Mass Movement in Thai Politics During the Period of 2001-2018

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Somboon Suksamran, et. al.


Political changes in Thai politics in 2011-2018 experienced of mass movements played popular participation in shaping the mode of Thai governments. The general election 2001 enabled the Thai Rak Thai Party led by Thaksin Shinawat to form the government with populism policies and program. The populism policies pleased and hit the heart of the North and Northeast people who constitutes the biggest number of Thai population. The government pursued and implemented its populism policies so impressive that the mass of these two regions returned this party to the government in the general elections 2005 with the great majority. The government wielded its power without discretion. Cronyism, corruption and abuse of power had been spread out. The opposition within and outside the parliament were deprived of opportunities in business and political arena. As a consequence, there emerged mass movements in opposition against the government. The most forceful one was the People’s alliance for Democracy (PAD). Its movements and campaigns were so effective and powerful that they were suppressed by forces. In many incidents claimed lives and injured of the protesters. So much that the military interrupted and eventually, seized power, on September 2005 Thaksin went in exile. The military government called for the general election in January 2008. The election returned the old group to the power. The new government was a short life. A new Prime Minister who was the brother in law of Thaksin replaced the outgoing. But he had to confront with the P.A.D to extent that he could never enter the government Hour. He eventually was convinced by the court for violation of law. He was ousted and his political party was branded. The new government led by potency opinion, Democrat, replace the old power. It was unacceptable by supporters of the old government. They organized mass movement to protest and demanded the resignation of Democrat government. Unlike the P.A.D. the new mass movement which called themselves The United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UFDAD) vowed to protect Thaksin system and against dictatorship, employed violence for change. The Democrat dissolved the parliament and called for a new general election on December 2011. The election returned the “Thaksin System” to the government with absolute majority. The new government under the leadership of Yingluck, Thaksin’s sister continued even more risky populism policy that could put economy of the country into jeopardy. While the PAD lowers its profile, new mass movement under the name People’s Democratic Reform committee with the King as Head of State launched a serried of campaign against the government and vowed to do away with “Thaksin System”. PDRC mobilized millions of people on the streets and called the members in provinces vigorously opposed against the government. The history repeated, the military let by Prayut Chan-ocha stage the coup d'état on July 7, 2014. It concluded that the military and Thai polities are un separable

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