thaksin shinawatra

Thailand long was characterized as the land of smiles: a friendly people, warm climate, and informal atmosphere all beckoned backpackers and businessmen alike. But politics has become less hospitable in recent years.
Analysts say suspicion would inevitably on fall on enemies of the ruling junta beaten in the referendum or insurgents from Muslim-majority provinces in the south of the mostly Buddhist country.
A cartoonish dictator out of a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera runs a not-so funny junta which jails opponents and suppresses free speech. The recent bombing of a popular Hindu shrine in Bangkok should act as the famed fire bell in the night.
As Thailand endures the second year of yet another coup, King Bhumibol Adulyadej is approaching the 70th year of his reign -- and his health is reputedly poor. In this Southeast Asian kingdom of 67 million, the question on everyone's mind is: When the music stops and the world's longest-serving monarch is gone, what -- or who -- will fill the void?
Thailand's best hope is genuine constitutional reform. Government power should be limited, especially to award economic favors. Federalism should rule, giving provinces more authority to serve communities at odds with the national government.
Thailand's capital has lost none of its frenetic motion or relaxed informality. But it is a bit quieter of late, with last year's demonstrators dispersed by the military. However, the junta, which took power in May, is not leaving.
Apart from passionate support for their national sports teams, hatred of government corruption and "crony capitalism" is one of the few issues that unite all social groups in developing countries.
Thailand is, or perhaps was, a leading member of ASEAN, but has become a poor example to follow.
Elite-middle class alliance is deceiving itself if it thinks the adoption of a constitution institutionalizing minority rule will be possible. For Thailand is no longer the Thailand of 20 years ago, where political conflicts were still largely conflicts among elites.
One thing that could make a difference would be if the tourists stopped coming, prompting the exchange rate, foreign exchange reserves, and stock market to fall substantially. Perhaps, if there was enough collective pain, the red and yellow shirts would determine that it is in everyone's interest to find common ground.
Thailand's year of living dangerously may be grinding to a conclusion. But is it moving to another stage -- or just another venue?
Over the past century, Thailand has endured colonial aggression, two world wars and neighboring civil wars on every one of its borders.
The protesters have been rallying since November to try to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whom they view as a proxy
I can't help but think about Jackson here in Bangkok, where pro-government "red shirts" and anti-government "yellow shirts" are clashing, reenacting their own version of "King Mob."
The use of colors to identify the sides in a conflict is certainly nothing new. The U.S. Civil War was a contest between the Union blues and the Confederate grays. The Russian civil war following the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 pitted the Reds against the Whites.
The opposition's animosity towards the incumbent is certainly understandable given Yingluck's government is de facto ruled
Following a month-long return to the memories of my Cold War years of reporting in Southeast Asia, life in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Hong Kong exposed me to an economic revival of these countries that have put the animosities of the past to rest.
Already a fragmented nation, when it comes to bridging its social and economic gulf, Thailand is a country with few ties.
BANGKOK, Thailand -- In a country known for mad dog political rhetoric, Yingluck Shinawatra stands apart. The 44-year-old