20 Sep 2006

A new government

Thailand's military coup declared martial law just last night. According to the full statement, the army chief Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin said the reason of doing so is to
"control and rectify the situation and bring normalcy to the country and quickly restore the people's unity."
He further said
"(the group) has no intention to become the administrator of the country itself ... it will return the democratic administrative power with the king as the head of state to the Thai people as soon as possible ... (the group) has pledged to maintain peace and order and preserve the stability of the beloved nation of the Thai people."
In this statement, the leader of the coup explained the mismanagement of the current government resulted in this extreme action, and they were forced to take this action. He claimed they were in fact acting in accordance with the wishes of the Thai people. This extreme action, according to the army chief, will stop when the new prime minister is appointed and the new permanent constitution is written.

The current prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been involved in corruption since this January. There are harsh criticism on his failure to stop Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand and his control over the media. All have made him the main target for his opposite party and most Thai people. In April this year, most Thai people walked on the street to protest that Thaksin is no longer qualified for the position of prime minister. Though he promised to step down, he resumed his position after a short period of time.

The political situation in Thailand is in fact quite similar to the one in Taiwan now. However, I must say that Thailand and Taiwan are different, and I do not support military coup d'état. I believe that a democratic country should have an appropriate measure to discharge the power of the disqualified head of state. This disqualified head of state should accept the criticism from the public and consider the best for her/his country. When the public says that they do not have the confidence in her/his ability to manage the country and walk on the street to pretest against her/his leadership, she/he must immediately take good actions to solve the problem. The solution, in my opinion, includes resignation and the reform of the congress. Only by taking good actions that the democracy of the country could be maintained. After all, democracy is what we have gone so far to fight for.

In terms of the case in Thailand, the situation is not out of control, and we have seen the intention of maintaining a peaceful and nonviolent coup. I believe the reason why peace could be maintained in this coup is the intangible power of the king. The king of Thailand is a supporter of democracy, and because of his good deeds, he receives great love, respect and support from his people. Though the king of Thailand seems not to have real political power (royal powers), the image of him symbolizes the true national identity. We can see this through the celebrations in June this year. Every woman and man wore yellow T-shirts to celebrate the king's 60th anniversary of his accession to the throne. This immense popularity has made him the true leader of the country. We have also seen his influence in the 1992 crisis. He intervened in this crisis so as to keep the democratic progression of the country. The same goes with this time, the coup leaders pledged their loyalty to the king right after they declared the martial law and announced their intention for a new parliament. Later on, the king endorsed the coup that gives the coup its legitimacy. The king has taken his action to stop further dispute and keep the country from military dictatorship. Though this political crisis is still in process, at least, what we have seen here is a nonviolent one that is well received by most Thai people.

Of course the use of military power to overthrow a corrupted government is quick and powerful, but it is dangerous when we do not have a leader that gains absolute respect from both the military and the public. It is very likely that a coup would lead to a military dictatorship which we can see from certain African states or Latin American countries. This is not the result that we want. When democracy is practiced in the country, every action and decision should be carried out under the constitution. Can we take the same action as Thailand did? I guess the answer is 'No'. We do not have a king, and we do not have a person who gains such power like the king of Thailand, either. Moreover, we have gone so far to establish a democratic system, so we should use the power the constitution gave to the congress to solve this political crisis. I don't support coup, and I don't think a coup would ever happen in Taiwan. I can only hope that the disqualified head of state can think of the best for the country and resign. In the meantime, the congress should take good actions to stop his mismanagement of the country, and the supreme court should carry on all required investigations on his frauds. Coup should not be encouraged in Taiwan. I believe we can overthrow this corrupted government through democratic measures.

No comments:

Post a Comment