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Interview: Expert predicts more turmoil in Thailand's political deadlock

English.news.cn   2013-12-03 20:25:41            

by Zhang Chunxiao, Li Li and Ming Dajun

BANGKOK, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Thailand has reached a political dead end and expects more turmoil, street protests and confrontations, associate professor Thitinan Pongsudhirak from Bangkok-based Chulalongkorn University told Xinhua Tuesday.

Anti-government protestors, now led by former Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban, will have to take a pause before the king's birthday, which falls on Dec. 5, but they could come back, said Thitinan, who is also director of the university's Institute of Security and International Studies.

If Suthep successfully ousts Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the country will see serious turmoil in the short term as pro- government red shirts will come back to the streets in opposition, as they did in 2009 and 2010, Thitinan noted.

But if he fails and Yingluck survives, it will be difficult for the government to get anything done and maintain any policy momentum, he added.

He suggested that Yingluck return the mandate to people with an earlier election sometime in the third year of her four-year term, and let people decide about their own future.

"If Suthep succeeds, we will have a lot more trouble in Thailand; if Yingluck survives, we will also have problems but they can be managed with the return of the mandate to the people," the associate professor said.

As protests escalated over the past days, the alternative of a military coup has also come into the picture, but Thitinan called it "unsustainable."

There are many problems with a military coup, including massive protests by the red shirts and international condemnation, he said, adding that the military will have a difficult time forming a government and making a transition.

According to Thitinan, the best way under the circumstances for Thailand to find a way ahead is "to have alternative parties for people to go to."

"Now we have chance and space for third parties to emerge to break the deadlock," he said, adding without that, there will be no trust in Thailand's electoral system.

But he did not elaborate on how third parties may be formed. As the country's history has shown, possibility remains of Pheu Thai Party and Democrat Party giving themselves a makeover and forming proxy third parties.

Thitinan said solutions have to be found within the country's electoral system. He urged the ruling Pheu Thai Party to cater and listen more to the minority and Democrat Party to overhaul its leadership and management.

"It's very difficult work. But the alternative doesn't work. Because the electoral system, despite all its flaws, allows the majority of Thai people to have a voice, to choose their own representatives," Thitinan said.

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