Thai coup worries regional press



Thai coup worries regional press



Thai soldiers guard an intersection in Bangkok

Thais have been returning to work

Papers across South East Asia condemn the military coup in Thailand, calling it unconstitutional and a “tragedy for democracy”.

There is widespread hope that the coup’s leader, Gen Sonthi
Boonyaratglin, will keep his promise to restore democracy within twelve
months.

Some papers believe the events in Bangkok reflect badly on the
region, with one saying it demonstrates the “fragility of democratic
life in Asia”.

HONG KONG’S SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

The Thai military’s coup d’etat is unconstitutional and
undemocratic, no matter how objectionable some of the policies of Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra may have been. Thailand’s political
evolution has been damaged, and repairs can only begin by restoring the
rights and freedoms of the nation’s people through a prompt return to
democracy.

HONG KONG’S APPLE DAILY

The coup is a tragedy for democracy. This is especially so in this
democratic wilderness of Asia. Any democratic crisis may turn into a
pretext against democracy; and each step backwards for democracy will
make the future in Asia gloomier.

INDONESIA’S KOMPAS

The coup in Thailand has further demonstrated the fragility of
democratic life in Asia in general and in South East Asia in particular.

INDONESIA’S SUARA KARYA

Even though Indonesia and Thailand face similar problems, we can
never accept the solution offered by the Thai military, no matter what
the reason is. Perhaps the people of Thailand have become accustomed to
such a model, but it is not for us Indonesians. We have agreed to adopt
a democratic approach.

MALAYSIA’S NEW STRAITS TIMES

Whatever the motives of the coup leaders, this power grab needs to
be condemned. What’s happening in Thailand is a step backwards. It is
bad for the image of Thailand, and it is bad too for the image of the
countries of the region.

MALAYSIA’S NANYANG SIANG PAU

Thaksin no doubt made the domestic political situation unstable
because of his alleged corrupt behaviour, but he is still a popularly
elected national leader. If he is to be toppled, the force of democracy
should be used to reject his leadership in a general election,
otherwise, the rule of law should be used to punish him.

MALAYSIA’S BERITA HARIAN

Malaysia and ASEAN countries hope that political change in Thailand
will not disrupt the political and trade cooperation between Bangkok
and its neighbours. We are grateful that the coup has been bloodless,
and it seems the military can fully control the situation, in
particular the situation in Bangkok.

SINGAPORE’S THE BUSINESS TIMES

After 14 years of uninterrupted civilian rule, those who thought
Thailand had finally matured politically beyond the point where
military coups were needed to change governments will have to revise
their view. Thailand’s political clock has been turned back.

SINGAPORE’S THE STRAITS TIMES

It is an act of violence against the ideal of elective politics for
an army to throw out an elected government. This is subverting the
people’s will. Thais must hope the generals make good their claim of a
new start, by not arrogating to themselves an authority which Mr
Thaksin had but fumbled with.

JOHN FUNSTON IN AUSTRALIA’S THE AGE

A popular axiom of Thai politics is that the countryside elects
governments but Bangkok brings them down. Thaksin succeeded brilliantly
in wooing the countryside. The coup thus appears both a pre-emptive
move against changes to the military leadership and a way to break what
many felt was a political logjam.

BBC Monitoring selects
and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and
the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based
in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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