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Wed, November 29, 2006 : Last updated 11:31 am (Thai local time)

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Home > Politics > Coups part of vicious political cycle

Coups part of vicious political cycle

Rampant corruption usually the root cause of the Kingdom's military seizing power

The honeymoon appears to be over for the interim government of Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont. It is facing the realities of mounting pressure because of high public expectations.

The regime appointed by the coup makers replaced the ousted government of Thaksin Shinawatra, so comparison between the two administrations is inevitable. Even though the current government and new PM are gaining more public support, according to recent opinion surveys, one big stigma remains: they were not elected.

Supporters of Thaksin are trying to find faults with the current government while critics and general political observers are pointing to things it should have done but has yet to accomplish.

Many members of the public are waiting to see the government rectify problems left or created by its immediate predecessor that were cited as reasons for the seizure of power on September 19.

Former politicians are also pushing for lifting of martial law, which has limited political activities.

The Council for National Security (CNS) is feeling the heat too. On November 19, exactly two months after the coup, CNS chairman General Sonthi Boonyaratglin defended himself and the coup-makers against claims they had done too little or acted too late in dealing with Thaksin and his cohorts.

A situation like this is often faced by an administration appointed after a military coup. This group of coup-makers has proved to be more gentle and friendlier than previous ones, which has made it more prone to criticism and protests.

The interim government and the CNS are in a dilemma - they are avoiding getting too tough with critics while trying to make it known to their enemies and sceptics that they are in charge.

While the ruling technocrats and ex-bureaucrats are sorting out the mess left by the ousted politicians, and running the country as smoothly as they can, the politicians unaffected by the coup are busy preparing for the next general election, which is expected to take place some time late next year.

A new elected government can be formed by that time, with a new constitution being put in place.

Before September 19, many observers believed the possibility of a putsch in Thailand was almost zero.

But after the latest coup, no political pundit will rule out with certainty another military take-over.

If the Army happens to stage another coup in Thailand in the future, one could expect that a major reason cited by the coup-makers would be rampant corruption by ruling politicians.

Corruption seems to be the root cause of many problems in our country. It has slowed down our development - economically and politically.

Election, corruption and military coup is a vicious circle in Thai politics. And this will hold true for a long time to come as long as corruption remains rampant.

Kittipong Thavevong

The Nation

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