Andrew Marshall* in Time:
Sonthi Boonyaratglin must have armor-plated gonads. How else to explain it? Five years ago, as an army general, he led a military coup that overthrew Thailand’s then Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. Now retired and running in the country’s July 3 parliamentary election, he presents the coup as a brave and selfless act. “I’m glad we did it,” says Sonthi, who commands his Matubhum Party from a spartan Bangkok office. “If we hadn’t, Thailand might no longer be a democracy.”
Sonthi’s presence — a coup general running as democracy’s savior — in this critical election shows just how dysfunctional Thailand’s politics have become. Thais hope to elect a government with the authority to end years of political unrest, which culminated in May last year with the deaths of at least 90 people during the antigovernment Red Shirt protests in Bangkok. But peace seems unlikely. Once a democratic trailblazer in an authoritarian region, Thailand has become a political basket case.
BP: Indeed, we need war to have peace. Can Thailand move past the political crisis? A deal is always a possibility
*Not Zen Journalist – there are two Andrew Marshalls who write about Thai politics…