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2014年5月25日 (日)

タイクーデター 軍の全権掌握に正統性はない

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:23 pm, May 24, 2014
Thai military's takeover of country cannot be justified in any way
タイクーデター 軍の全権掌握に正統性はない

Thailand’s military has staged a coup amid prolonged political turmoil, making the nation’s political prospects even more uncertain.

Thai Army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha announced Thursday that the military had taken full control of the nation, declaring a coup following Tuesday’s imposition of martial law.

With the collapse earlier this month of the government supporting former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council, which primarily comprises military leaders, will be in charge of running the nation for the time being. Prayuth will assume the post of acting prime minister.

It was a drastic change of government in line with the stance of the anti-Thaksin camp, which had been calling on the administration to resign.

This is the first coup since 2006, when Thaksin, who had been under fire for allegedly amassing a fortune illegally, was ousted as prime minister.

Thailand has a history of attempting to end political turmoil by military coups. This coup was probably staged as a military attempt to end the confusion, given the abnormal situation in which the prime minister was sacked while the lower house of parliament had been dissolved.

The military is thought to be aiming to put the nation on a path to stability before transferring power to civilian control.

Whatever its reason may be, ignoring democratic procedures and toppling the government by force should never be condoned.

Military lacks legitimacy

Even though it has seized full power, the military clearly lacks legitimacy. It is suppressing human rights by imposing a nighttime curfew and restricting the freedom to assemble.

It was appropriate for Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to express regret and say, “We strongly urge [Thailand] to swiftly restore a democratic political regime.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also sharply criticized the Thai military, saying he was “disappointed” by its decision.

The military should now find a way to realize political stability through persistent dialogue with various political camps.

The faction supporting Thaksin has been calling for an election under the current electoral system, which would put the pro-Thaksin camp at an advantage, while the anti-Thaksin camp has been demanding that electoral system reforms be given priority. Under such circumstances, it is no easy task to reach a conclusion that pleases every party concerned, including the military.

Of concern is the possibility that Thaksin supporters will stage demonstrations and clash with the military, leading to a situation similar to the armed suppression of Thaksin supporters by the military in 2010, which resulted in more than 90 fatalities. Both sides must exercise self-restraint and not repeat such a tragedy.

It is difficult to fathom the consequences that the political imbroglio will have on the Thai economy. Indicators clearly show the Thai economy is already slowing, due mainly to sluggish consumer spending. The government’s failure to function effectively has already hindered budget compilation and the approval of large-scale investments.

The military should take it to heart that foreign investors, including Japanese companies, regard the nation’s political climate with its repeated coups as a risk factor for investing in Thailand.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 24, 2014)


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