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A Return to Democracy in Thailand – The Post-Coup Elections of December 2007 as a Clash of Elites

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  • Marco Buente

Abstract

Thailand’s first post-coup election on 23 December 2007 saw the restoration of Thai democracy. Yet, the Thai democracy with the king as head of state remains a fragile entity. Behind the surface, a serious elite conflict is simmering. The military remains a powerful force, and recent developments have strengthened Thaksin’s forces. This article analyses the developments occurring between the military coup in September 2006 and the formation of the new government in January 2008 as a clash of elites. The political divide between these main elites shapes the ongoing conflict: on the one hand we find the old elite of the military and business, allied with the network monarchy; on the other hand we find the rural masses and Thaksin, Thailand’s richest man and representative of big business interests. Although the military has tried to shape the current political system, the new constitution and the new election framework, the recent elections were won by the Thaksin camp.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Buente, 2008. "A Return to Democracy in Thailand – The Post-Coup Elections of December 2007 as a Clash of Elites," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 27(1), pages 85-100.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:soaktu:v:27:y:2008:i:1:p:85-100
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