Editorial: Latest Thai Coup an Attack on Democracy

By : Jakarta Globe | on 9:34 PM May 22, 2014
Category : Opinion, Editorial

The Thai military has staged a coup in what they say is a necessary step to “restore order” following months of violent stand-off between pro-government supporters and groups opposing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The coup, which was staged days after the court told Yingluck to step down over allegations of abuse of power, is not unusual for Thailand. After all, this is the 12th since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932. And with an additional seven attempted and failed coups in that time, Thailand can be described as a country that is susceptible to military takeovers.

General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, the leader of the coup, justified his actions by citing a 1914 law that he said gave the military the right to restore order by overthrowing the government.  Many believe the coup is necessary to solve conflict between the two camps, and that it’s acceptable because just like in the past the military ultimately will return power to the civilians.

However, we believe a coup is a coup. It’s against all democratic values and has damaged Thailand’s democratic process.

Nothing is fine with a coup because it will have a real impact on Thailand’s economic, social and political progress over the years and it will not solve the present political impasse.

The division between Thaksin Shinawatra’s rural heartland in the north and north-east of the country and the urban, largely Bangkok-based elite who are backed by figures close to the royal family, is too fractious to be healed by a coup.

We call on the Thai military to hold fire and prevent more bloodshed. There is only one way to solve the differences between the two groups and that is by dialogue. We call on both sides to sit down around a table and start talking for the good of the Thai people.

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