Monday, December 15, 2008

Abhisit's chance in Thailand

Thailand gets a new prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva of the Democrat Party

Thailand's next prime minister will be Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the opposition Democrat Party (DP), according to the results of a parliamentary vote on December 15th. This completes a dramatic makeover of Thailand's political scene in just under a fortnight: the DP will now head a coalition government; the political allies of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra have taken the opposition benches; and the anti-Thaksin People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has called off its street protests. However, anyone hoping that this means Thailand is on the verge of returning to political stability will be disappointed.

The shift in power from pro-Thaksin forces to the DP does not reflect a major change of allegiance by Thai voters. Instead, it represents a return to good old-fashioned politicking. In essence, politicians in a number of minor parties jumped ship to align themselves with the DP because it appears to have the best prospects of holding on to power. In the parliamentary vote Abhisit secured 235 votes out of around 437, enabling him to become the country's fourth prime minister since Thaksin was ousted in September 2006—and the youngest ever at the age of 44. ...


[Source: The Economist: News analysis

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