Thai protesters, far from power, claim authority over government

  • Article by: GRANT PECK , Associated Press
  • Updated: December 10, 2013 - 11:50 AM

BANGKOK — The head of Thailand's protest movement on Tuesday extended his extraordinary claims to holding power over government activities, issuing orders to officials over whom he has no legal or actual authority.

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owatonnabillDec. 8, 1310:04 AM

Nothing is as it seems in Thailand. In the first place, Thailand is not nor never has been a true democracy: the monarchy under King Bhumibol Adulyade is and remains the real power in Thailand and this "Democrat" party is anything but. They are royalists and their ultimate goal is that the King (or his successor, as the King is nearly 90 and in poor health), supported by the aristocracy, be the real power in the country. The King's and the aristocrats' aims pretty much coincide: they control just about the entire economic and financial base of the country and they'd prefer that things remain that way. Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Prime Minister, was the only Prime Minister ever RE-elected in Thailand and his agenda, which helped the poor and the lower classes, was seen as a direct threat to the power of the King the aristocrats because so many rank-and-file Thais benefitted. Thaksin was ousted, his party, the Thai Rak Thai (or "Thais for Thais") party was declared illegal, a new Constitution was written (which happens quite often over there) and new elections were held. Unfortunately, from the aristocrats' point of view, all too many of the candidates were supported by former Thai Rak Thai members and though many of the faces changed after the election, the situation didn't. The more-or-less constant struggle following Thaksin's ouster has split the country: the Redshirts (supports of the former Thai Rak Thai party and for true Democracy in Thailand) are opposed by the Yellowshirts (the "Democrat" party, or the Royalists), and there have been a series of bloody clashes over the recent years. Though the Royalists do not control the government to the extent that they'd like to, they DO control the military and thus have been able to maintain their hold on Thailand. This latest issue, that of the "Democrat" party's mass resignation, is a move designed to force the government into positions more favorable to them and to the royal successor they favor, by claiming that several processes engaged in by the elected government are unconstitutional , thus (according to the Royalists) rendering the current elected government illegitimate and in need of replacement. The processes of true democracy are anathema to the Royalists and they will do anything to prevent them from happening.

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