The Economist editorial: Thailand close to the brink; compromise needed
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The Economist editorial: Thailand close to the brink; compromise needed

The latest edition of The Economist has an editorial (or in The Economist parlance a leader) in the aftermath of the court decision which effectively removed Yingluck and nine Ministers. Key excerpts:

For all the pretence of due legal process and distaste at Ms Yingluck’s nepotism, this was not an offence that merited the ousting of a prime minister. Instead, the ruling is a measure of quite how far Thailand has fallen, how deeply it is divided and how badly its institutions are broken (see article). Unless Thais step back from the brink, their country risks falling into chaos and anarchy, or outright violence.

Now stalemate beckons. An election is supposed to happen. Ms Yingluck should have had the right to confront her undemocratic royalist foes at the ballot box. But an election is no solution because the opposition will boycott it. Mr Suthep has proposed a “people’s council” of the great and the good, but Thaksinites will rightly see it as a stitch-up designed to keep them out. The irreconcilable differences between the two sides have swallowed up Thailand’s courts, its army and even the monarchy—and left Thailand at the abyss. Investors, having borne years of simmering discontent, are taking fright. Blood has already been spilled this year. The prospects of wider violence are growing as Thaksinite supporters threaten conflict on the streets.

If Thailand is to avoid that catastrophe, both sides must now step back from the brink. The starting point is the devolution of Thailand’s highly centralised system of governance. At the moment only the capital has a democratically elected governor, yet all 76 provinces should also have one—this would not only help a rumbling Muslim insurgency in the south, it would also offer a prize to Mr Suthep, because the winner of the national election would no longer win all the power. In return for this reform, the Democrat Party must pledge to accept election results; and in return for that, the Pheu Thai should run without a Shinawatra at the helm.

BP: In theory, BP agrees, but Suthep and Co want so much more than mere elected governors in each  province that it is going to be hard to bridge the divide. There are also multiple parties to the crisis including some who are legally difficult to talk about which complicates everything further….