The Stimson Center’s Senior Associate on Southeast Asia, Richard Cronin, discusses the recent Thai coup and the impact on the region. Cronin also touches on the common forces present in Thailand and other parts of the Southeast Asia region.
The declaration of martial law by Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha on May 20, which some called a “75 percent coup” became a full coup on May 22, including the suspension of the law, the arrest of some leading political figures, and media censorship. General Prayuth created and assumed command of a Peace and Order Maintaining Command (POMC). He suspended the constitution except those parts concerning the Monarchy. The coup, which followed six months of increasing demonstrations and violence, has deeper roots in a seemingly unresolvable conflict between the two largest political blocks, the “Red Shirts” supporting former prime minister Taksin Shinawatra and the “Yellow Shirts,” composed of the Democratic Party and associated “Bangkok elites”, which was badly defeated in a 2011 national election.
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