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Will Thailand’s Army Intervene To Halt Red-Shirt Victory?

Will Thailand’s Army Eventually Intervene To Halt Yingluck, Red-Shirt Victory?

Bangkok, Thailand and Washington, D.C., July 3, 2011 - With polls closing in Thailand today, concerns have been raised by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Policy Analysis that elements of the Royal Thai Army may militarily intervene in the post-election aftermath of Thailand’s recent election where the Pheu Thai Party is predicted to sweep control of a majority of seats in Parliament and potentially usher in Thailand’s first female Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra.

“There are concerns that elements of the Royal Thai Army may intervene militarily, at some point down the road, in the post-election aftermath of today’s elections in opposition to a majority victory by Pheu Thai Party candidates in Parliament, or the potential that Yingluck Shinawatra will become Thailand’s first female prime minister,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C., a public policy research organization.

“Will Thailand’s Army intervene, overtly or covertly, to halt Yingluck Shinawatra, or a Red-Shirt Victory, that will likely occur if Pheu Thai Party candidates sweep control of Parliament in a supermajority ?,” Smith questioned. “If so, how will Washington and the Obama Administration respond to a new round of political violence in Thailand down the road in the aftermath of the election results?”

“Ongoing political violence in Thailand, while less likely if the elections results are overwhelmingly in favor of Pheu Thai Party candidates, and the ushering in of Thailand’s first female Prime Minister, is still significant, especially given the Thai Army’s crackdown of Red Shirt demonstrators in Bangkok last year,” Smith stated.

Smith questioned: “Will there be a peaceful transfer of political power in Thailand, some policymakers wonder in Washington?”

“In addition to other issues, some elements of the Thai Royal family’s circle and the Royal Thai Army have concerns about the Shinawatra family’s previous business and political ties, as well as corruption allegations, and this may lead to ongoing post-election political turmoil in Bangkok,” Smith observed.

“Clearly, Washington policymakers, including the Obama Administration and Secretary of State Clinton, are hopeful for greater stability in Thailand, and an enhanced partnership, as well as election results that reflect the will of the Thai people,” Smith explained.

“Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Administration, and some elements of the Democratic Party and Royal Thai Army, were criticized domestically, and internationally, for a number of key issues, including the violent crackdown on demonstrators in Thailand as well as the unnecessary forced repatriation of Hmong refugees from Thailand to Laos,” Smith stated.

“It is hoped that today’s elections in Thailand will help to usher in a new era of stability, unity and prosperity for the people of Thailand, and the Royal Family, with whom the United States shares a special affection and relationship; The election of Thailand’s first female Prime Minister would indeed be historic, if the polls confirm this prediction, and apparent unfolding new political reality,” Smith concluded.

The CPPA is a Washington, D.C.-based, think-tank and non-governmental organization focused on public policy research--especially in the areas of international security, economics, trade, human rights, religious freedom, humanitarian and refugee issues. http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

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