Possibilities for Violence

Part 1 Returning the Nation to a Future Past
Part 2 Scenarios for Government
Part 3 The Fate of the True Believers
Part 4 Possibilities for Violence
Part 5 The Upshot: Resurgence of the Military

Part 4 of 5

Violence in the Thai world indicates an out of kilter equation where one side has become disadvantaged or feels they are losing their status. This is ultimately what is behind coups as well as the garden variety political intimidation bombing (PIBs). As we move forward and the true lay of the voting landscape becomes clearer, it could be that one side or another could calculate that they would be unable to maintain their prominence after the election and opt for alternative methods.

Thai elections are always the occasion for increased political violence, minor PIBs and assassinations. However, if there is any unusual change in the pace or scale of violence it would indicate one side is feeling disadvantaged. It would be clear who is behind it and what it means despite the denials of those involved. It would indicate severe loss of confidence that the election would achieve its desired result.

On the pro-Thaksin side, the unease could be in being locked out of government again. They are already rolling out the narrative that if they cannot form a government it shows the election was rigged and also that the courts are politically biased (anticipating court challenges to the party).

The establishment has much to loose and a tough set of actions to carry out to attain its goals. It would be very difficult for the military to stage a traditional coup. Indeed the military has shown since the 2006 coup that they will go to any length not to stage a putsch. Through court cases and the political injection of alternate PM candidates, they may be able to blunt the ability of Pheu Thai to act for Thaksin. The establishment unease would stem from having to deal with a massive Pheu Thai election win and being unable to restrain the party once it is in power.

However, in this political season, there are so many high hopes on all sides for victory (of one sort or another) that it seems unlikely any side would desire to disturb the events with violence. During election seasons the real effective power is in working in the background—especially in putting together coalition governments designed to achieve certain levels of effectiveness. Violence would simply discredit the acting party (since everyone would be able to detect the factor causing the unease and know who was behind it).

Part 5 – The Upshot: Resurgence of the Military

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