating NCPO orders.”. Yes, Thailand is a democracy, and just like the United Kingdom, it has a Monarch. Protesters make … Many dissidents who had fled to neighbouring countries also disappeared without a trace. (AFP Photo), Digital Media Nusantara @ 2020 All Rights Reserved. “The general election on 24 March, 2019, was held under severe restrictions on civil and political rights. This year, however, the government has faced an unprecedented challenge from a pro-democracy movement spearheaded by young activists. The King has recently returned to Thailand from Germany in order to attend the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej's memorial day on October 13. By 2005, when Thaksin was reelected, again with massive support from the poor, he dominated the country’s political landscape. Thailand has a fraught relationship with democracy. Bangkok, Thailand (CNN)It was an act unthinkable in Thailand mere months ago -- an estimated 10,000 anti-government protesters packing Bangkok's Democracy Monument on Sunday, with some calling for reform of the country's monarchy. Currently the government by which it is operating is loosely a autocratic state. Some observers say the “Thai people’s patience has run out.” Yes, Thailand is a democracy, and just like the United Kingdom, it has a Monarch. Thailand’s conservative military regime holds power through repression and a rigged political system. BANGKOK (AP) — Pro-democracy demonstrators in Thailand, undeterred by arrest warrants and the possibility of violent attacks, held another rally on … Demonstrators are calling for a new election and democratic reforms. The protesters' anger has been fueled by a multitude of what they say are injustices: from the military's continued hold on power, the prolonged coronavirus state of emergency -- which they say is being used to stifle political opposition and free speech -- to a flailing economy that offers them little job prospects, and the disappearance of democracy activists living in exile. Oddly, one factor on the side of the reformers is the behavior of King Vajiralongkorn, who replaced his beloved father in 2016 and has alienated much of the country with his eccentric and autocratic behavior. Based on the report released last week, Thailand was ranked 68th out of 167 countries with an overall score of 6.32 out of 10. 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