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The Prime Minister just dissolved parliament as the protests which enjoyed a slight hiatus due to some sort of royal holiday have returned in force.

The opposition loses every time at the ballot box so the prime minister's offer to hold elections isn't what they are looking for.

The country is roughly divided between the poor and rural and the middle and upper classes. Poor is red colored and the middle class urban types are yellow, in the color scheme of things. I've forgotten which ones call themselves the Democracy party.

So far things are decidedly non violent, but I don't see what the end game is. One party wants power and they can not get it democratically. I guess the army will decide. Bear in mind, the yellows are Royalists and they still believe in the King being a godlike figure.Oh, and the King is alive as he made an appearance over the holidays, no word on whether he spoke or moved. He is very old.
http://www.nytimes.com/...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:14:51 PM PST

  •  Yellow and Blue and Red, Oh my.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, on the cusp, corvo

    Hmm... let's see here.

    "Some sort of Royal Holiday" would be the Kings birthday. A rather key figure in Thai politics who is still regarded by all sides almost as a god. There is a another holiday tomorrow. Constitution Day. Pretty clear that the protesters were leading up to Constitution Day as a key date.

    Correct that the opposition "Democratic Party' no longer has the votes to win. But important to mention that this is due to the way the seats are allocated. The rural communities have more votes and the 'Red Shirts' policies and platforms are directed squarely at giving them more power and more say in national politics. The Red Shirts make promises to give more support, infrastructure and benefits to the rural areas. The Democratic Party, with most of its voters in the major cities, calls the Red Shirts policies vote buying.

    The use of colours is interesting. The current government uses red, while the opposition Democrats use blue. Yellow however is the colour of the King and although the Democrats try to adopt it as well, you sometimes see yellow being worn by red shirts too.

    It has not be non-violent. There have been several deaths in the last week along with 100's of arrests.

    The king did make a statement, but nothing that would indicate he was taking one side or the other. He called for 'unity'.

    The source of all this of course is the former PM who was ousted in a military coup and is now in sell-exile in the Middle East. A brilliant politician who, despite being a multimillionaire, was able to connect with the rural and poor and create a voting block that was unstoppable. In the elections following the coup his party (in a new form) was returned to power with his sister as PM. She has been accused of either working as his puppet, or working to bring him back- most recently with a bill to give amnesty to all political charges from both sides. Effectively allowing the former PM to return safely and take power.

    The current protest is lead by a former Dep. PM, himself facing charges, who is demanded a unelected 'peoples government' to take power... with himself in charge of course.

    One of his first actions should he get in power would likely be to change the constitution and ensure that the rural and poor get less votes. This was actually proposed before with an appointed privy council having all the real power and the elected officials with allocated seats and little power.

    What we all wait on now is one of three things.

    1. The red shirt supporters again organize and march on Bangkok. You think 100,000 is a lot of protesters? If the Red Shirts come again it will be 500,000 or more. This seems less likely than before since some are uncomfortable with the current PM and her connection to her brother.  

    2. The military takes over (again). This is actually pretty common in Thailand, and the most likely result. But it would only be a temporary.

    3. The King makes a stand. Unlikley, but if the King were to strongly back one side or the other- that would be the end of it.  

    Some local news Here

     

    Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects. Lester B. Pearson

    by TwoSolitudes on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 01:05:16 AM PST

    •  the deaths have been from the two factions (0+ / 0-)

      not the police. I think most observers would call it non violent when the police don't let loose with automatic weapons or just start shooting people.

      Which royal holiday doesn't matter so much, there are many.

      I can't think of an elections the Red Shirts have lost in a long long time. They can be ousted easily in a coup but I think as long as they can vote they will win.

      My opine... until they lose the monarchy they can't enter the twentieth century, politically.

      “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

      by ban nock on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 05:23:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It matters (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock, corvo

        The King is god. The other holidays are the unimportant ones. That's what they had to take the break in protesting. They didn't need a rest, they just could not be seen to be using the King's Birthday as a protest day.

        Does it matter who killed who? If people die it is violent. And the police have been using tear gas and other 'crowd control' methods. It's not far from that...

        The king is 86 and in very very bad health. His heir is pretty much hated in Thailand without any of the 'godly' image of his dad. His reputation is as an out of touch playboy interested only in money and girls (and his pet dog). The monarchy is not going anywhere, but the next ruler will be in for a chaotic time. Hard to see the next King operating without support with one side or the other. If you are not considered a god- then what power do you really have without $$$$$ and the army. And you can only use the army so many times...

        So long as there is one representative vote per person the Red Shirts will win elections- that is why the Democrats are trying to change the rules. They will look to gerrymander districts, create non-eleted star chambers, demand military coups, or whatever else they have to do make the votes meaningless. The Democrats are fighting to end Democracy in Thailand. While the "Red Shirts" are determined to make every vote count.

        How ionic is that?

        Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects. Lester B. Pearson

        by TwoSolitudes on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 05:50:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  good sumation of the whole thing in Foreign (0+ / 0-)

          Policy. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/...

          I think there are some DKers who live in the land of smiles.

          “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

          by ban nock on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 06:09:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Land of Smiles (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ban nock

            I have been here 3 years. A few of the protest start points were right by my office- though I am fortunately far away from the government buildings.

            It's a wonderful place, even with the politics. But not a great place to be right now. I just hope they don't shut down the airport before I can get away for Christmas...

            Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects. Lester B. Pearson

            by TwoSolitudes on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 08:51:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I was there. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo

      4 killed.
      The King had an uncomfortable 10 second pause in his speech.  He is in very poor health.
      According to my local Thai guide, the PM uses Skype so her brother is "there" in all government meetings.  
      The big protest ends today, one way or the other.
      I agree the military will step in if the protest is big.

    •  Do the rural poor have disproportionally more (0+ / 0-)

      voting power with respect to their population size?

      •  No (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think so. It seems to me that before the 'Red Shirts' the poor and rural population just were not really engaged so much in politics. The former PM tapped into that potential and was able use populism politics to get them to the polls and him into power. Smart guy.

        But I am not a native so others may know better.

        Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects. Lester B. Pearson

        by TwoSolitudes on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 08:54:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thailand's protesters should go eat shit. (0+ / 0-)

    When your agenda is the replacement of democracy with an unelected council made up of you and your friends, you shouldn't expect much sympathy.  

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 05:45:43 AM PST

    •  Crudely put, but true. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo

      Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects. Lester B. Pearson

      by TwoSolitudes on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 06:05:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rich in PA

      Thaksin is massively corrupt, but if his sister is his handpuppet, then she sure behaves with a lot more decorum and tact than he ever did.  And besides, an elected government is an elected government and should be given the chance to operate until replaced by democratic means -- except in the most extreme cases, and this ain't one of them.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 06:24:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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