Thailand: A Kingdom in Crisis
In May 2014, Thailand underwent its 12th successful military coup since the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in 1932. This time, there has been no promise of a quick return to civilian rule; a spokesperson for the National Council of Peace and Order has stated that in Thailand’s current situation, normal democratic principles cannot be applied. In August, King Bhumibol officially endorsed General Prayuth Chan-ocha as the country’s Prime Minister.
As the country’s plans for political reform begin to take shape, we will be discussing the normalisation of coups in Thailand, the problematic issue of the country’s ageing king and the perennial conflict between the Thai elite and the rural majority.
We will be joined by a panel of experts to examine the root causes of Thailand’s ongoing political crisis and what actions, if any, can be taken to resolve it.
Chaired by Simon Baptist, chief economist and Asia Regional Director at the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Andrew MacGregor Marshall is a journalist, political risk consultant and corporate investigator, focusing mainly on Southeast Asia. He spent 17 years as a correspondent for Reuters, covering amongst others conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and political upheaval in Thailand. He is author of A Kingdom in Crisis.
Claudio Sopranzetti is a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford University All Souls College and the author of Red Journeys: Inside the Thai Red-Shirt Movement.
Eugénie Mérieau is a lecturer in political sciences and law at the University of Sciences-Po in Paris. She is also a political columnist for TV and print media. She recently published The Red-Shirts of Thailand.
Junya ‘Lek’ Yimprasert (via Skype) is a Thai labour rights activist who writes about exploitation at the bottom of supply chains. After the crackdown by military forces in Bangkok in May 2010 she wrote Why I don’t love the King and was charged with lès majesté. She is now a political refugee in Europe, she continues to denounce openly the military junta and interference of Monarchy in political life in Thailand.