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July 28, 2017

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Restoring democracy must be main focus of Thailand coup leaders

To say it is delusional would be an understatement when one considers the explanation provided by the Army chief of what he think the military could achieve by launching this latest coup.

Like every coup the military has launched since the birth of modern Thailand, the Army has always cited democracy and the need to restore law and order.

First of all, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that these coup plotters are not exactly fair brokers.

It was the Army that ousted the government of Thaksin Shinawatra back in 2006 and set Thailand off on its current political roller coaster.

Just days ago when the two opposing political forces were about to bash each other's heads, the Army decided to use the occasion to declare martial law. Two days later, they decided to call a spade a spade.

We can debate until we turn blue about the justifications and the financial and political cost of a coup. And let's not forget about the conflict in the deep South where more than 5,000 have been killed and the end is nowhere in sight. Sadly, peace in the deep South has always been held hostage by national politics.

But here we are at this junction again. And the next obvious thing to ask is where do we go from here? First and foremost, the junta has to make it clear how they intend to steer the country back to democracy.

Moreover, they should try to understand the concerns of foreign governments and organizations about the political deadlock.

There is a thing called international norms — respect for human rights and dignity, freedom of expression and so on — and a middle-income country like Thailand should learn to abide by it. After all, we signed all sorts of international conventions and agreements to state our political commitment. Or was that just for show?

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