Thailand’s opposition party restarted their protests in response to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s corruption probe and the annulment of the recent elections by Thailand’s Constitutional Congress. Suthep Thaugsaban, the Thai opposition leader, has vowed to block any attempts at new election.
- 57% think PM Yingluck Shinawatra should be removed from office
- 34% believe King Bhumibol should take a firmer stance on Thai politics
As PM Shinawatra’s corruption trial comes to a close, Yingluck faces possible impeachment for her role in the failed rice-subsidy program. Allegations have also been made that PM Shinawatra is a puppet for her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, who lives in self-imposed exile. While Yingluck has not specifically followed orders from her brother, her political amnesty bill is ostensibly aimed at allowing Thaksin to return to the country.
As part of ongoing coverage of the countries in crisis around the world, 1World asked its Thai members to voice their opinions on the state of the continued political problems in Thailand. While 43 percent of voters believe PM Shinawatra should stay in office, only 23 percent support Yingluck’s political amnesty bill.
Interestingly, the social and political division between the urban and rural populations in Thailand sparked calls for Thailand to separate into two countries, Thailand and Lanna. While only 12% of 1World members believed splitting Thailand into two countries should occur, the deep political divide between the two sectors of the population is not likely to be overcome regardless of who retains control of the country.
Thailand may not be able to solve their problems democratically, and a military coup is still a possibility in the near future. Thailand’s military have successfully carried out coups over 11 times in the past century, with the most recent coup ousting Thaksin Shinawatra’s regime in 2006. Despite the violent nature of military coups, 27% of 1World’s Thai members believe the military should step in to settle the political differences.
If Yingluck Shinawatra is impeached from office, the opposition protesters will see an opening to push for their agenda, which may leave the rural populations out in the dark. However, protests are even more likely to occur if the corruption probe dismisses the charges against Yingluck, posing a potential no-win situation in Thailand’s immediate future.
What do you think about the future of Thailand?