Thailand

Military Set to Retain Influence despite Thai Vote

This time round, Thailand’s elections, slated for February 2019, look like they will actually materialize. But can they rescue its troubled democracy? More than four years after the May 2014 coup, the Thai junta has set a new date for elections: February 2019. Although the military government has frequently postponed elections in the past, it […]

Revitalizing Democracy in Asia

How can reform-oriented political leaders utilize the rapid social change in Asia and Oceania for their democratic agenda? This question was at the core of a roundtable on “Next Generation Democracy” in Díli, Timor-Leste. As developing Asia struggles with consolidating their fragile democratic achievements, Timor-Leste is already reckoned by some as democracy’s new poster child […]

© m a c s f via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Tyranny of the Establishment

Asia’s growing middle-income population flexes its political muscle. Yet, reactionaries among them stand in the way of democratization, as recent developments in Thailand and Indonesia have shown. If forecasts are anything to go by, Asia will account for two thirds of the global middle class population in 2030. Whereas investors and businesses already did the math and […]

A royal Thai army soldier © Null0 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A Coup, the Crown, and Two Middle Classes

The man behind Thailand’s twelfth successful coup since 1932 made no mention of the Crown. By declaring martial law, he had already seized a royal prerogative, revealing both, the sorrow state of Thai democracy and the erosion of the monarchy. “I have decided to seize power,” Thailand’s army chief said on May 22, slamming his […]