A fairly long article on PM Thaksin on column one of the Wall Street Journal (I’m reading the US edition, but I think it should also have appeared on the Asian (now tabloid format) edition). You can find links here and here.
A comprehensive article, i think, but the portions below caught my attention.
The turmoil illustrates how Thailand, and indeed much of Asia, continues to struggle to undo the close ties between business and politics that Mr. Thaksin represents. Many of Thailand’s neighbors — the so-called Asian tigers — have been trying to improve their economic and political institutions after the regional financial meltdown that began with devaluation of the baht in 1997.
Thailand, a constitutional monarchy, has been criticized for relying too much on its wealthy elite to run the country rather than on its democratic institutions. This has the potential to undermine confidence in Mr. Thaksin’s otherwise successful stewardship of Thailand’s economic comeback.
Critics, however, complain that Mr. Thaksin has neglected to use his mandate to enact or enforce the basic checks and balances on government and financial markets that Thailand and other nations promised in the wake of the financial crisis. […] Mr. Thaksin’s supporters in the Thai Senate managed to remove an independent anticorruption watchdog, who then battled for 1 1/2 years to be reinstated.
My emphasis. I was thinking it was a bit ironic that Thaksin’s rhetoric now champions democratic ideals when a few short months ago he had been so dismissive of it. Remember the democracy is only the means speech, not the goal speech?