Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - Nearly six years have passed since the coup of September 19, 2006, yet those who were so loud in denouncing it have done little to free Thailand from the fear of yet another putsch, because no reforms have been introduced within the Army.
Chanakarn Phundeam-vong, a former member of the "19 September Network against Coup d'Etat", the first active group to come out in opposition to the coup, said the power structure in the Army remained the same.
"There have been calls for [military] reform, but nothing has been done," she said.
Chanakarn added that even though the Constitution clearly states that staging a coup is illegal and unconstitutional, it never stopped the elite from supporting them. She said this had to change and people had to face up to the fact that democracy was globalising.
Chulalongkorn University political scientist Puangthong Pawakapan said that though a coup d'etat was still a possibility, the red shirts would not put up with it, so it would be very difficult to govern the country even if a coup were successful. "Those who are contemplating it must be stupid," she said.
Chanakarn added that if a coup were to be staged, it would almost inevitably erupt into a civil war.
However, Puangthong lamented the lack of a public discourse on the subject.
Sirote Klampaiboon, a human-rights lecturer at Mahidol University and another active opponent of the 2006 coup, agreed with Puangthong, saying that the Army could only make a move if it had support from certain groups.
He called on the government to introduce some legal measures that make future coups d'etat illegal, adding that they could start by having those responsible for the one in 2006 face justice.
"Those who were involved in the coup should not be granted amnesty," Sirote said, adding that the yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy and the multicoloured shirts would stop looking at coups as a "solution" for everything.
"In the end they had to hold an election anyway, so the 2006 coup was pointless," Sirote said.
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