ICG on "Bridging Thailand's deep divide"

July 7, 2010, 2:25 p.m.

An increasingly prevalent issue affecting new democracies is the prospect of political violence. In Thailand, conflict surrounding recent elections has left the state sharply divided. If democracy efforts in the area are to succeed then the country must work to respond to this gap, the International Crisis Group suggests. An ICG paper traces the history of violence surrounding recent elections in Thailand and suggests to the Thai government, Red Shirt movement leaders and political players how to foster a push away from violence. From the report:

"A credible investigation of the violence, enduring legal reforms, and properly addressing societal inequities cannot succeed without the Thaksin-aligned Red Shirt movement. This cannot happen if its leaders are detained, marginalised, or on the run. Fresh elections that are peace­ful, fair and accepted by all sides will be the first test to see if the country is back on track or has lost its way. Thailand should lift the emergency decree imposed over large swathes of the country or risk further damaging its democracy, hindering much needed reconciliation, and sowing the seeds of future deadly conflict."

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