Prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was unpopular in the south, because of the initial use of force when Islamic terrorism appeared two years ago. The government has since switched to a kinder and gentler approach, and a new prime minister could capitalize on that. But the basic problems of ethnic and religious difference, poverty and government corruption remain.
April 4, 2006: Rather than see continued violence in the capital, prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra resigned. He was brought down by middle class reformers demanding clean government. Thaksin was efficient, but old school, and comfortable with cutting deals that were, basically, corrupt. Thaksin resigned, but is not gone from politics. The reformers are having a hard time finding politicians who are competent, and clean.
April 3, 2006: In the south, a teacher was arrested and charged with planning terrorist attacks. Elsewhere, two Moslem officials were shot dead, apparently as part of a campaign to discourage Moslems from serving in the government.
April 2, 2006: While the prime minister's party won a majority of the seats in parliament, some ten million Thais did not vote, showing the extent of the opposition. The street demonstrations are to continue.
April 1, 2006: In the south, two policemen were shot dead, and two soldiers wounded by a bomb. The violence flares up every few days, and the tension is felt throughout the Moslem south.