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(July 5, 2019) The evolving Thai political fault lines

Over the past five years under military government, it is clear that Thailand's political polarisation has not been bridged. It has, in fact, expanded into new fault lines. Apart from the longstanding yellows versus reds revolving around supporters and critics of the established political order premised on military, monarchy and bureaucracy, we now have a clear demarcation between pro- and anti-junta and authoritarianism versus democratisation camps. Newer fault lines are generational and ideological in orientation. While some of these divisions are global in nature, bringing them in line towards a new consensus in Thailand will necessitate a kind of leadership and compromise without which the country will be unsettled for the long term.

Evidently, political polarisation is a global phenomenon, underpinned by economic inequality and runaway communications technologies. Over the past several decades, inequality has widened across societies. Unsurprisingly, capital accumulation and economic development have been concentrated in fewer hands, leaving large masses of people feeling relatively deprived. Absolute poverty, however, has declined.