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In the Vertigo of Change: How to resolve the political crisis? PDF Print E-mail

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By Marc Saxer, June 2011

·         In the aftermath of the Asian crisis, Thailand’s social contract was cancelled. For a while, it seemed as if society would settle anew under ?Thaksinomics? before this broad alliance was torn apart by its inner contradictions. Ever since, the country has been divided into two antagonist coalitions fighting over a new political and social hierarchy.  

  ·         Since this stalemate has emerged, there has been a growing sense on both sides that they cannot win single-handedly. The elections open a window of opportunity to strike a deal. However, a Grand Bargain to resolve the conflict needs to include all key actors. Thus, a new round of conflict could play into the interests of some players.     


·         The crisis runs deeper than the political conflict. Socio-economic development has had a paradoxical effect: it de-legitimised the political, social, and cultural order of Thailand by overstraining its governance system  and  undermining  the  ideas,  values,  identities,  and  discourses  on  which  the  order  is  built. Thailand’s deeper crisis can only be overcome by adaptation of its order to an increasingly complex and pluralistic society.    


·         With a legitimacy crisis of the vertical order at the core of the political conflict, legitimacy cannot be regained if elites force a solution upon society. The new social contract needs to be negotiated in an inclusive, horizontal, and rule-based process.  

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