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Thailand: The Calm before Another Storm?

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If Thailand is to minimise the risk of renewed demonstrations and violence, it needs to ensure that forthcoming elections are free and fair and that a legitimate government is formed without any interference from the elite establishment.

Thailand: The Calm before Another Storm?, the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, states that nearly a year after the crackdown on anti-establishment demonstrations, support for the so-called “Red Shirt” movement remains strong and political reconciliation has led almost nowhere. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has announced that general elections will be held no later than July, but there are rumours that a military coup or another form of subtle intervention could derail the polls.

“While elections are not a magic wand, if installed successfully, the new government will have a fresh mandate and greater credibility to try to bring about genuine political reconciliation”, says Rungrawee Chalermsripinyorat, Crisis Group South East Asia Analyst. “As the stakes are high, the race is likely to be fiercely contested. Domestic, regional, and international monitors and a well-publicised electoral code of conduct could help minimise violence and enhance the credibility of the polls”.

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