Even before the military ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on September 19, Thai democracy was in severe crisis. The country had suffered a succession of elected but do-nothing or exceedingly corrupt regimes. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which for all intents and purposes ran the country with no accountability from 1997 to 2001, further eroded the legitimacy of Thai democracy by imposing a program that brought great hardship to the majority. Thaksin stoked this disaffection with the IMF and the political system to create a majority coalition that allowed him to violate constitutional constraints, infringe on democratic freedoms, and using the state as a mechanism of private capital accumulation.
The military coup in Thailand is the second high-profile collapse of a democracy in the developing world in the last seven years. The first was the coup in Pakistan in October 1999 that brought General Pervez Musharraf to power. There are some disturbing parallels between the two events. Both coups have been popular with the […]
It is almost impossible to imagine, as we sit in a well-lit, fully functioning gas station on Main Street, USA, that a community blessed with oil riches under its soil could look as impoverished as Yenagoa in the Nigerian state of Bayelsa.