The military takeover on May 22nd this year marked the 12th successful coup since 1932 – the year Thailand became a constitutional monarchy. While the military calls its ctions a “democratic coup to bring happiness to the people” and resolve the political crisis, most observers call it a dictatorship that won’t change anything to the better. The evening will hopefully shed some light on those very different perceptions by focusing on the causes and reasons for the coup.
No doubt: Thailand is locked in a political crisis. Rapid economic and societal changes and developments were not followed by the necessary political developments, which are at the root of the political crisis.
By the end of the 90s, it seemed like the power of the military was finally broken, but since the coup in 2006, the military is back as one of the most powerful political actors.
The Bangkok middle class used to be the strongest force for political democratization in Thailand, but today it is ingloriously known for its anti-democratic sentiment and the support of the military coups.
Also in the 90s, a broad societal alliance was calling for political changes, but in the 21st century politics seem to be polarized by two rivalling camps of “Red” vs. “Yellow”.
By the beginning of the 21st century it seemed like Thailand overcame its political crisis, but now – more than ten years later – the crisis is as present as ever.
What went wrong?
The presentation will focus on a variety of aspects including the history since 1932, the changing role of the military as well as the monarchy, the rapid economic and societal changes and Thailand’s role in the world and the region.
Is Thailand an exceptional case as many Thais would argue or are their similar stories from other countries around the world? How does the case Thailand fit into the “global decline of democracy”? What can we learn from the crisis in Thailand and what does the future hold for Thai politics and society? Is there a possibility to overcome the crisis?
All of these questions and many more will be discussed afterwards!
We, the FES university group, are looking forward to seeing you there, to a lively debate and an interesting evening!