Democracy: Thailand in crisis but will it be “Peace Talks” or “Pipe Dreams?”

By Frank, this blog political journalist

A Small Step for Thailand?

It appears that the cloud that have been hanging over Thailand for a long time now, have started to break. Suthep, in charged of Thailand at the moment, had said: “The government is open for talks with Taksin.”

Then the constitution re-draw is gaining traction, and appears on the verge of putting the power back with a more “together” politicians, that will likely mean a more solid Thai political foundation and process.

Skepticism Still Ample:

But many Thais, who have seen talk of peace and reconciliation leading to no-where, continues to be skeptical. Many Thais are saying that UN, ASEAN and internal government bickering, and nothing else is whay the peace talks is being bought up.

The military meanwhile, continues to be involved in Thai politics. And in fact, perhaps, this call for talks with Taksin, is Abhisit’s way of weakening the military chife, Anupong, involvement in politics, that is being done through Nevin of Phum Jai Thai Party.

The military itself, while providing safe guard against political destabilization, it is showing little indication of dis-engagement from politics.

“The system might get to be more conducive to peace and reconciliation, and the politicians may start to negotiate and talk more than fight, but the differences in political philosophy is still significant,” said a Chula lecturer on Thai TV, last night.

A Track Record of Failure:

But politically peace and negotiation had been mostly a pipe dream, up to now. Taksin, leader of the reds, have been calling for peace and negotiation on many occasions, but had received little interest from the government. occasionally, the Democrat Party would indicate a willingness to talk to Taksin, as a way to tame government coalition parties, against going too far in revolting against it.

Underlying that, political philosophy wise, Thailand is in a grip of nationalism and royalism. Taksin is seen by many Thais to be less loyal to Thailand’s highest institution, than many other Royalist groups. And Taksin have been accused of focusing too much on business interest at the expense of nationalism.

Implication of Success:

If peace talks do occur and the constitutional redraw a success, the political process implication is perhaps an election in the near term. Then perhaps, if the current coalition parties continues to revolt, Abhisit of the Democrat, may opt to change his coalition alliance, towards Taksin’s For Thai.

However, unlikely that may be, since the Democrats and For Thais are key long-term competitors, the internal government revolt, is causing serious damages to the Democrat Party. Perhaps enough to the level that it now seeks negotiation with Taksin.

Democrat Party Wins Big:

Politically, if this is not just a move timed associated with the UN and the next ASEAN meet, by Abhisit, to try to marginalize the red movements, and indeed is a changing political foundation, Abhisit and the Democrats have broken through a major road block.

Many accuse and believe that the Democrat  Party is not interested in bringing peace and reconciliation to Thailand, but only in maintaining political power.

Taksin Face New Message:

Politically, Taksin, who control much of E-Sarn and the North, may be faced with a serious political challenge but also an opportunity to re-enter Thai politics more directly. It is yet to be seen however, how far will the peace talks go, if indeed it is serious attempt, since Abhisit have just said in New York, that Taksin must return to Thailand to face jail terms.

The Democrat move on peace talks comes on top of the party solidifying support in the media and business community. Other key political competitor now is Nevin who controls the administrative structure and a great deal of stimulus spending in E-Sarn. Banharn also controls a party that dominates the central plains.

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