Programme Paper

Project: Asia Programme

Marianna Brungs
  • The recent protests in Thailand represent a move beyond the initial 'colour-coded' tension between yellow and red shirts. There is now a sharp divide between the conservative elites who have traditionally governed Thailand and those who view themselves as the underclass.
  • Without early elections and genuine political, social and economic reform, it appears likely that political instability in Thailand will remain. This will have repercussions for the economy and the rest of the region.
  • The international community may be able to play a role in encouraging the reforms needed to resolve Thailand's political divide, if it can manage the delicate balancing act of maintaining good relations with both sides.
  • If the situation continues down the current path, with a unilateral reconciliation process, no fixed date for elections, and little genuine effort to address the grievances of urban and rural poor, there is likely to be a deepened political divide and renewed violence, exacerbated by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's continuing role.