BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai protesters, led by student groups, are returning to the streets calling for the ousting of the government less than two years after a general election was held. One group has openly criticised the monarchy, in a rare show of defiance.
Here are the major events that have led up to these protests:
May 22, 2014 – Military stages a coup, ousting an elected government for the second time in a decade, citing the need to restore order in the face of street demonstrations against a populist government linked to telecoms tycoon Thaksin Shinawatra, who himself was ousted in a coup in 2006.
Oct. 13, 2016 – Constitutional monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej dies after a 70-year reign. His son becomes King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
April 6, 2017 – A military-backed constitution is ratified after being approved in a referendum, with changes requested by King Vajiralongkorn that increased his powers, paving the way for an election.
Feb. 7, 2019 – The king rebukes his sister, Princess Ubolratana, over a Thaksin-linked party’s nomination of her as its candidate for prime minister. The party is later dissolved by a court before the election.
March 24, 2019 – General elections held amid complaints of cheating and vote-buying. Former army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the 2014 coup and was then prime minister of a military government, heads a pro-army party that wins the most votes.
Nov. 20, 2019 – Court disqualifies rising opposition figure Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the Future Forward Party, from parliament prompting thousands to rally in Bangkok.
Jan. 12, 2020 – More than 12,000 people join an anti-government “Run Against Dictatorship” in the biggest show of dissent since the 2014 coup. A rival group holds a run in support of Prayuth.
Feb. 21 – Future Forward Party is banned for illegally taking a loan from its billionaire leader, Thanathorn, prompting small student protests on university campuses.
March 22 – Given restrictions to stop the novel coronavirus, student protests peter out but online criticism of government continues, with some also directing criticism at the king. The hashtag “#whydoweneedaking?” is posted more than 1 million times.
June 8 – Small protests held to call for an investigation into the disappearance of an exiled government critic in Cambodia.
June 15 – Prayuth warns political activists not to criticise the monarchy.
June 24 – Protesters gather to mark the anniversary of the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.
July 18 – About 2,500 protesters gather at Democracy Monument, one of the largest demonstrations since the coup, calling for the dissolution of parliament and new elections.
Aug. 4 – Speakers call for the monarchy’s power to be curbed at a rally attended by hundreds in Bangkok.
(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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“This has not been a time of instability in government,” she told reporters in blasting Horgan for calling an election that was as unnecessary as it was irresponsible. “This has been a time of unbelievable co-operation and collaboration for the people of B.C.”
The Greens (including Weaver) provided the NDP with the necessary support on every confidence measure over three years and counting.
“We have adhered to every part of that (CASA) agreement,” insisted Furstenau. “But what that agreement didn’t stipulate was absolute total obedience to the NDP.”
Absolute total obedience to the NDP.
There, I suggest, is what Horgan actually seeks with this election call: an obedient legislative majority that he can bend to his will, as surely as he has already stifled those skeptics in the party and government who questioned the wisdom of an early election.
“The final decision rests with me and me alone,” Horgan told reporters Monday. “I take full responsibility for it.”
In one breath, he insisted that he wasn’t presuming he would win the landslide suggested by the opinion polls: “I am not taking anything for granted.”
In another breath, he made it sound as if victory was already in the bag: “I have never been more confident that this is the time to ask British Columbians where they want to go.”
Then came a real thigh-slapper: “The best way forward is to put politics behind us,” said Horgan.
Right. Nothing like double-crossing your allies and springing an unnecessary election in the midst of a global pandemic to put politics behind us.
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Anything else is opinion, and that opinion is shrill and self-centred.
There is nothing that says a president has to give up the responsibility even a day before being replaced.
Precedent is that 14 presidents have appointed judges in their last year and it has happened that a president has made an appointment after losing an election but before leaving office.
The issue should not be based on what one thinks of Trump. The issue is bigger than that.
So many Canadians weighed in on this in a partisan fashion that it is alarming how much the supposedly “American style” of bitter partisan politics has taken stronghold here.
That some politicians have a different position and a supposedly whole new set of principles (this is from both the left and the right) that they expressed when Obama was president is no reason to give up on what is right.
Because Senator Mitch McConnell argues that Obama shouldn’t and Trump should appoint in similar circumstances is an opportunity for us all to point out what a hypocrite he is, not to try to use him to frame our own partisanship.
Politicians are what they are and by nature they are partisan. Shouldn’t the rest of us at least try to be better than that?
The point of law is that it has to be as clear and unequivocal as it can be.
There is a process to change law. We can lobby our elected representatives. We can vote.
But it seems that the more we in the public insist that politics is a team sport outside political parties, the more the “us and them” mentality is free territory for our leaders to act in the interest of themselves and their supporters even more than they always have.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is guilty of various ethical breaches but to his supporters that is just noise from complaining conservatives because Justin is their guy.
Who cares about character when your team is winning?
It is the sort of thinking that leads people to believe that because they have a strong moral sense – a subjective thing – that they are right, that burning and looting and general law-breaking is not only justified but called for.
Perhaps we are not so much increasingly partisan as we are narcissistic. Sounds a lot like Donald Trump.
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