Leading article: Thailand should remember Nepal

Share
Related Topics

The scenes of chaos in the Thai capital, Bangkok, where the government has declared a state of emergency after protests forced the cancellation of an Asian summit, will inevitably lead to comparisons being drawn with events in Nepal. There, an embattled royalist government was slowly engulfed by popular protests, culminating in a Maoist revolution and the scrapping of the monarchy.

In Thailand, the monarchy is more popular, while the popular revolt is more fragmented. Nevertheless, comparisons exist. One is that the exiled Thai leader overthrown in 2006 with the palace's blessing, Thaksin Shinawatra, though no Maoist, is certainly a populist who does not shrink from employing the language of class war. As for the object of Mr Thaksin's ire, the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva, its raison d'être is devotion to the royal family. But this has brought Thailand adverse publicity since it took power, as an increasing number of people have become caught up by the laws on lèse- majesté.

Mr Abhisit cannot claim the moral high ground when condemning the mobs whose protests have humiliated him. His democratic legitimacy looks dubious, having gained office on the back of street protests against the election victory in 2008 of a party seen as a front for Mr Thaksin.

Now he is threatened by the same instrument through which he took power. Meanwhile the country languishes, as valuable tourist income dries up. As for the monarchy, the institution that the regime intervened to protect, that is in danger of forfeiting its former popularity.

In hindsight, the palace, army and the urban elite would have been better off trying to cohabit with the crowd-pleasing Mr Thaksin. Now, they don't have that luxury. They can hardly welcome him back, for he would return in triumph as both martyr and dictator.

On the other hand, Mr Abhisit's chances of toughing it out look slimmer by the day. The only way out is new elections in which Thaksin sympathisers this time are allowed to win. The other alternative is the route that Nepal took, towards revolution. Hopefully, Thailand's rulers will reflect on the recent history of the Himalayan (former) kingdom, and compromise in time.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Tony Abbott: A man most Australian women would like to pat on the back...iron in hand

Caroline Garnar
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea performs in California  

Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting

Yomi Adegoke
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there