Political Democratization In Thailand

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1.1 Background
Thailand is a developing country in Southeast Asia region that has long witnessed the military’s politically dominant role, which prevented the democratization of Thailand. Since 1932 Thailand has shifted from an absolute monarchy to a democratic regime, the military has been dominantly involved in politics and democratization process and staged the semi-democratic regimes during various periods. Scott N. McKay argues that Thailand has endured 25 elections, 19 attempted military coups, some bloodless and some bloody, and 12 of these coups were successful in transitioning power from 1932 to 2014 . Over the past 80 years, the power struggle between the civilian politicians and the military personnel in Thai politics has been reflected
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the degree of national unity, the level of political institutionalization, economic development, and political culture) and sometimes the more intimately political factors (e.g. the nature of civil-military relations, the cracks within the ruling blocs, and the relative weights of the costs of suppression and toleration)". Thailand's politics has suffered from structural problems so political reform was necessary to establish because the politics cannot be improved by changing the regime only. Thailand's democratization process has been generally analyzed by these factors while Thai politics could be viewed as bureaucratic politics up to the 1980s because of the military appointed member in parliament, representatives of military and civil bureaucrats in the cabinet. Tamada Yoshifumi argues the bureaucratic politics theory based on three principle…show more content…
As a result, the Thai military stepped in power by acting as the self-appointed junta or military back government, by amending the constitution to allow military and civil servants to hold cabinet portfolios, by appointing military officer in parliament, by establishing the political parties and leading the government. At that time the military and the bureaucracy could be seen as an impediment to democratization. In the period of the 1990s, Thailand has witnessed the rise of democratic forces and the decline of the military’s political influence after 1992 political crisis especially. The economic development of the 1980s and early 1990s strengthened the middle class and led to awareness for more political participation, political liberalization and democratization in Thailand. In The Third Wave, Huntington points out the economic factors affected in the third wave democratizations:
Economic development promotes the expansion of the middle class: a larger and larger proportion of society consists of businesspeople, professionals, shopkeepers, teachers, civil servants, managers, technicians, clericals, and sale workers. The movement of countries into the middle income ranges of the economic transition

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