Thailand's comeback kid

YET another Asian country is in the throes of a tussle between a military regime and the nation's political establishment. Thailand has been plunged into greater depths of political uncertainty after unofficial results of the recently concluded elections showed People Power Party (PPP), a reincarnation of Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai, ahead of its rivals, falling a little short of an outright majority. The results have therefore prompted the parties to find ways of patching together coalitions.

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Published: Wed 26 Dec 2007, 8:47 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:52 AM

The first election since the military coup in 2006 has also raised hopes for the return of the deposed prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, a billionaire tycoon, who's in exile in the UK. During the run-up to the elections, PPP made it quite clear that if it won the elections, Shinawatra could stage a possible comeback. Shinawatra enjoys huge popularity among the rural poor who were apparently hard hit after the coup.

Coup leaders have kept their promise of holding elections in the country that has been fluctuating between miliatry dictatorships and weak civilian rules over the past few decades. But unlike, say, his Pakistani counterpart, Benazir Bhutto, Thaksin, has not been allowed to take part in the polls. The former Thai prime minister, who has bought the Manchester City football club in the UK, has been charged by the military with massive corruption and abuses of power, which served as the justification for the coup.

But with Thaksin himself hinting at a possible comeback and the PPP vowing to rescind all sanctions on the deposed leader, the military regime is likely to find itself in a tight corner. If it has the country's interests in mind, then it shouldn't opt for another coup. As it has been witnessed in several Asian countries, the military's noble intentions to rid their nations of corrupt leaders have only served to bring about more uncertainties for the people.

It is hoped that the military regime in Thailand will further facilitate democratic rule, be it under a Thaksin-led coalition or the Democratic Party alliance backed by the urban elite and the monarchy.

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