Thailand: The Power On The Throne


October 12, 2006: The generals have appointed a new government, including prime minister, cabinet and members of parliament. The appointed parliament is full of military officers, retired government officials and college professors. A new constitution is to be created, and elections held in 12 months. The generals still have veto power over government decisions, as does the king. In fact, the king, and his closest advisors, are seen as the ultimate power in this unelected government. The former prime minister apparently did not show sufficient respect for his majesty, and this is the result. The king is much respected throughout the country, for he rarely intervenes in the government, and then usually when some intervention is needed.
October 11, 2006: Martial law has been extended for another month. It was supposed to end this week, but the generals fear trouble from those who oppose military takeovers. The killings continue in the Moslem south, despite talk of peace negotiations.
October 9, 2006: The government is simultaneously hunting down radical religious leaders in the south, believed responsible for most of the violence down there, and opening negotiations with less violent separatist leaders. This latter group is willing to give up their separatist demands in return for amnesty, economic investment and more autonomy (like teaching Malay, rather than Thai, in the schools.)
October 6, 2006: The head of the army, a Moslem, has contacted some of the rebel factions in the south, and arranged peace talks. However, some rebels want members of the previous government to be tried as "war criminals," and the three Moslem provinces in south to be given autonomy, or independence. The problem is that the rebel factions don't agree with each other, and this will come out vividly during talks, as yet unscheduled, with the government. Meanwhile, the violence continues down south.




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