Thailand marks coup anniversary, concerned over future of democracy

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Bangkok, Sep 19 (UNI) Thailand today marked the first anniversary of the military ouster of a popularly elected government with expressions of concern over the future of democracy in a nation once thought to have put its coup-determined political past behind.

Many are worried that the past twelve months have decisively set the clock back on Thailand's democratic evolution, pushing the country back into the ''vicious circle'' of weak governments, corruption in high places and coup d'etats.

''What has been gained is too little compared with the damage caused to the country's image and its democratic system,'' the popular national Thai language daily ''Thai Rath'' said in an editorial comment.

''Our parliamentary democracy under the constitutional monarchy has been trapped in a vicious circle that invariably starts with a civilian government's crisis of confidence as a result of corruption scandals, followed by a military takeover and a fresh attempt to rebuild democracy as we are trying to do now,'' said one of Bangkok's two English language dailies, The Nation in a lead editorial.

Pointing out it would not be easy to ''break out of this vicious circle so that democracy can thrive and take root in this country,'' the daily noted that the coup should be a lesson for those legitmising political short cuts.

''The argument that a temporary military dictatorship is preferable to a bogus democracy under an elected but tyrannical leader like Thaksin has yet to be proven correct. This is because there is always the possibility that military leaders might get comfortable with the trappings of power and become as corrupt as those they ousted,'' it said.

UNI

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