from Asia Unbound

The Demolition of Democracy in Thailand

May 22, 2012

Red shirt protesters hold a picture of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra at a gathering to mark the second anniversary of a government crackdown on red shirt protestors in Bangkok May 19, 2012.
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With the ousting of the military regime in 1992, Thailand emerged as a regional beacon of democracy. The international monitoring organization Freedom House even ranked Thailand a "free" country in its 1999 report—one of only a few Asian countries to receive this designation. Over the past six years, however, democracy has retreated rapidly in Thailand. Today, the imminent return of Thaksin, the current government’s oppressive wielding of the draconian lèse-majesté law, and the deteriorating health of the beloved King, all suggest that this fragile “democracy” may be on the precipice of yet another crisis.

In my new piece for Foreign Policy, I explore the numerous factors that have led to the decline of democracy in Thailand. You can read the piece in its entirety here.