Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Asia Times: Rodney Tasker Does An Analysis On Current Thai Troubles

Thai coup makers losing their grip

By Rodney Tasker

Far from being the authoritarian ogre once dutifully denounced by Western governments, Thailand's military-installed government appears instead to be too soft and rapidly losing its way.

The robust support it once enjoyed domestically from mainly urban circles is withering, as those who earlier viewed last year's September 19 coup as the only option to remove entrenched former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra become increasingly restless amid a series of botched political and economic moves.

Wednesday's surprise resignation of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula represents the latest lurch that has undermined domestic and foreign confidence in the interim government's stability.

Pridiyathorn was the military government's chief economic lieutenant and widely viewed as the architect of the government's controversial December 19 decision to impose capital controls on certain types of foreign investments to curb appreciation of the baht, a contrarian move that caused a record single-day drop on the Thai bourse.

He also sent a series of confusing signals to foreign investors when revealing tentative government plans to amend the Foreign Business Act, including legal changes to foreigner investors' ability to use local nominees in structuring their Thailand-based investments that raised concerns that the government could eventually expropriate certain types of foreign investments.

Nevertheless, it is unclear if Pridiyathorn's departure will allay or accentuate foreign investor concerns about the interim government's economic stewardship.


I'm not going to comment on this story because there really is no new information or insight. He is just summing up the political situation that the major Thai dailies have been discussing for the last few weeks.

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