An Indian perspective on the election

11 07 2011

The headline at the Gateway House website of the Indian Council on Global Relations is bound to be controversial: Thailand: Democracy in, Monarchy out. This is followed by a more detailed statement attributed to Neelam Deo, the Director at Gateway House and a former Indian Ambassador and consul general: “Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of formerly deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has been elected to power. Yingluck’s win marks a move towards a move democratic Thailand and possibly the end of the Thai monarchy.” PPT has added the emphasis.

PPT hasn’t seen such a claim anywhere else. Gateway House is “a foreign policy think-tank established in 2009, to engage India’s leading corporations and individuals in debate and scholarship on India’s foreign policy and its role in global affairs.”

Author Deo adds: “The very fact that rural Thailand –which constitutes the support base of the Shinawatras – was steadfast in its support to them for the last five years, implies that the old loyalty to the monarch has been supplanted by more modern and democratic aspirations. This includes intangibles like freedom of expression – still curbed by Thailand’s draconian lèse-majesté laws, used freely to scotch any challenge to the established dispensation.”

And a word of caution is introduced: “The increasingly anachronistic monarchy may be on its way out, but Thaksin-style politics won’t be a panacea either.” Further, “this election shows that the national pie, incomes and assets will have to be divided differently if political peace is to prevail.”

It is worth reading in full.

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