Growing Concerns Over Thailand's Ongoing Military Junta
Thailand’s military Junta recently passed its third year in control of the supposedly democratic country. Following the coup in 2014, which unseated the Puea Thai Party, and a questionable court ruling removing the former Prime Minister on charges of malfeasance, the Junta has repeatedly failed to live up to its human rights goals.
The current military appointed Prime Minister, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, and his National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), have ruled with military power, fear, torture, detention, and sweeping laws during that time.
This has been a cause for concern for some time by human rights observers, but those fears have recently been exacerbated.
The junta, which had promised the continuation of democratic processes, announced on October 31st, the Thai nation was not ready for an election yet. He cites disorder and slanderous remarks as the cause.
The Supreme Court of Thailand also recently released the official case file and verdict for the previous PM, Yingluck Shinawatra. The court’s ruling has been considered questionable in the past; releasing the verdict now may be a means of reinforcing the legitimacy of the government.
Despite the junta’s continued governance and use of force, the monarchy of Thailand seems unconcerned. In fact, the new King of Thailand, a fairly powerful political position, seems more concerned with bulwarking his position.
Purges of the government have been carried out since his ascendancy to office, including the recent dismissal of senior official, Grand Chamberlain Distorn Vajarodaya, on November 6th.
It is thought that the new King is attempting to create a more favorable support network as he attempts to assert power domestically. This seems to have come at the cost of moves towards reestablishing democratic rule.
Discontent is not entirely silent though. While the Thai people have not made much protest of the government, as time passes frustrations grow.
A rare protest of the government occurred the day following the mourning day of the previous king. And the Puea Thai Party made a statement calling for the removal of the junta and a chance for elections to occur.
The outcome is unclear though. Previous junta’s have made use of similar tactics as the current regime to delay democratic reform. The future is thus unclear, and it will likely be the will and actions of the Thai people that determines the future of government.