Thailand Chaos Caused by Alleged Government Corruption

People-who-want-democracy-gathered-against-the-military-coup-on-May-24-2014-in-Bangkok-Thailand.jpgThere will be no general elections in Thailand until the military feels the tiny Asian Country is ready for reforms and representatives of the estimated 65 million residents show they once again will abide by the ballot.
The army has jailed numerous politicians and activists and silenced the Red Shirt supporters of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother, former Premier Thanksin Shinawatra.
The army also had tried to enforce a ban on criticism of the coup by closing politically affiliated television stations and blocking hundreds of websites.
The country has had 17 constitutions and charters since 1932. Politics has always reigned supreme in Thailand.
The country, totaling only 198,000 square miles and often pictured as a serene resort and ideal tourist location, has been under military rule since May 22. That's when Thailand's army chief Gen. Pravuth Chan-ocha said he had had enough of the bickering among rival factions that had staged six continuous months of anti-government protests.
The protesters maintained the government was thoroughly corrupt with widespread vote-buying a major sore point. The government denied the charges. The military says it now wants to restore order to the country.
However, that scenario is a long way from the January 2001 general election, the first Thai election under the 1997 Constitution. That election was hailed by many as the most open, corruption-free election in Thai history.
The Thai Rak Thai Party, led by Thaksin Shinawatra won the election. The Thaksin government was the first in Thai history to complete a four-year term.
Even more positive events came with the 2005 election. That election had the highest voter turnout in Thai history. The Thai Rak Thai Party won an absolute majority.
But it also had a downside - one that would eventually lead to today's turmoil in the former country once known as Siam. That downside included rampant vote buying and violence at the ballot boxes. The Thai Rak Thai Party couldn't clean up the mess.
Martial law now rules Thailand.  Curfews are in effect but tourists and other visitors to the country are not bothered by either the military or the new tough regulations that bars more than five persons meeting in a group to discuss anything.
International relations with other countries will not be affected. Ambassadors, consulates and international organizations, including foreigners living in Thailand, will be protected by the military.
In the latest happening, a group of politicians loyal to the Shinawatras, has announced forming a movement to resist the military coup, But it is not saying where the new group is meeting outside of Thailand. In Thailand, the group would be banned and arrested immediately.
The group is considering calling itself the Free Thai Movement. That's a name taken by the underground resistance in Thailand against Japanese occupation in World War Two.  Little known to most Americans is that Thailand was a close ally of the United States in that war and covertly allowed U.S. planes to use bases in the country.
Despite efforts by the former government to picture Thailand as a safe haven for global tourists and other visitors, the country,
still maintains and international notoriety among travelers from many countries as a sex tourism destination.
Strange as it may seem to some Westerners, Thailand is considered a constitutional monarchy with a real live king, 86-year-old Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX.
The king is the ninth of the House of Chakri, and has reigned since 1946, making him the world's longest reigning current monarch and the world's longest serving head of state, according to Thai historical sources.
The king nominally is head of the Royal Thai Armed Forces - but in reality the military has always been the power behind the throne, as it has now shown to be once again.

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