Thailand Protest Thailand has avoided a slide into chaos, says ASEAN head Surin Pitsuwan. But Gideon Rachman says all is not well and that the protests were profoundly undemocratic:

Do not be fooled by the fact that the group occupying the airport call themselves the “People’s Alliance for Democracy“. Their intent is clearly anti-democratic. They have just brought down an elected government. Their broader demands are for Thailand’s directly-elected parliament to be replaced by a legislative body that is 70% appointed. Sondhi Limthongkul, a Thai tycoon (Thaicoon?), who is the group’s de facto leader says bluntly that – “Representative democracy is not suitable for Thailand.” The middle-class backers of the PAD hate the fact that under universal suffrage, the votes of the rural poor in the north of Thailand are usually decisive. They see this as a formula for corruption and pork-barrel politics. Hence, their desire to roll back democracy. The implications for China are fascinating. There too the urban middle-class seem to be emerging as a conservative force, suspicious of democracy and the peasant power that it might unleash.

[Photo: Narong Sangnak / EPA]

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