Supporting the Coup In Thailand?

Very surprisingly, at least for me, a great chunk of the Thai population support the coup in the sense that they believe it will improve politics in the long run; as such the military leaders have promised to hold new general elections within 12 months thus restoring power to the people. Apparently people believe this action plan to come through. The poll cited in the quote below is based on the following interview data ...

'Source: Suan Dusit University
Methodology: Interviews with 2,019 Thai adults, conducted on Sept. 20, 2006. No margin of error was provided.' 


'Many adults in Thailand are satisfied with the recent developments in their country, according to a poll by Suan Dusit University. 84 per cent of respondents agree with the recent military coup, and 75 per cent believe it will improve politics in the Asian nation.

A general election was held on Apr. 2, after prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra of the Thai Love Thais Party - Phak Thai Rak Thai (TRT) decided to dissolve the House of Representatives. The prime minister faced a series of public demonstrations after the Shinawatra and Dhamapong families sold their combined 49.6 per cent shares in the SHIN telecommunications empire to Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, in a transaction estimated at $1.88 billion U.S.'

Angus-Reid Consultants which are also responsible for the article above (not the poll itself) also features a more comprehensive article of the situation in Thailand. The article has the following analysis as to why the Thai apparently are unconcerned with the situation ...

'Several factors can explain the overwhelming support for Sonthi’s actions. The obvious one is that, effective Sept. 19, Thais are simply not allowed to speak their minds. The men in charge have suppressed freedom of speech, "recommending" that people and the media refrain from saying anything that could endanger the process of "democratic reform."

Another reason is that many Thais seem relieved by Tuesday’s events. After four months of political uncertainty, someone stepped up and put an end to this at last. Thaksin had been a troubled prime minister for a long time, not only in the eyes of the Thai people, but also for King Bhumipol Adulyadej. In a country where the monarch enjoys extreme reverence and respect, this amounts to political death.'

The author also sends a warning to the Thai about being too at ease with the current state of things ...

'The generalized calm feeling in Thailand these days is more akin to a widespread state of shock. Thai people should be more concerned about the implications of the current situation. Even the main opposition leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has said he is not too worried about what has happened. The ousted prime minister is in London, where he will remain indefinitely taking a "deserved rest", as he told reporters who saw him shopping in the English capital.

Thailand’s future is now in the hands of a military junta that will supposedly appoint a civilian leader within the next fortnight. According to the generals, a new constitution will be drafted in a year and then there will be an election. Unfortunately, this "simple" plan might result in a giant fiasco. If history is any guide, military rulers tend to get cozy with power. Myanmar and Indonesia, two neighbouring countries, are vivid examples of this quandary.'