Is Thai Democracy Finished?

Is Thai Democracy Finished?

Thursday, 20 February 2014 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Venue: 
Dahrendorf Room, Founder’s Building, St Antony’s College
Speaker(s): 
Giles Ji Ungpakorn
Chair: 
Dr Matthew Walton
Convenor: 
Dr Matthew Walton
Series: 
Southeast Asia Seminar

Following the anti-government protests at the end of the year, where the protesters called for the end of parliamentary democracy and a “new” system of appointed parliaments and appointed governments, the Yingluck government decided to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections in February 2014. Amid this long-running Thai crisis, many people are asking whether Thai democracy is on its last legs. This seminar will attempt to analyse the latest situation and explain the root causes of the crisis. In doing so the idea of a “crisis of succession” will be rejected in favour of an explanation grounded in political economy. Cracks in Thai society, which developed over decades, and were finally exposed in the 1996 Asian economic crisis, are the root cause of why the middle class, the military and the conservative elites dislike parliamentary democracy and former Prime Minister Taksin Shinawat.