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The power of political movement and the collapse of democracy in Thailand Sinpeng, Vipapat Aim 2013

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i    THE POWER OF POLITICAL MOVEMENT AND THE COLLAPSE OF DEMOCRACY IN THAILAND     by     VIPAPAT (AIM) SINPENG      A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF    DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in   THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Political Science)    THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  (Vancouver)     December 2013   ?Vipapat (Aim) Sinpeng, 2013    ii  ABSTRACT   Why are some opposition movements pro-democracy while others are not? What explains an anti-democratic movement in a democracy? Examining how democratic institutions give rise to a popular anti-democratic movement is the key task this research accomplishes. To answer this question, my dissertation exploits variation across Thailand in terms of the extent to which a popular movement contributes to a collapse of democracy. Based on a within-case comparison of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) Movement, I develop a novel theory called "institutional blockage." It argues that a mobilized society can turn against democracy when their voices are not given appropriate space to channel their grievances within the realms of formal and informal institutions. When people feel blocked from access to power, they rebel against the system by appealing to nondemocratic institutions to regain their power, which then triggers a regime collapse. The argument reveals a paradox that people will support democracy as long as the regime does not marginalize them.  The dissertation makes three key contributions. First, the middle class and civil society can act as a force against democracy. The PAD's support base is drawn largely from NGOs and the urban middle class, both of which are often seen as bulwarks for democracy. My research outlines a concrete process in which these two forces turn again democracy, thus surmounting a theoretical and empirical challenge that has confronted previous scholarship. Second, a weakly institutionalized party system, under certain conditions, can contribute to regime survival. New democracies with fluid, patronage-based, non-programmatic party systems constrain political elites from subverting the system. Third, democratic consolidation, particularly concentration of executive power, can threaten the viability of democracy. The theory on institutional blockage and the process of anti-democratic mobilization can shed light on similar movements in Egypt, Venezuela and the Philippines.      iii  PREFACE  This dissertation is an original intellectual product of the author, Aim Sinpeng. The fieldwork reported in chapters 4-7 was covered by UBC Ethics Certificate number H11-00466 of May 19, 2011.   A list of publications arising from the work conducted for this dissertation is provided below. ? "State Repression in Cyberspace: The Case of Thailand." Asian Politics and Policy. Vol. 5. No. 3. (2013): 421-440.  Fieldwork drawn from chapter 7. ? "From the Streets to the Ballot Box: The July 2011 Elections and the Rise of Social Movements in Thailand" with Erik Martinez Kuhonta. Contemporary Southeast Asia. Vol 34, No 3 (December, 2012): 389-415. Lead author. Fieldwork drawn from chapters 5-7. ? "Party-Movement Coalition in Thailand's Political Conflict (2005-2011)" In Liamputtong, Pranee (Ed.). Contemporary Socio-Cultural and Political Perspectives in Thailand. The Netherlands: Springer (2013).  Fieldwark drawn from chapters 6-7. ? "From Assembly to Streets: Contentious Politics in Thailand (1991-2010)" (2012). Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies. Vol 4/2011.  Fieldwork drawn from chapters 5-7.           iv  TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ........................................................................................................................................................ ii Preface ......................................................................................................................................................... iii Table of contents???????????????????????????????.??... iv List of tables.............................................................................................................................................. viii List of figures .............................................................................................................................................. ix List of abbreviations ................................................................................................................................... x Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................................... xii Dedication .................................................................................................................................................. xv 1. Introduction ............................................................................................................................................. 1 Anti-democratic mobilization ............................................................................................................ 3 Overview of institutional blockage theory ........................................................................................ 5 Overview of the state of literature ..................................................................................................... 9 Economic crisis/Wars ........................................................................................................................ 9 Intra-elite competition ..................................................................................................................... 10 Weak political institutions ............................................................................................................... 10 Class conflict ................................................................................................................................... 11 Political leadership .......................................................................................................................... 12 The case of Thailand ....................................................................................................................... 13 Theory of institutional blockage ...................................................................................................... 18 Methodology.................................................................................................................................... 18 Outline of the thesis ......................................................................................................................... 20 2. Anti-democratic mobilization and the breakdown of democracy .................................................... 23 Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 23 What is anti-democratic mobilization? ............................................................................................ 29 Typology of opposition movements ................................................................................................ 31 Existing explanations ....................................................................................................................... 33 Comparative literature ..................................................................................................................... 34 Case-specific literature .................................................................................................................... 37 Observable implications .................................................................................................................. 38 Flaws of existing explanations ........................................................................................................ 40 Explaining anti-democratic mobilization ........................................................................................ 46 Stage 1: Institutional blockage ........................................................................................................ 49 v  Stage 2: Alliance formation ............................................................................................................. 50 Stage 3: Anti-democratization ......................................................................................................... 50 Stage 4: Alliance with nondemocratic institutions .......................................................................... 51 Mobilizational capacity ................................................................................................................... 51 Institutional blockage in Thailand ................................................................................................... 54 Conclusion ....................................................................................................................................... 61 3. Crises, coups and constitutions ............................................................................................................ 62 Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 62 Background...................................................................................................................................... 63 The Black May Uprising ................................................................................................................. 67 The 1991 coup d'?tat ........................................................................................................................ 67 The uprising ..................................................................................................................................... 69 Black May and its implications ....................................................................................................... 70 The post-Black May politics ........................................................................................................... 73 Structural factors inducive to democratic collapse .......................................................................... 76 Coups beget coups ........................................................................................................................... 76 The middle class and democracy ..................................................................................................... 79 Popular unelected leaders ................................................................................................................ 82 The monarchy and Thai politics ...................................................................................................... 86 Nondemocratic institutions .............................................................................................................. 90 Conclusion ....................................................................................................................................... 92 4. Politics of reforms in the 1990s ............................................................................................................ 93 Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 93 The aftermath of the Black May Uprising ....................................................................................... 95 The reform process .......................................................................................................................... 96 The 1997 constitution .................................................................................................................... 103 Criticisms of the 1997 constitution ................................................................................................ 108 The 1997 Asian financial crisis and its implications ..................................................................... 113 Civil society and the politics of reform ......................................................................................... 119 The rise of Thaksin and the Thai Rak Thai Party .......................................................................... 125 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 126 5. The emergence of the People's Alliance for Democracy .................................................................. 130 Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 130 vi  The Thaksin government and the basis for opposition .................................................................. 132 Formal institutional blockage ........................................................................................................ 143 Stage 1: Anti-incumbent mobilization ........................................................................................... 145 Parliament ...................................................................................................................................... 145 Senate ............................................................................................................................................ 149 Independent institutions ................................................................................................................. 153 Informal institutional blockage ...................................................................................................... 154 Civil society ................................................................................................................................... 155 Policy-based corruption ................................................................................................................. 157 Populism ........................................................................................................................................ 159 Anti-globalization/Anti-capitalism ................................................................................................ 163 The media ...................................................................................................................................... 168 Labor??????????????????????????????????...?174 Teachers' union .............................................................................................................................. 174 Buddhist sects ................................................................................................................................ 175 Student/academic opposition ......................................................................................................... 178 The royalists .................................................................................................................................. 179 The Democrat Party ....................................................................................................................... 180 Stage 2: Alliance formation and the birth of the PAD movement ................................................. 182 The anatomy of the PAD movement: Inside the People's Alliance for Democracy ...................... 184 Core leadership .............................................................................................................................. 187 Alliance ......................................................................................................................................... 192 PAD membership .......................................................................................................................... 195 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 199 6. Anti-democratization of the PAD Movement ................................................................................... 201 Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 201 Stage 3: Crisis and the anti-democratization of the PAD Movement ............................................ 203 Appealing to powerful extra-constitutional institutions ................................................................ 204 Appeal to the military .................................................................................................................... 208 Coup not inevitable ........................................................................................................................ 210 The PAD movement and the collapse of democracy ..................................................................... 219 Understanding the PAD anti-democratic discourse ....................................................................... 229 Constitutional monarchy ............................................................................................................... 229 vii  Good governance ........................................................................................................................... 230 Middle class and the enlightenment .............................................................................................. 233 Gullible, stupid rural voters ........................................................................................................... 237 Dharmic democracy ....................................................................................................................... 243 Participatory democracy ................................................................................................................ 245 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 247 7. The post-coup mobilization and the decline of the PAD Movement .............................................. 250 Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 250 PAD during authoritarian government (2006-2007) ..................................................................... 252 Institutional (un) blockage in the post-coup period ....................................................................... 254 Formal institutions ......................................................................................................................... 256 Judicial activism ............................................................................................................................ 259 Informal institutions ...................................................................................................................... 262 The Red Shirts Movement ............................................................................................................. 271 PAD third stage of mobilization (2009-2011) ............................................................................... 276 New Politics Party ......................................................................................................................... 281 Vote No campaign ......................................................................................................................... 285 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 291 8. Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................... 293 Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 293 Summary of institutional blockage theory ..................................................................................... 294 Research findings .......................................................................................................................... 296 Empirical validation of the research .............................................................................................. 299 Theoretical contributions ............................................................................................................... 303 Future research .............................................................................................................................. 305 Policy implications ........................................................................................................................ 307 Bibliography ............................................................................................................................................ 311 Appendices ............................................................................................................................................... 332 Appendix A: Chronology of Thailand's political history (1932-2011) ......................................... 332 Appendix B: Major episodes of mass political protests in Thailand ............................................. 334 Appendix C: Newspapers sources for the protest database ........................................................... 335 Appendix D: List of interviewees .................................................................................................. 336  viii  LIST OF TABLES  Table 1: Typology of opposition movement in democracies ........................................................................ 4 Table 2: Incidents of democratic collapse by coup d'?tat, 2000-2012 ........................................................ 26 Table 3: Approaches to explaining anti-democratic mobilization (ADM) ................................................. 39 Table 4: Causes and consequences of successful coups in Thailand .......................................................... 78 Table 5: Reformist approaches ................................................................................................................... 97 Table 6: Estimated amount spent on vote-buying and number of reported electoral violations (1988-2001) .................................................................................................................................................................. 101 Table 7: Selected key reforms in the 1997 constitution ............................................................................ 104 Table 8: Forbes' Thailand richest in politics (2005-2006) ........................................................................ 117 Table 9: Type of non-profit organization in % (2007) .............................................................................. 121 Table 10: Thaksin's key pro-poor policies ................................................................................................ 134 Table 11: Civil society organizations that led major protests (2001-2005) .............................................. 144 Table 12: Seat share of Thai Rak Thai v. opposition parties (2002-2006) ............................................... 147 Table 13: Dimension of PAD's political ideology .................................................................................... 157 Table 14: PAD's comparison of king's and Thaksin's economic approaches............................................ 164 Table 15: Selected PAD networks by sector ............................................................................................. 192 Table 16: Key findings from national surveys of the thai electorates (2011) ........................................... 197 Table 17: Provinces with a high concentration of ASTV shops and product distributor (2011) .............. 198 Table 18: Poll data on the coup and coup government (2006) ................................................................. 225 Table 19: A survey of PAD attitudes ........................................................................................................ 228 Table 20: Key differences between 1997 and 2007 constitution .............................................................. 255 Table 21: Party dissolution cases and banning of politicians (2006-2011) ............................................... 260 Table 23: Electoral results for the New Politics Party (2011) .................................................................. 284 Table 24: Percentage of vote no in elections (2001-2011) ....................................................................... 288          ix  LIST OF FIGURES  Figure 1: Indicators for anti-democratic mobilization ................................................................................ 31 Figure 2: Thailand's GDP growth (annual) ................................................................................................. 41 Figure 3: The process of institutional blockage to anti-democratic mobilization ....................................... 47 Figure 5: Opposition alliance formation ..................................................................................................... 59 Figure 6: New independent institutions created by the 1997 constitution ................................................ 105 Figure 7: Professions of candidates in national elections (1995-2005) .................................................... 115 Figure 8: Numbers of non-profit organizations and their revenue (1997-2007) ....................................... 120 Figure 9: Seat share of the top three parties in elections (1992-2001) ...................................................... 126 Figure 10: Selected corruption allegations during Thaksin Administration ............................................. 141 Figure 11: Protest events as reported in 14 newspapers, quarterly (2001-2006) ...................................... 155 Figure 12: Reporters Without Borders freedom of press score, thailand (2002-2006) ............................. 169 Figure 13: PAD Networks (2006-2008).................................................................................................... 185 Figure 14: The PAD leadership structure ................................................................................................. 188 Figure 15: Characteristics of a good mp ................................................................................................... 239 Figure 16: PAD's vicious cycle of thai politics ......................................................................................... 241 Figure 17: PAD's conception of the current political system .................................................................... 242 Figure 18: Percentage of seat share of major parties in national elections (2001-2011) .......................... 274 Figure 19: PAD's new politics .................................................................................................................. 283 Figure 20: Voter turnout in national elections (2001-2011) ..................................................................... 290 Figure 21: Classification of cases by regime and type of opposition movement ...................................... 306             x  LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS  NACC   National Anti-Corruption Commission TRT   Thai Rak Thai PAD   People's Alliance for Democracy CPD   Campaign for the Popular Democracy ECT   Election Commission of Thailand NGO   Non governmental organization CDR   Council for Democratic Reform DP   Democrat Party MP   Member of Parliament NPKC   National Peace Keeping Council STM   Samakkhi Tham Party KWM   Kwam Wang Mai Party Bt   Baht  SMD   Single Member District PR   Proportional Representation NHRC   National Human Rights Commission CDA   Constitutional Drafting Assembly NSO   National Statistical Office (Thailand) TDRI   Thailand Development Research Institute CPT   Chart Pattana Party CT   Chart Thai Party EGAT   Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand ADM   Anti-Democratic Movement ARCR   Administrative Reform Council Resolution  OTOP   One Tambon One Product SME   Small and Medium Enterprises ABLF   Asian Business Leadership Forum AIS   Advanced Information Services xi  TOT   Telephone Organization of Thailand FTA   Free Trade Agreement KPI   King Prajadiphok Institute GDP   Gross Domestic Product GHP   Gross Happiness Product PPP   Palang Prachachon Party PT   Peau Thai Party UDD   United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship NPP   New Politics Party ML   Mom Luang MR   Mom Ratchawong NIDA   National Institute of Development Administration P-Net   People's Network for Election ABAC   Assumption University of Thailand SEWERC  State Enterprise Worker's Relation Confederation SCT   Student Confederation of Thailand                xii  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS   My family has always believed in higher education. But most importantly, they believe in me. When I told my mom I was considering a PhD, she was ecstatic. I am most grateful for my parents for having taught me the value of hard work, humility and perseverance. My brother, Am, who bankrolls my many trips to Thailand. My brother, Ohm, who keeps me grounded. My little niece and nephew who show me how fun and simple life can be. And most importantly, my mom, whose weekly phone calls to remind me to "finish it already" indeed does wonders. I am indebted for all of their support throughout the years.  My husband, Marc, surely did not know what he got himself into when we met several years ago while I was studying for a comprehensive exam. He was apparently impressed by the piles of books I was able to "read" in a short period of time. Over the years, he had bought one, then two and three book shelves to keep those books I really "need." Marc has been a source of indispensable support. He reminds me which books I already have; provides a steady supply of coffee and bubble tea; and gives me the strength and support when I doubt myself most.  Getting through the PhD would have been impossible without my wonderful friends. Special hugs to Anastasia, Katrina, Beth, Daria, Sandra, Afsoun, Sai, Ja, Poom, Tip, Jim, Daniel, and Pinky for their downright awesomeness. Thanks Rumana, Deborah, Sule, Clare, Carla, Serbulent, Erin, Scott, Konrad, Doug, Chavdar, Jackie, Rick and Dr. Hay for being there. The Thai community in Vancouver has given me the feeling of home away from home. My UBC colleagues and friends have truly enriched my life and made getting through my studies both rewarding and fun. My childhood friends from Bangkok, with their open arms policy, make everything OK again. xiii   My supervisor, Ben Nyblade, has given me everything he has to make sure I finish on time. My committee member, Brian Job, has done so much for me that the space in this acknowledgement does not permit. He is always willing to help in whatever way he can to ensure I succeed. Lisa Sundstorm always has her door open for any question, big or small. Very special thanks to my Thai committee member, Ackadej Chaiperm from Chulalongkorn University, who always makes time for me. His advice, guidance and insights have really helped make my thesis a much more worthwhile effort. Yves Tiberghien's smile and positive attitude helps to keep my head up high. My "unofficial" committee members, Diane Mauzy, Paul Evans and Nathan Allan, whose honesty and care helps to keep this PhD journey full of hope. Anjali Bohlken, Fred Cutler, Campbell Sharman and Max Cameron have given me guidance. The UBC Political Science Department has given me the tremendous support to ensure my successful graduate study.    I have received a generous support from the UBC Institute of Asian Research, particularly the Center for Southeast Asian Research, as well as the Liu Institute of Global Studies. UBC has been an excellent place for my doctoral study due to its tremendous financial support, friendly learning environment, outstanding resources and wonderful undergraduate students I've been lucky enough to have taught. Vancouver is also among the most beautiful places in the world. Its beauty has made the five years in graduate school fly by.   My fellowship at Thammasat University, Department of Political Science, has been crucial to my doctoral research. Special thanks to Kitti Prasirtsuk, Prajak Kongkirati, Max Gromping and Den Pankaew for giving me all the time in the world. The Thai Research Foundation has also provided generous support for my fieldwork trips. Chulalongkorn University's Department of Political Science has been a tremendous source of support. Special xiv  thanks to Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Viengrat Nethipo, Pitch Pongsawat, Jaras Suwannamala, Siripan Nogsuan Sawasdee and Prapas Pinthobtang for their insights into the many wonders of Thai politics.  I owe much gratitude to the Australian National University for the generous fellowship and the wonderful months I spent in Canberra. I am most indebted to Andrew Walker, whose enthusiasm and curiosity, shows me what it takes to be a good scholar. Nich Farrelly, Craig Reynolds, Paul Hutchcroft, Greg Fealy, Ed Aspinall, John Funston, John Blaxland, and Anthony Reid have provided me with an excellent research experience at ANU. Jen and Sao at the National Library of Australia made going to the library fun again.   Many scholars and colleagues I've met along the way have offered me their time and wisdom: Erik Kuhonta, Allen Hicken, Tyrell Haberkorn, Michael Nelson, Peter Jackson, Soimart Rungmanee, Alisa Hasamoh, Paul Busbarat, Michael Connors, Deunden Nikomborirak, Nick Nostitz, Somchai Phatharathananunth, Tamada Yoshifumi, Chris Baker, Pasuk Phongpaichit, Bill Case, Bruce Missingham, Mike Montesano, Dave Streckfuss, Danny Unger, Serhat Unaldi, Ben Tausig, Eli Elinoff, Aries Aruguay, Colm Fox, Dan Slater, Meredith Weiss and many more.  Lastly, I would like to thank the Government of Canada for their financial support in my research. Canada has been an excellent place to live and even more so to pursue graduate studies.         xv  DEDICATION        To my mom              1  1. INTRODUCTION    ?Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.?  - James Bovard      This dissertation is about the causes and consequences of political movements that oppose democracy in post-democratic transition countries. Under what conditions do we observe an anti-democratic movement at a particular place and time? Why do people in post-transition states oppose democracy? Why are some new democracies more likely to survive than others? This research provides theoretical and empirical frameworks in answering these questions. Since the Third Wave of Democratization in the mid-1970s, little scholarly attention has been paid to popular mobilization against democratic governments, or democracy more generally (Huntington: 1991; Diamond: 2003; Schock: 1999; Collier & Mahoney: 1997; Kim: 2003; Bernhard: 1993; Bellin: 2012). Images of ordinary people rising up to challenge oppressive regimes and eventually toppling their dictators give us hope and optimism. The fall of the Berlin Wall - set in motion by protests across the Eastern Block; prodemocracy movements against President Estrada in the Philippines; protests against dictatorial Indonesia and Burmese rulers, and the recent 2011 Arab Spring remind us of the "people's power" in the collapse of authoritarian regimes.  2   Yet, if one looks closely, empirical evidence has presented a rather mixed picture regarding the democratic orientations of popular political movements in contemporary times. Popular movements have been regarded as contributing factors to the loss of democracy in countries like Bangladesh, Fiji, the Philippines, Thailand, Honduras and Egypt in the past decade. As such, not all political movements are pro-democracy. We have observed empirically cases of opposition movements that advocate against some aspects of the democratic system. Moreover, not all anti-democratic movements contribute to a democratic collapse. Some democracies are able to survive despite popular movements that push for regime change.  Opposition movements in Egypt successfully called for a military intervention that resulted in the removal of a democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013. Tamarod, one of the key anti-Morsi movements, rallied members to shore up support for the current military-backed government of Adly Mansour, despite the autocratic nature of the regime. In Honduras, what started as an anti-government movement led to the coup d'?tat when a group of soldiers broke into a presidential palace and forced President Zaleya to resign. The new military-backed government reportedly enjoyed strong support from sections of the Honduran society.1 Some 70,000 people marched in the streets of Tegucigalpa in support of this new authoritarian government.2  The phenomenon of anti-democratic mobilization is real and has been witnessed more frequently in important countries, such as Egypt, Bangladesh and Thailand. Despite this increasing occurrence, existing literature cannot help us to make sense of how, when and why these anti-democratic movements develop in democracies. This dissertation examines the conditions under which an anti-democratic movement contributes to a breakdown of democracy.                                                      1 Meyer, P. (2010, February 1). Honduran political crisis, June 2009-January 2010. Congressional Research Service 7-5700.  Accessed on April 11, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R41064.pdf. 2 Ibid.  3  Specifically, it outlines a concrete process in which a political movement turns against a democratic regime, thus surmounting a theoretical and empirical challenge that has confronted previous scholarship.  For this study, Thailand is chosen from several cases of recent movement-induced democratic breakdowns. The case of Thailand will contribute both theoretically and empirically to the understanding of similar phenomena in other countries. More importantly, Thailand will also shed light on why some movements are anti-government, while others are anti-democratic. ANTI-DEMOCRATIC MOBILIZATION   What happens when democracy is "not working" or is producing "bad outcomes" for certain groups in society? What options do organized groups have in response to this? Anti-democratic movements are but one type of opposition mobilization. I argue here that there are three ideal types of opposition movements in democracies: 1) pro-reform; 2) anti-incumbent; and 3) anti-democratic (Table 1). What distinguishes these three types of movements is their goal. In general, an opposition movement forms to contest either specific policy or the general direction of an incumbent government. Once formed, an opposition movement takes on one of these three forms. This typology is an ideal type, thus in reality a movement can be a mixture of pro-reform and anti-incumbent. These ideal types, however, help to differentiate analytically and empirically the nature of opposition by distinguishing their goals. Pro-reform opposition movements seek to propose policy alternatives, while anti-incumbent movements seek executive or government replacement. Neither is intent on subverting the democratic system.    4  TABLE 1: TYPOLOGY OF OPPOSITION MOVEMENT IN DEMOCRACIES  Goals 1. Pro-reform Propose policy alternatives; voice grievances 2. Anti-incumbent Oppose incumbent government; voice grievances 3. Anti-democratic Subvert democratic system   Anti-democratic mobilization, which is the main focus of this study, is a distinct type of movement, whose characteristics differ from other forms of opposition mobilization. For an anti-democratic movement, government change is not a desired outcome. Instead it seeks to overhaul the entire political system. Unlike other types of opposition mobilization, anti-democratic mobilization carries the highest costs and is sometimes considered as a "last resort" strategy for a movement. Yet not all electoral democracies are conducive to the emergence of anti-democratic movements. The theory set forth in this study outlines the conditions under which an anti-democratic movement can arise to successfully overthrow an elected government.  Does anti-democratic mobilization account for the recent collapse of Third Wave democracies? Indeed, while some 60% of the states today are electoral democracies, the world has become less free.3 Serious signs of democratic rollback and incidence of breakdowns have been on the rise within the Third Wave countries.4 The rise of anti-democratic mobilization is, by definition, part of the explanation for why we see an increasing incident of democratic reversal in some of these states. Understanding anti-democratic mobilization in these post-transition states                                                      3 Note: See Freedom House (2012). Freedom in the world. Retrieved from http://freedomhouse.org/. 4 Larry Diamond. (2008). The spirit of democracy: The struggle to build free societies throughout the world. Macmillan. 5  is, therefore, not only empirically relevant, but it has implications for our understanding of the overall state of democracy in the world.   OVERVIEW OF INSTITUTIONAL BLOCKAGE THEORY   This research advances a concept I call "institutional blockage" - a process whereby both formal and informal channels of opposition in a democratic regime are and are perceived to be closed, resulting in a perceived loss of bargaining leverage by actors in the polity. This theory of institutional blockage is within the realm of the "institutionalist approach" and builds on previous scholarship on political institutionalization. Huntington (1968) does us a great service by pointing out that it is not enough to have formal democratic institutions, but they need to become the main source of political authority in order to achieve stability. While recognizing the utility of this approach, my arguments contribute to a better understanding of the conditions under which democracy can collapse.     I see a rise of anti-democratic mobilization as an outcome shaped by the process of institutional blockage. When the opposition forces are or "feel" blocked from access to power, they rebel against such closures by appealing to nondemocratic alternative sources of power to reverse the process of institutional blockage. Anti-democratic mobilization then serves as a vehicle for various opposition forces, whose leverage has been reduced, or completely cut out, by the process of institutional blockage that unfolds. If such mobilization succeeds in garnering support from nondemocratic authorities, then we see a complete breakdown of democracy.     6                                   Institutional Blockage --------> Anti-Democratic Mobilization                                                                                                         (necessary conditions)      The institutional blockage theory has two necessary background conditions. First, there must exist nondemocratic institutions that are regarded as alternative sources of power in a democratic system. Often, these institutions historically played a critical role in the politics of their respective countries during authoritarian times. Following democratization, such institutions continue to wield significant power despite their more limited role. These nondemocratic bodies would reassert themselves when a) their interests are threatened and b) they see a chance of success. The Philippines, for example, has a long history of military rule. Although the country made a successful transition to democracy, the military continues to wield significant power both in societal and political arenas. Indeed, despite massive popular demand for President Estrada's impeachment during the People's Power movement (EDSA 2), what prompted him to resign was his loss of military backing.5  Second, opposition forces must possess "mobilizational capacity" - the ability to organize and mobilize supporters - for them to become an anti-democratic movement. This is a crucial component for the institutional blockage theory simply because the existence of nondemocratic                                                      5 Arugay, A. (2005). The accountability deficit in the Philippines: implications and prospects for democratic consolidation. Philippine Political Science Journal, 26(49), 63-88. Nondemocratic Institutions Mobilizational Capacity 7  institutions in a polity is a necessary but not sufficient condition for one to observe an emergence of an anti-democratic mobilization. Anti-democratic mobilization emerges because opposition groups with mobilizational capacity are blocked from channeling their grievances. Consequently, they are diverted to alternative channels of authority, which are the nondemocratic institutions. It is critical to understand that institutional blockages are inconsequential if the groups blocked are insignificant. Blockages that close down access to power for groups that have the capacity to mobilize and get organized will prompt them to turn to nondemocratic bodies. Such anti-democratic movement will often see themselves as "saving democracy from itself" because they believe a "truly democratic" system would represent their concerns and allow for some degree of participation in the bargaining process.   Not every new democracy witnesses a rise of anti-democratic mobilization. Likewise, only some post-transition countries experience a regime breakdown. While the vast research in the study of democratic transition points to the fragility and sometimes fleeting nature of newly established democracies (O'Donnell et al.: 1986; Loveman: 1994; Jones: 1998; Bratton: 1998; Bunce: 2000), there is a great variation in the existing scholarship as to why some new democracies survive but not others.   This dissertation contributes to this gap by providing explanations not only for what accounts  for democratic collapse in post-transition states, but also under what conditions an anti-democratic mobilization occur. I argue here that being a "post-transition state" - having undergone the process of democratic transition - is an important background condition for explaining the phenomenon of anti-democratic movement. Because groups in a democratic society are afforded the freedom and space to form association, they are able to build mobilizational capacity over time. These mobilization skills, such as organizing protests, provide 8  tools for them to channel their grievances and make group demands. Without prior democratic space, societal groups will not possess sufficient mobilizational capacity for them to rebel against the very system from which they previously benefited.  Institutional blockage is a multi-pronged process. The first stage, the blockage, both in formal and informal institutions, leads groups to engage in opposition politics. They may employ a number of opposition strategies, such as protests and lobbying, to contest the closure of their access to power. The main aim for the opposition groups at this stage is to rebel against their loss of bargaining power vis-?-vis the government.   The second stage, alliance formation, takes place as various opposition groups band together to strengthen their bargaining power and increase public appeal. Often, groups that appear to be "strange bed fellows" ally with one another to create a broad-based opposition movement. In so doing, the movement becomes more diverse, cross-sectoral, and eclectic in its support base. The opposition alliance can continue to pressure the government for what they want through both anti-incumbent and pro-reform strategies.  At this stage the movement is not anti-democratic.  The third stage is what I term the anti-democratization of the movement. It occurs when opposition forces feel that they are permanently excluded from power and that their previous strategies have not returned the desired outcome. The opposition then appeals to nondemocratic institutions to intervene to get what they want. Note that merely appealing to nondemocratic sources of power does not make a movement anti-democratic. As soon as the movement's goal changes to include "subverting the democratic system" through the exercise of power of nondemocratic institutions, then a movement has become anti-democratic. If the legitimate 9  nondemocratic powers respond to such appeal, they will form an alliance that can lead to a collapse of democracy.  OVERVIEW OF THE STATE OF LITERATURE    This research asks two related but interspersed set of questions: what explains the rise of an anti-democratic movement and how does an anti-democratic movement successfully contribute to a collapse of democracy. While my theory on institutional blockage addresses both questions as one single process, it is important to discern them analytically. To understand how my theory on institutional blockage challenges existing explanation in the literature, I briefly review the literature on anti-democratic/anti-systems mobilization. ECONOMIC CRISIS/WARS       Economic Crisis ----> Anti-Democratic Mobilization   The most widely cited argument within the body of comparative literature on what explains the rise of an anti-democratic/anti-systems mobilization is an economic one. When new democracies face severe economic crisis, the public react negatively towards the regime by supporting anti-democratic/anti-system movements or political parties (Kitschelt & McGann: 1997; Brustein: 1991; Olukoshi: 1998; Allen: 1973). It is not the economic crisis per se that drives people to overthrow their democratic governments. Rather, it is how the people react to severe economic downturns that could have implications for democratic stability. Times of war or major economic downturn in a democracy provide grounds for groups to organize in opposition to the system in which they live. Much of this literature actually addresses more 10  broadly the rise of "anti-systems" movements, which include extreme right-wing, extreme left-wing and fascist mobilization.  INTRA-ELITE COMPETITION               Elite Disunity ------> Anti-Democratic Mobilization -----> Regime Breakdown   The intra-elite approach competition argues that the stability of democracy depends on elite unity. Democratic breakdown and democratic transition can occur as long as elites remain fragmented (Higley & Burton: 1989; Lopez-Pintor: 1987). An anti-democratic movement is thus largely reflective of the power struggle among rival elites (McCargo: 2008; Ockey: 2008; Nelson: 2007). Traditional elites, such as the military, can be threatened by the rise of career politicians, for instance. The men in uniform then mobilize people to help them legitimize their seizure of power from a democratically elected government. WEAK POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS    Weak Institutions + Mobilized Society ----> Anti-Democratic Mobilization   The third alternative theory argues that anti-democratic movements are most likely to thrive in places with weak political institutionalization (Huntington: 1968; Berman: 1997; Fiorina: 1997; Armony: 2004). When social mobilization outpaces political institutionalization, 11  chaos and crisis will ensue (Fukuyama: 2006).6 When weak political institutions cannot respond to the public demand for meaningful political participation in public life, the people look for other alternatives to voice their grievances. As such, where institutions fail to meet the demands of a mobilized society, we see the rise of an anti-systems movement (Berman: 1997). CLASS CONFLICT              Threat from the poor ----> Anti-democratic mobilization by the rich   The class-conflict approach contends that what gives rise to an anti-democratic mobilization is the long-standing divide between the rural poor and the urban elites. Fearful of the rising political influence of the poor, the rich mobilize against them by seeking to subvert the democratic system that gives the former the power in the first place. The anti-democratic movement is thus an upper and middle class reaction to the threat from below (Acemoglu & Robinson: 2005; Pasuk & Baker: 2008; Thitinan: 2008; Funston et al: 2009; Hewison: 2012). An implicit assumption in this class-based framework is that economic positions shape groups in society along class lines and motivate their behavior. Inequal distribution of power across different groups in society also plays a key role in a class struggle.                                                          6 Fukuyama, F. (2006, 2nd ed.). "Preface" In Huntington, S. Political order in changing societies. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. xiv. 12  POLITICAL LEADERSHIP             Leadership failure ---> Anti-Democratic Mobilization ----> Regime Breakdown   The extent to which a democratic regime survives depends on elite choices (Linz: 1978; O'Donnell & Schmitter: 1986; Malloy & Seligson: 1987; Ake: 1991). This elite-centric approach argues that decisions made by elites are crucial to regime change. While recognizing the importance of structural factors, elites decide when a regime change occurs. When elites are not committed to democratic ideas, democracy is always unstable. One interpretation of the importance of political leadership to regime change concern explanations for the rise of anti-systems parties and ethnic conflicts. Ake (1991: 34) argues that "bad leadership" explains ethnic conflicts in Africa as elites mobilize people against adversarial groups. Bermeo (2003) contends that extremist parties in interwar Europe and Latin America are driven by elites, not the masses.   If one of these approaches can explain the case of the PAD Movement in Thailand, we would expect to observe the following indicators. For the economic approach to be correct, the PAD movement would emerge following a major financial crisis. The PAD supporters should cite economic hardship as a key driving force for movement participation and mobilization. Movement leaders should engage in economy-centered discourse to mobilize their supporters. The political leadership approach would be suitable for the Thai case if the PAD movement represents a form of elite manipulation of the mass for their own benefits. Elites would be the main driving force of the movement and once they get want they want, the movement should collapse. For the weak institutionalization approach to hold for the Thai case, the PAD 13  movement should be mobilized at a time when democratic institutions are failing to meet the demands for the majority of the people.  If the class-based approach were to explain the rise of an anti-democratic movement, we would anticipate the PAD to be mobilized based on class interests. If the PAD is composed of upper and middle class, then its interests will be shaped by fear of losing their power and privileges to the rural poor. As for the intra-elite competition approach, we would expect to see the PAD being mobilized by elite interests only. The monarchy, military and bureaucracy would play a major role in driving the opposition forces. The coup d'?tat would also occur regardless of the level of popular support. THE CASE OF THAILAND   Thailand is among the oldest democracies in Southeast Asia. With the introduction of democratic politics in the 1970s, Thailand became the second democracy in the region, following the Philippines.7 Despite a rather tumultuous political development, many had high hopes that Thailand, in the 1990s, would be the beacon of democracy in Southeast Asia (Neher: 1996; Bertrand: 1998; Bunbongkarn: 1999).  If democracy were to survive in this nation of 65 million, there was hope for neighboring states such as Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia that transition to democracy could be achieved. Moreover, Thailand is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, and ranks 23rd in economy size8, according to the World Bank. The Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, which originated from Thailand, taught expensive lessons to its political leaders. They steered the economy out of the global sovereign debt meltdown in 2009, leaving the country's economy relatively unscathed. With the ASEAN Economic Community in the making, which                                                      7 See Polity IV Score: Marshall, M. (2012). Polity IV Project: Political regime characteristics and transitions, 1800-2012. Accessed on May 5, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/polity4.htm.  8 Note: Measured by GDP (PPP), 2011. 14  would allow free movement of goods and labor within this region of 600 million people, Thailand stands as one of the most important engines of Southeast Asia's growth.  Thaksin Shinawatra - a billionaire cum politician - who came to power in 2001, became the first Thai prime minister to ever win an absolute majority in parliament and to have served a full four-year term. His remarkable leadership was marked by sweeping reforms, welfare policies and corruption scandals - drawing both affection and revulsion from the public. Dissolution and opposition to his rule among some sections of the public was growing and various protest groups were spilling on to the streets by 2004. When Thaksin won yet another landslide election in 2005, opposition forces rapidly escalated. The breaking point came when Thaksin sold his family's Shin Corporation to Singapore-based Temasek Holdings for 73.3 billion Baht ($2.4 billion) without paying any taxes - causing massive outcry among the opposition forces.  In 2005, sustained broad-based popular mobilization against the democratically elected government of Thaksin Shinawatra nearly brought the capital, Bangkok, to a complete halt. In fact, some of the demonstrators had been protesting since 2004, while more opposition groups poured onto the streets demanding the resignation of Thaksin. By early 2006, the opposition forces to the Thaksin government united under a loosely organized movement, called the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), or more locally known as the "Yellow Shirts," calling for the ouster of his government. As the situation intensified, leaders of the PAD movement appealed to the military and the much revered monarchy to "step in" to resolve this political deadlock and bring Thailand out of this "tyrannical regime." The first intervention came from the judiciary as the courts annulled the results of the April 2006 election, which all major political parties had boycotted. Despite this, the Thaksin government refused to back down. Eventually, the military staged a coup d'?tat in September 2006, successfully ousting Thaksin 15  Administration. The PAD hailed this as a success for the movement and continued to push for systematic reforms in the country's polity that would do away with some key aspects of the democratic system.   Thailand became the richest nation to have had a successful coup d'?tat in the past few decades.9 With its GNI per capita (PPP) close to $7,000, this "upper middle income" country, according to the World Bank classification, should not have seen a day of army tanks rolling into its streets. Indeed, Przeworski et al. (1996, p. 41), predicted in their influential piece, What Makes Democracies Endure, that ?[a]bove $6,000, democracies are impregnable and can be expected to live forever: no democratic system has ever fallen in a country where per capita income exceeds $6,055." The collapse of democracy in Thailand sent reverberation across the Pacific, with the Fijian coup leader, Commodore Voreque Bainimarama, citing Thailand as an "inspiration" for his successful coup in December, 2006.10 As this research will show, the causes for the recent collapse of the Thai democracy were political, not economic. Understanding what happened in this relatively well-off, seemingly stable, important Southeast Asian nation helps reveal much about the state of democracy in the developing world.   Thailand makes a compelling case for the purposes of this research because it empirically defies the existing three dominant approaches on explaining anti-democratic/anti-system movements. The economic approach cannot account for why, empirically, we do not always observe an anti-systems movement following severe economic crises. The economic approach expects a rise of an anti-systems government during severe economic downturn, yet the PAD movement in Thailand came about during the period of economic growth.                                                       9 Marshall, M. (2012). Coups d'etat, 1946-2012. INCSR. Accessed on May 5, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.systemicpeace.org/inscr/inscr.htm. 10 New Zealand Herald. (2006, December 5). Clark: Bainimarama attempting 'Thai-style coup." Accessed on May 5, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10413816. 16   The Thai case also defies the assumptions of the political institutionalization argument for two reasons. First, the Thaksin government was responding to the people. He was, after all, a populist leader who actually delivered on his campaign promises. It is not the case that his government failed to respond to popular demand for meaningful political participation. Furthermore, the weak political institution argument cannot tell us specifically when democratic collapse may occur. Under what conditions do states that are weakly institutionalized experience a breakdown? It falls short of explaining the timing and sequence of the PAD movement's emergence - why it came about now and in this order?  Lastly, an elite-centric approach is not suitable to explaining the PAD because it does not take into account the critical role the masses play in bringing down a democratic regime. Of course, elites are necessary for a democratic breakdown - without them to execute the actual overthrow of an elected government; the regime collapse is not possible. However, to say that the PAD did not play a critical role in the decisions and strategies of the coup plotters would be a major mistake. The September 2006 coup was contingent upon mass support for the success and legitimacy of the coup itself.  The two dominant case-specific approaches to understanding the Yellow Shirts in Thailand explain them as either class-based conflicts or intra-elite conflicts.  These approaches, while correctly highlighting the basic grievances, are inadequate because they do not sufficiently explain the timing and organization of movement mobilization. This research does not reject the utility of the class-based explanations but finds them to be ?static? and unable to illuminate on when and how anti-democratic movement emerges. Class and inequality in Thailand do capture the structural basis that underlies the grievances of the PAD movement, but on their own they cannot elucidate why the PAD emerged at a particular time and sequence. Moreover, careful 17  analysis of the PAD's ideology and political aspirations has shown that while class played a role in the make-up of the PAD, it was not the only driving force behind the movement's emergence. The motivations for the PAD mobilization goes beyond mere class interests to incorporate other aspects of societal interests.   Furthermore, an intra-elite approach provides an incomplete account of the PAD movement. While it is correct that there is certainly some degree of intra-elite competition between the traditional versus the new elites. The interests of the traditional power brokers, the bureaucracy, the military and the monarchy, were significantly undermined by the Thaksin Administration, which prompted the former group to signal support for the PAD movement. Yet it was the mobilization of the PAD movement in opposition that created conditions for the military coup in 2006. If the PAD movement is exemplified by intra-elite competition alone, then one would expect a coup d'?tat to be launched regardless of popular support. On the contrary, the timing of the coup rested partly on the PAD movement's reaching "critical mass," which allowed the coup leaders to legitimize their extra-constitutional intervention.  Popular support prior to the putsch was crucial to triggering military intervention.  The intra-elite framework is also insufficient to explain popular support for the PAD. How did the movement garner so much support? The PAD was able to turn out tens and thousands of people in the streets and sustained them since 2005. Any such elite-centric approach overlooks the very foundation of the PAD movement: its supporters. While some figures inside the PAD's rank-and-file and some of the movement's allies are part of the political elites, the movement is not driven by these elite actors. Quite the contrary, the fact that the PAD is an alliance of many existing groups and organizations means that the movement members are 18  crucial to the mobilization strategy. Any elite-focused explanation to the PAD movement insufficiently captures the movement as a whole.    THEORY OF INSTITUTIONAL BLOCKAGE   The concept of institutional blockage explains the process by which the PAD rose. First, the PAD was composed of and driven by actors and groups in society that were not only  made worse off as a result of Thaksin's policies, but whose opposition channels to convey their grievances were closed off. This happened in both the formal and informal arenas. In the formal democratic institutions, opposition parties in the legislature and some section of the senate joined forces with the PAD movement due to their inability to oppose, or provide alternative, to the Thaksin-led absolute majority in parliament. The same was for the courts and key figures of the bureaucracy, whose powers were severed by Thaksin's rule. In the informal institutional channels, the NGO sector, labor unions and the media experienced not only the loss of their political space but also the possibilities for them to present alternatives to government positions were marginalized. All of this resentment did not culminate in the PAD movement until Thaksin and his Thai Rak Thai party won their consecutive landslide election victory in 2005. Following this, the opposition became convinced they were permanently excluded from power. This was when the PAD came together as a movement not only to oppose Thaksin collectively, but to also appeal to the monarchy and the military to intervene.  METHODOLOGY   This research is based on fieldwork conducted in Thailand from 2009 to 2013. Key qualitative research methodologies utilized in this work included: participant observation, semi-structured interviews, archival data research, statistical analysis, discursive analysis, and public 19  opinion survey (see Appendix D). The majority of the interviews conducted for this dissertation were drawn from field work trips in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Interviews were targeted at the following key groups: PAD's top national and local leaders, activists, media, security forces, politicians, military officers, protesters, police, academics, and government officials. To obtain a balanced view on the political crisis in Thailand, interviews were also conducted with the Red Shirts, a pro-Thaksin movement that emerged following the coup. My interviews helped me gain a context-specific understanding of the relationships among the different forces that contributed to the collapse of democracy in Thailand. Specifically, I have gained a nuanced understanding of the motivations and aspirations behind why ordinary people joined this anti-democratic movement. A list of interviewees and their details are provided in the Appendix.  To test the argument on institutional blockage, I created a new database on protest activities across Thailand between 1991 and 2011. The statistical analysis based on these data allowed me to map the cycle of contention both before and after the democratic breakdown in 2006, categorized in types and modes of opposition. I was also able to identify "critical moments" in each period of the protest cycle as the movement ebbed and flowed over time. I also used a number of digital tools to map the PAD's membership and support base and predict its movement strategy. Frequently, the research was conducted at the PAD movement's headquarter - Baan Pra Athit - and the New Politics Party headquarter, Bangkok.   Over the span of seven years I attended numerous PAD rallies, which proved crucial to my analysis of the PAD discourse. Given the dynamic and fluid nature of this political movement, it was imperative to be present at various activities of the movement to gain a nuanced understanding of the movement's goals, strategies and discourse. While attending protest rallies, I always maintained my position as a researcher and communicated to others as 20  such. The PAD is arguably the world's first live movement - its entire activities during much of its existence were broadcast through its satellite channels. Watching the PAD rallies at times seemed like watching TV shows. There were many elements of "production" of mass media involved. As such, understanding the message the PAD sent out to its members both at the rallies and on screen helps make my understanding of the movement more complete. The insights I gained from this field research allowed me to develop my theory on institutional blockage with solid empirical foundations.  OUTLINE OF THE THESIS   This dissertation examines the emergence of the PAD movement from 2005 to 2011. This timeframe was chosen to reflect the three major periods of the PAD movement's development:  1) emergence (2005-2006); 2) resurgence (2008-2009) and 3) decline (2010-2011). Chapter 2 provides a more detailed discussion of my theory on institutional blockage and addresses its relation to other approaches within the existing literature. Given that my work is informed by the literature on civil society, political movement and democratic breakdown, the frameworks, arguments and underlying these theoretical assumptions will be spelled out in greater detail to allow for close examination. I will then show how these existing theories were inadequate for explaining the emergence of the PAD movement. I then briefly analyze recent examples of democratic breakdowns in Venezuela, Honduras and Bangladesh to illustrate both their similarities and differences to the Thai case.   Chapter 3 introduces Thailand as the main case in this study. It argues that Thailand's political and economic structures make its democracy conducive to a breakdown. Specifically, I discuss the importance of the military and the monarchy - key nondemocratic bodies in Thailand - in understanding the trajectory of Thai politics. I then analyze other key factors that provide 21  grounds for democratic collapse in Thailand: 1) frequent coup d'?tats; 2) support for nondemocratic figures/institutions among the public; and 3) previous episodes of major popular mobilization.   Chapter 4 charts the origin of the PAD movement. I argue that the ideological foundations that underpin the PAD had its roots in the 1990s, following the 1992 Black May Uprising and its subsequent political and economic reforms. This is a period of liberalization in both political and economic arena, despite highly unstable governments and a major financial crisis. Chapter 5 examines the Thaksin regime and the emergence of the PAD as a political movement. It seeks to understand the conditions for the ousting of the Thaksin government in 2006. This chapter illustrates the first two stages of my institutional blockage theory: formal and informal institutional blockage and opposition alliance formation.   Chapter 6 is at the heart of the institutional blockage theory. It discusses the process of anti-democratization of the PAD movement. The main argument is that the PAD movement resorts to nondemocratic sources of power and authority due to the failure of other strategies. I also advance the claim that the coup d'?tat in 2006 was a choice - a product of a number of strategic interactions between opposition forces and the Thaksin government. Chapter 7 addresses the post-coup PAD and its decline in 2010. This section uses the post-coup PAD mobilization as a within-case variation: an anti-democratic movement still remained, but democracy survived. The chapter's main argument is that the conditions of institutional blockage were not present during this period. As such, the PAD's opposition declined in its popularity and effectiveness. Opposition elites did not see the need to engage in extra-constitutional means.   Chapter 8 reviews alternative explanations to the rise of the PAD movement and reiterates the utility of my institutional blockage theory. The chapter concludes with a discussion 22  of the theoretical contributions of an anti-democratic movement in Thailand to the studies of democracy, social movement and democratic consolidation. It also provides a summary and discusses implications for the generalizability of my theoretical contributions to other cases.                    23  2. ANTI-DEMOCRATIC MOBILIZATION AND THE BREAKDOWN OF DEMOCRACY    "One does not establish a dictatorship to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to safeguard dictatorship."  - George Orwell    INTRODUCTION   Since the publication of the seminal Transitions from Authoritarian Rule (O'Donnell et al.: 1986), where scholars debated the possibility of and the way in which democratization occurs in authoritarian setting,  the world has become much more democratic. Democracy has truly emerged as the dominant regime type, and sophisticated public opinion tools have shown greater popular support for democracy.11 In 1989, there were 69 electoral democracies, accounting for 40% of the regime types worldwide. This figure jumped to 117 electoral democracies in 2012, accounting for 60% of the world.12 This period, broadly speaking, is considered as "democratic ascendency" (Gilley: 2010, 160) whereby the number of democratic regimes far outstripped that                                                      11 See various regional barometers.  12 Freedom House. (2013). Freedom in the World. Accessed on June 10, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2013. 24  of their authoritarian counterparts. This should be cause for optimism for scholars of democratization.   Yet the past decade has been marred by a decline of freedom and instances of democratic reversal. Freedom House 2013 annual survey reports that more countries have experienced deterioration in their freedom than the countries that made improvements on it for every consecutive year since 2004. "This represents the longest continuous period of decline for global freedom in the nearly 40-year history of the report," according to Freedom House.13  Larry Diamond (2009) notes that one in every five democracies since the mid-1970s had experienced a breakdown and of the 29 democratic collapses during the period, 17 of them occurred in the last decade alone.14 Huntington's Third Wave of Democracy (1991) devoted significant space in its later chapters to warning scholars of the "reverse wave" resulting from powerful militaries, authoritarian nostalgia, weak democratic values and the breakdown of law and order. Fukuyama's the End of History and the Last Man (1992) also cautions that the world will continue to be vulnerable to anti-democratic movements as long as human beings have a desire to dominate. It remains inconclusive that democracy is a final form of government.  Recent democratic breakdowns have raised the question of not only their causes but what such collapses tell us about the state of democracy prior to the regime breakdown. Indeed understanding authoritarian resurgence should tell us as much about the authoritarian tendencies as the nature of the democratic regime prior to its collapse. This research seeks to contribute to the issue of how the "quality" of democracy may be crucial for regime stability. As O'Donnell et al. (2004, xiii) argue "The happy fact of the recent emergence of numerous democratic regimes                                                      13 Freedom House. (2012). Freedom in the world. Accessed on June 10, 2011. Retrieved from http://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2012. 14 Note: This figure is as of 2009. Diamond's (2009) classification of democratic breakdown includes democracies that are outright overthrown or gradually stifled. 25  cannot, and, should not, conceal the fact that the workings and impacts of the respective governments and states evince wide variations. Variations that run from acceptable to rather dismal performance have important consequences." Among the democracies that collapsed in the last decade, the pattern of the breakdown has been one of tremendous variation. Some states were extremely poor, while others were as well off as any developing democracies. Just about half of these states had a presidential system, while the others were parliamentarian democracies prior to the breakdown. Given that the collapsed democracies are drawn from across continents, contagion does not seem to be driving these breakdowns. All in all, the variation that exists among the collapsed democracies is as great as the ones still standing (Table 2).  Popular support for democratic reversal has been crucial to the success of regime change in several countries in the last decade. After the Egyptian uprising that toppled a 30-year-old regime of Hosni Mubarak, many of the Egyptian "revolutionaries" found themselves calling out for extra-constitutional powers to remove their elected leader, Mohamed Morsi. In the summer of 2013, the army ousted Morsi from power - much to the delight of tens of thousands of Egyptians. In Bangladesh, the military intervention in January 2007 was "widely welcomed" by civil society and the international community.15 "The aspiring new middle class is quite happy to use the military and unfair political means...to pave the way for their own entry into leadership position," explains Ghoshalof the middle class' support of the coup.16                                                          15 International Crisis Group. (2008, April 28). Restoring democracy in Bangladesh. Asia Report (151). Accessed on June 10, 2011. Retrieved from  http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/asia/southasia/bangladesh/151_restoring_democracy_in_bangladesh.pdf. 16 Ghoshal, S. (2009). The anatomy of military interventions in Asia: the Case of Bangladesh.  India Quarterly: A Journal of International Affairs 65(1): 67-82.  26  TABLE 2: INCIDENTS OF DEMOCRATIC COLLAPSE BY COUP D'?TAT, 2000-2012 Country Year Outcome Type of government GNP, PPP year of collapse Support for democratic breakdown Nepal 20022005 Successful Parliamentary $960 Upper caste, palace circle Venezuela 2002 Successful (short lived) Presidential $7770 Business class, middle class, state enterprise Thailand 2006 Successful Parliamentary $6890 Civil society, middle class, labor, royalist-conservative groups Fiji 2006 Successful Parliamentary $4340 Rival ethnic groups Bangladesh 2007 Successful Parliamentary $1470 Civil society, International community, middle class Honduras 2009 Successful Presidential $3700 Political elites, US, evangelicals, Church, Mali 2012 Successful Presidential $1040 Farmers, civil society workers Egypt 2013 Successful Parliamentary $6,640 Secular groups, Christian groups, students  Source: Compiled by author. * World Bank, GNI PPP per capita (US International) Note: "Successful coups" refers to ones that result in a regime change and transfer of power       27   How do we explain these recent examples of popular support for nondemocratic rule? Why do people in a democracy call out for military intervention to oust their elected leaders? To answer these puzzling questions, my dissertation advances the following claims. I argue that anti-democratic mobilization occurs when mobilized societal groups feel "cornered" and are unable to channel their grievances through democratic institutions. They form opposition groups to regain their access to power in a democratic polity. If the opposition forces perceive their exclusion from power to be permanent in the foreseeable future, they rebel against the system by appealing to nondemocratic institutions and by so doing undermining the democratic polity. If these nondemocratic bodies respond to the opposition groups, a democratic breakdown occurs.  The choice made by nondemocratic institutions to ally with anti-democratic movements and do away with the democratic systems depends largely on their "perceived" level of public support for the opposition movement. In other words, if nondemocratic bodies see that the anti-democratic movement garners sufficient support to legitimize extra-constitutional acts, then democracy will likely collapse. As such, a mobilized, popular anti-democratic movement creates conditions for a democratic breakdown. I show in detail in the empirical chapters how nondemocratic institutions in Thailand were reactive to the growing opposition mobilization against the democratic government. This is not the case that nondemocratic institutions were going to stage a coup regardless of whether or not people were calling for it. It was the anti-democratic movement that made a coup possible.  This chapter proceeds as follows. The first section defines the main subject of study - anti-democratic mobilization - and demonstrates a considerable variation in the make-up and orientation of anti-democratic movements in recent instances of democratic breakdown. I then provide a typology of opposition movements, categorizing them based on mobilization goals. 28  Such typology helps to distinguish empirically and analytically the difference between anti-incumbent and anti-democratic movements.   In the second section I review the current literature on the determinants of anti-democratic movements, explaining why none of the existing theories can fully account for the rise of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in Thailand, although each has useful insights on which I build my argument. I emphasize here that my theoretical claims are not incompatible with the prominent structural-based frameworks, such as class and intra-elite. While I recognize the utility of these approaches in getting at the structural foundations of the grievances that underly the basis for the PAD?s emergence, they cannot account for why the PAD arose when it did. More importantly, these approaches tend to be ?structural? in nature and they do not fully account for the ?agency? of the movement. The emergence of this anti-democratic movement in Thailand is not a ?natural progression? of the existing inequality or elite fragmentation in Thailand. Rather, it is contingent upon a number of strategic choices made by various societal groups. The paradox of the Thai case, for the study of comparative politics, is not only that the PAD emerged and succeeded in overthrowing a democratic regime, it was also because the PAD was largely supported by the middle class and civil society agents. While the PAD is not an explicitly class-based mobilization, the major role played by the Thai middle class in the makeup of the movement has important implications for our understanding of the relationship between the middle class and democratic stability. Moreover, the emergence of the PAD was initiated and widely supported by civil society actors. Again, why civil society agents would support anti-democratic mobilization presents another puzzling fact of the Thai case.  29   The third section presents a theory linking the rise of anti-democratic mobilization to the problem of institutional blockage. In this section I outline the process of institutional blockage by dividing it into four stages: 1) institutional blockage (formal and informal); 2) opposition alliance formation; 3) anti-democratization and 4) alliance with nondemocratic institutions. At each stage, I describe the logic and the process of the conditions under which each stage occurs. The fourth section discusses the project's broader contribution to the field of comparative politics. The fifth section briefly discusses the novel ways in which this research breaks new grounds in the study of Thai politics, particularly as it relates to the current ongoing political conflict. WHAT IS ANTI-DEMOCRATIC MOBILIZATION?   I adopt a minimalist definition of democracy advanced by Przeworski et al. (2000). This is a procedural definition that focuses on the issue of "contestation." According to Przeworski, democracy is defined as followed (2000, 19-20):  1. Ex-ante, a possibility that an incumbent may lose an election; 2. Ex-post irreversibility, an assurance that an election winner?s will take office; 3. Elections must be repeated. Democracy is thus ?a regime that fills executive and legislative bodies through free and contested elections; has more than one party and the opposition has some chance of winning" (Przeworski et al.: 2000, 19). Given that this is a minimalist definition of democracy that largely focuses on the mechanism of free and fair elections, it becomes an "easy" test to determine what would constitute an anti-democratic movement. If a movement forms that opposes the principle of holding elections and supports extra-constitutional interventions, then it is "anti-democratic." I choose to use this procedural definition because it presents a clear-cut yard stick that can be measured against. For analytical purpose, it is more advantageous to use this basic definition 30  than other more substantive, and ultimately complex, definitions of democracy that can encompass so many factors that they become a slippery slope.  Anti-democratic mobilization refers to a movement of individuals and groups mobilized to subvert the political system's holding competitive, free and fair elections. Movements that support extra-constitutional measures to undermine democratic regime are also regarded as anti-democratic. These factors represent a minimum requirement for a movement to be opposing the democratic system. There are other indicators that would qualify a movement as being anti-democratic as well. These indicators include: a) support for extra-constitutional intervention; b) support for unelected political leadership; c) support for strong involvement in politics from nondemocratic institutions/actors; and d) support for an appointed legislature. These indicators help to analytically and theoretically distinguish anti-democratic mobilization from anti-incumbent movements. Sometimes it is unclear to what extent a particular movement actually opposes the principles of democracy or merely opposes a particular elected government. There are many reasons why ordinary people would protest against their elected government, but one needs to be able to discern whether they are against the democratic system or just want to get rid of the incumbent.   The case of anti-democratic mobilization is far more dangerous to the stability of the democratic system than other types of anti-establishment or anti-government movement because the former seeks to subvert the democratic regime. The anti-Morsi movements in Egypt were calling for the military to step in: they were upset at Morsi but they also actively supported extra-constitutional intervention. As such, the movements are considered to be anti-democratic.   31   FIGURE 1: INDICATORS FOR ANTI-DEMOCRATIC MOBILIZATION Minimum  Oppose competitive free & fair elections    Support for extra-constitutional intervention  Additional  1. Support for unelected political leadership Indicators  2. Support for strong involvement of nondemocratic     institutions in politics    3. Support for an appointed legislature  TYPOLOGY OF OPPOSITION MOVEMENTS   Opposition movements are neither monolithic nor unidirectional. In much of the literature and empirical work on opposition politics, opposition movements are often perceived in positive light as a collective action against something "bad" - be it a regime, a government or a leader.17 I argue here that there are three key types of opposition movement - each with its own characteristics and raison d'?tre for mobilization. In general, an opposition movement forms to contest either specific policy or the general direction of the government. Once formed, an opposition movement takes on one of these three forms: 1) pro-reform; 2) anti-incumbent and 3) anti-democratic. These typologies help to differentiate analytically and empirically the nature of opposition by distinguishing the goals, channels and methodologies of opposition mobilization.                                                      17 For example, see: Bernhard, M. (1993). Civil society and democratic transition in East Central Europe. Political Science Quarterly 108(2): 307-326; Kurzman, C. (1996). Structural opportunity and perceived opportunity in social movement theory: the Iranian revolution of 1979. American Sociological Review 61(1): 153-170; Rodan, G. (Ed.) (1996). Political opposition in industrialising Asia. Routledge: NY; Aminzade, R. et al. (2001). Silence and voice in the study of contentious politics. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.  32  Pro-reform opposition movement seeks to propose policy alternatives, while anti-incumbent movements seek executive or government replacement. Neither is intent on subverting the democratic system.  Anti-democratic mobilization, which is the main focus of this study, is a distinct type of opposition movement whose characteristics differ largely from other forms of opposition mobilization. For an anti-democratic movement, government change is not the desired outcome. Unlike other types of opposition mobilization, anti-democratic movement carries the highest costs and is considered a "last resort" strategy. The theory set forth in this study outlines the conditions under which an anti-democratic movement can occur to overthrow elected government.  Opposition movements that are pro-reform seek to address their grievances through proposing policy alternatives to the incumbent. They channel their demands through formal institutional means in a democratic system, such as petitioning their MPs, demonstration, lobbying relevant stakeholders, and campaigning. It is imperative that pro-reform opposition movements offer policy alternatives. The option of pro-reform as a strategy for mobilization for opposition movement is most likely to occur in a democratic setting where public channels for voicing grievances are available. A more decentralized system provides greater number of access points for citizens than its centralized counterpart.  An anti-incumbent movement is a more contentious form of opposition politics, whereby groups are mobilized to demand a change in leadership. The incumbent, for the opposition, has failed to deliver desired political outcomes and should no longer be in power. Contrary to the pro-reform opposition movement, its anti-incumbent counterpart does not necessarily propose policy alternatives. In many cases, anti-incumbent movements demand leadership resignation or 33  a new election. The movement would cite reasons for their opposition both in broad and specific terms, such as incumbent corruption, vote rigging, poor economy and bad policies.   There is no necessary reason for why pro-reform, anti-incumbent or anti-democratic types of mobilization should logically follow each other. One can observe empirically opposition movements that have the characteristics of both being pro-reform and anti-incumbent. Alternatively, a particular opposition movement can first be one of pro-reform and then evolve into an anti-incumbent movement, or vice-versa. However, anti-democratic typically should be the last option used as a result of the failures of the other two options precisely because it is the most costly option for an opposition movement. Subverting an entire political system requires a complete regime change, which means a significant portion of the political elites have to endorse such vision. Those with power, especially if they are elected, will not give up such coveted positions easily. Moreover, appealing to powerful, nondemocratic sources of power is not always an available option for opposition movements and may entail serious risks. EXISTING EXPLANATIONS   Examining how democratic institutions give rise to a popular anti-democratic movement is the key task this research accomplishes. How do democratic institutions shape the behavior and strategic calculation of political actors in ways that they may want to overthrow the regime altogether? Why do ordinary people and civic groups join force to subvert the democratic system? This research paints a complex, yet often overlooked, picture of how the public plays an important part in its country's democratic demise. It is in the tracing of the anti-democratic movement emergence and development that is at the heart of this work.   34  COMPARATIVE LITERATURE   Existing scholarship highlights that there are three key factors that explain the rise of an anti-democratic and/or anti-systems movement in new democracies. The most widely cited argument is an economic one. When new democracies face severe economic crisis, the public react negatively towards the regime by supporting anti-democratic/anti-system movements or political parties (Berg-Schlosser: 1998; Kitschelt: 1997; Brustein: 1991; Olukoshi: 1998; Allen: 1973). It is not the economic crisis per se that drives people to overthrow their democratic governments; rather, it is how the people react to severe economic downturns that could have implications for democratic stability. Sartori (1976) argues that severe economic adversity prompts people to vacate the center and move towards the extreme left or right wings of the political spectrum. Sartori's argument has found traction in a number of later scholarships particularly one that seeks to explain the rise of fascism, communism and Nazism in Europe (Saich: 1990; Lewis: 1997; Daalder: 1984; Williams: 1971).    In the Nazi Seizure of Power (1973) Allen attributed dire economic situation as a driving force behind the success of the Nazi movement: "There is no doubt that the progressive despair of the jobless, as reflected in the longer and longer periods of unemployment, weakened the forces of democracy?In the face of the mounting economic crisis, Thalburgers were willing to tolerate approaches that would have left them indignant or indifferent under other circumstances."18 Similarly, Lyttleton (1973, p. 41) argues that the professional classes in Italy                                                      18 Allen, W. (1973). The Nazi seizure of power: the experience of a single German town 1930-1935. NY: New Viewpoints, p. 276. 35  joined the fascism movement as they "faced with a serious decline in living standards and with their social function denied by proletarian socialism."19   A second approach, political leadership, argues that leadership failure accounts for the demise of democracy. Nancy Bermeo's seminal work, Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times, shows in her investigation of 17 cases of democratic collapse in Europe and Latin America that people may throw democracy off course but hardly do so with their votes. Political elites either misunderstand or manipulate public polarization (i.e. protests, strikes, opinion polls) for their own gain and act on their own conviction to the demise of democracy. Bermeo refers to this condition as "elite ignorance" (Bermeo, p. 228). Why people in states like Weimar Germany, interwar Italy or crisis-prone Argentina mobilized against democratic governments in the first place was a result of multitude of factors above and beyond economic crises. No matter how people become polarized, she argues, elites are the ones who bring down democratic regimes. Fascist movement in Italy, for example, despite Mussolini's efforts in appealing to the mass, did not come close to achieving a popular mandate. The real breakdown of democracy in Italy came as a result of miscalculations by the monarchy, which essentially empowered Mussolini.20   This fits well with some broader argument many scholars make that democratic transitions and breakdowns are ultimately the products of elite choices (O'Donnell et al.: 1986; Lopez-Pintor: 1987; Linz & Stepan: 1978). Linz & Stepan's (1978) oft-cited work, the Breakdown of Democratic Regimes, argues that structuralist approaches, such as macro social and economic conditions, used to explain democratic breakdowns are too deterministic. Rather, they purport that poor leadership quality - particularly incumbent democratic leaders -                                                      19 Lyttelton, Adrian. (1973). The Seizure of power: Fascism in Italy 1919-1929.  Princeton: University of Princeton, p. 41. 20 Woolf, S. (Ed.). (2002). Nationalism in Europe: From 1815 to the Present. Routledge. 36  contributed to the collapse of democratic regimes 21 . Democratic rulers must believe in the persistence of democratic institutions for the regime to survive.22   A third alternative theory argues that anti-democratic movements are most likely to thrive in places with weak political institutionalization (Huntington: 1968; Berman: 1997; Fiorina: 1997; Armony: 2004). When social mobilization outpaces political institutionalization, chaos and crisis will ensue (Fukuyama: 2006).23 When weak political institutions do not respond to the public demand for meaningful political participation in public life, citizens are driven to look for other alternatives to voice their grievances.   One interpretation of this Huntingtonian argument on "political decay" is made by Berman (1997), who argues that democracy can breakdown when the regime cannot meet growing public needs in a highly mobilized society. Berman believes the poorly designed and weak political institutions in the Weimar Republic exacerbated social cleavages, which in turn prompted mobilized and organized Germans to devote their energies to associational life. Weimar collapsed because of the party system's failure to channel conflicting demands of a very vibrant civil society. The Nazi movement, on the other hand, was able to appeal to the German associational life and take over, where political institutions had failed.   Rapid mobilization of social forces and slow development of political institutions can create instability and disorder in a number of ways (Huntington: 1968). First, traditional sources of power may intervene to restore "order" when faced with social instability. The military and the civilian bureaucracy, if they are more developed than political institutions, will be encouraged to "intervene" because of the incompetence of politicians and political institutions                                                      21 Linz, Juan J. & Stepan, A. C. (Eds.). (1978). The breakdown of democratic regimes, Latin America (Vol. 3). Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 12. 22 Ibid, p. 13. 23 Fukuyama, F. (2006, 2nd ed.) In Huntington, S. Political order in changing societies, p. xiv.  37  (Riggs: 1964; Huntington: 1968). Second, when the expansion of political participation, through the process of democratization, occurs at a faster rate than the development of political parties, the polity can become overwhelmed as parties were not able to assimilate new groups.24 Low party institutionalization means that parties do not represent substantial social forces, but rather factions and individuals among the elites. In such condition, social cleavages can create rifts in society that cannot be accommodated by parties, resulting in instability. CASE-SPECIFIC LITERATURE   Two major case-specific explanations to the rise of this anti-democratic mobilization are worth noting. The most well-known arguments among observers of Thai politics is a class-based one. This approach is centered on socio-economic structural arguments that contend that what gives rise to the mass mobilization and the ongoing crisis in today?s Thailand is the long-standing divide between the rural poor and the urban elites. (Phongpaichit & Baker: 2008; 2012; Thitinan: 2008; Funston et al: 2009; Hewison & Kittirianglarp: 2009; Aeosriwong: 2010; Montesano: 2012; Hewison: 2012). Phongpaichit & Baker (2012: 221-5) convincingly argue that the middle class and the powerful oligarchic elites were threatened by Thaksin and the poor that he empowered. While Hewison (2012: 145) does not claim a direct link between class and political movements, he stresses the importance of class as a key structural factor that explains political acitivism in Thailand. The class-based explanation of the current Thai conflict is buttressed by a powerful concept of the "tale of two democracies" of Anek Laothamtas (1996) who argues that there exists a division between the Bangkok middle class and the rest of the country in the way they understand democracy.                                                       24 Huntington, S. (1968). Political order in changing societies. New Haven: Yale University Press, p. 398. 38  Alternatively, other scholars view the PAD as largely reflective of the power struggle between traditional versus new elites. Elite disunity can breed political instability and create a condition in which government executive power can be subject to seizures by force (Sanders: 1981; Higley & Burton: 1989; Londregan & Poole: 1990). Coup d'?tats occur because military elites' interests are being threatened or neglected by political elites in the democratic system. So the former overthrows the latter to regain its prominence (Nordlinger: 1976; Li & Thompson: 1975; Kennedy & Louscher: 1991). The traditional power holders in Thailand, the monarchy-military-bureaucracy trio, were threatened by the emergence of business elites prompting them to mobilize an anti-democratic mass movement. Following the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 this business class became actively involved in politics, further threatening the interests of the traditional power brokers. The latter conservative establishment perceived the new business elites as a threat to their own power and so mounted a series of opposition to Thaksin's regime, including mobilizing the PAD movement. OBSERVABLE IMPLICATIONS   Table 3 provides a summary of observable implications for each theoretical approach to explaining the rise of anti-democratic mobilization. If one of these approaches can explain the case of the PAD Movement in Thailand, we would expect to observe the following indicators. For the economic crisis approach to be correct, the PAD movement would emerge following a major financial crisis. The PAD supporters should cite economic hardship as a key driving force for movement participation and mobilization. Movement leaders should engage in economy-centered discourses to mobilize their mass support. The leadership failure approach would be suitable for the Thai case if we see a divergence on ideological orientations and voting preferences of both the masses and the elites of the PAD movement. Elites should also show - 39  TABLE 3: APPROACHES TO EXPLAINING ANTI-DEMOCRATIC MOBILIZATION (ADM) Approach What gives rise to ADM? Observable Implications Economic Crisis Economic downturns prompt people to rebel against democracy - Economic crisis - Public mobilization discourse citing economic crisis as key - Democratic system blamed for crisis - Democratic collapses following major economic crises Political Leadership Elites not committed to democracy and drive anti-democratic movement - Elites incite mobilization to subvert democratic system - Mass plays little role in ADM mobilization - Mass and elite interests differ on what to do with democratic system (and elites being anti-democratic) Weak Institutions Democratic institutions unable to meet popular needs - Weak multi-party coalition government that is highly unstable - Unresponsive government in faced of mobilized public - Government ineffective; unable to perform basic governance - Mobilized mass looking for alternative form of governance Class Conflict Urban elites in conflict with the mass of rural poor - Division between poor v rich or urban v rural (or both) critical to ADM mobilization - Undemocratic upper/middle class threatened by empowered lower class - Economic position in society a defining factor that shapes group interests - Uneven distribution of power across class Intra-Elite Conflict Conflict among different groups of elites over spoil - Division within elite circle cause for democratic collapse - Little involvement of the mass in ADM mobilization - Elites not citing mass as imperative to their overthrow of elected government Institutional Blockage Channels for opposition in formal and informal institutions blocked - likely to last permanently - Channels for opposition grievances closed; ineffective; ignored - Loss of access to power by organized groups - Marginalization of opposition groups - Discourse and demands of oppositition for anti-democratic solutions - Support for intervention from nondemocratic institutions  40  little commitment to democracy, be it by analyzing their behavior or discourse. Moreover, for the weak institutionalization approach to hold for the Thai case, the PAD movement should be mobilized at a time when democratic institutions are failing to meet the demands for the people.  For these case-specific explanations to hold true for the PAD Movement, we would expect to observe the following conditions. For the class-based approach to explain this anti-democratic movement, we would anticipate the PAD to be mobilized based on class interests. If the PAD is composed of upper and middle class members, then its interests will be shaped by fear of losing economic interests and power to the rural poor, which prompted urban rich to subvert the democratic system. As for the intra-elite conflict approach, we would expect to see the PAD being mobilized by elite interests only. The monarchy, military and bureaucracy would play a major role in driving the opposition forces. FLAWS OF EXISTING EXPLANATIONS    There are a number of reasons why both empirically and theoretically existing approaches discussed above cannot fully account for the emergence of the PAD movement in Thailand. This section evaluates existing explanations for anti-democratic/anti-systems movements and democratic breakdowns. I advance a claim that existing scholarship on these issues have its theoretical limitations as it cannot explain the phenomenon of the PAD movement in Thailand and potentially in other cases with similar anti-democratic movements.  The PAD movement arose during periods of sustained economic growth in Thailand. For the economic crisis argument to hold, economic downturns need to be the driving force behind an anti-democratic mobilization. Yet, between 2002 and 2006 when the opposition against the Thaksin government began, the GDP growth was 6% (see Figure 2). Following the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, which left Thailand at near bankruptcy, Thaksin's administration was 41  not only able to restore the economy, but also pay back the IMF loans that had forced previous governments to cut critical social spending. While the economic growth did not match that of the pre-crisis period, the overall economic conditions when the PAD Movement emerged were good. Consequently, a major flaw with the financial crisis approach is precisely that it cannot explain anti-democratic mobilization during an economic boom. More broadly, the approach often falls in the opposite direction as well as many countries that face severe economic downturns do not see mobilization against democracy (Roberts & Wibbels: 1999; MacIntyre: 2001; Levitsky & Murillo: 2003).    FIGURE 2: THAILAND'S GDP GROWTH (ANNUAL)  Source: World Bank      42  The Huntingtonian arguments regarding weak institutions being the key factors for anti-democratic mobilization are not appropriate in explaining the Thai case given the mass popularity of the Thaksin government. As chapters 4 and 5 will show in detail, the Thai Rak Thai government of Thaksin was initially the most popular and most responsive to the electorate in the country's democratic history. The weak institution argument is useful to explain cases where institutions fail to respond to popular demands, prompting the public to lose confidence in the democratic system and look for alternatives. However, the Thaksin government's policies were responding to the people. He was, after all, a populist leader who actually delivered on his campaign promises. It is not the case that his government failed to respond to popular demand for meaningful political participation. On the contrary, he successfully enfranchised the majority of Thais, whose prior engagement in politics was limited to mere voting, by bringing them in to be an active part of the Thai political arena. He really gave voice to millions of Thais who had always felt "neglected" and did not understand the value of their political membership. But Thaksin was not responding to the opposition. In fact, as my theory will illustrate in detail, he was shutting the opposition out and taking their political space and access to power away, which resulted in them mobilizing to overthrow his administration.  The main caveat of the weak institution argument is that it assumes that the "mass" is one unitary actor. Yet, as the Thai case shows, while a large section of the public was satisfied with the Thaksin government and his populist policies, another large group in society felt adversely affected by its rule. My institutional blockage approach accounts for this social polarization. It is important to acknowledge the fact that society can become divisive and to assume that "all the masses" can mobilize against a system subsumes the possibility that the mass may not be unified. 43  To this end, my theory gets at the polarization in society by offering an analytical framework that can explain how some sections in society mobilize against democracy, while others do not.  Both elite-centric approaches - the political leadership and intra-elite competition - are inadequate to explaining the case of the PAD movement because they place too much emphasis on the elites. Elites are of course necessary in any democratic because they are needed to execute regime breakdown. However, in elite-centric theories the role of the mass is not properly considered in the decision making of elites whether or not to overthrow a democratic regime.   I measure the degree of "popular support" for anti-democratic mobilization by triangulating five pieces of empirical evidence drawn from my field work. Since the PAD does not have a systematic way to "count" its membership, I used the following criteria: 1) estimates of PAD protesters at peak rallies; 2) estimates of PAD media consumers; 3) numbers of supporters of PAD reform initiatives 4) the PAD's own reporting of size of supporters and 5) a survey of political attitudes towards the PAD. I provide a summary of the PAD's degree of popular support in chapter 5.  I argue here that the PAD movement is, first and foremost, a popular movement. Its emergence and development involves massive public mobilization. The grassroots and organic nature of this anti-democratic mobilization cannot be accounted by theoretical approaches that place elites at the center. If the PAD movement represents an elite-driven mobilization, then how do we explain the persistence of the movement after the regime collapse? Many of the so-called elites in the PAD movement were in power in the post-coup period, the movement continued to mobilize and wreak havoc on the streets. Elite-centric approaches cannot explain anti-democratic mobilization both before and after the 2006 coup. 44   Further, I show in chapter 6 that the 2006 coup in Thailand would not have happened without prior popular support. This claim supports my earlier argument that elite-driven approaches cannot account for neither the "why" nor the "when" of the coup. If political leadership and intra-elite conflict can explain the breakdown of democracy in Thailand, then the PAD movement would not have been a necessary component to the collapse of democracy. As this thesis illustrates in detail, the coup d'?tat was contingent on the PAD support. Not only did the coup leaders admit that popular opposition movement was crucial to their decision to overthrow an elected government, the PAD movement itself was calling for a military intervention. I also provide public opinion support for anti-democratic mobilization through the use of both surveys and polling. Immediately following the 2006 coup d'?tat, two major pollsters reported more than 80% of the respondents nationwide agreed with the coup.25 Follow-up polls showed strong public support for the coup government in the rest of 2006, but this declined in 2007.26  That class plays a key role in accounting for various episodes of political mobilization in Thailand is unquestionable. Chapter 3 and 4 provide a rich account of the nondemocratic tendencies among the Thai middle class, which fueled past mobilization. My own empirical accounts of the PAD Movement also reveal a strong component of class in the make-up of the movement supporters as well as the discourse. Howver, the main contribution of this research is not to dispute class as a key structural factor for mobilization, but to question the utility of ?class? as a framework to explain the timing and the sequence of anti-democratic mobilization. Class clevages, driven largely by economic inequality and hierarchical societal structures, are                                                      25 See: Chalaeusap, S. (2006, September 20). Public opinion on the coup. Suan Dusit Poll. Accessed May 25, 2011. Retrieved from http://dusitpoll.dusit.ac.th.; Voice TV. (2006, September 22). Public opinion on the coup and political conflict. ABAC POLL. Retrieved from http://news.voicetv.co.th/thailand/3104.html.  26 Changes in the level of public support according to polls give some indication that the polls were to some extent not under pressure from the authoritarian government. The coup government did their own poll from the military public opinion research and that shows a much stronger support for the government. 45  ?constant? features of the Thai polity. Since the mid 1980s, inequality has been on a rise,27 but we do not see anti-democratic mobilization all the time. In the same vein, an existence of powerful nondemocratic institutions in Thailand should lend the country susceptible to constant democratic breakdowns. But again, democracies do not fall apart all the time.  Structural factors such as class and powerful military tend to be ?overly deterministic? ? they subsume that as long as there are large economic gaps or the mighty military, then there would always be political mobilization and coups. I argue that these structural factors matter in so far as understanding the foundations of greivances and the frequency of coups but they do not avail themselves to explaining the ?when? and the ?how? political movements emerge. Structural factors lack the dynamism and agency that are crucial to understandind an ad-hoc and fluid movement such as the PAD. The emergence of the PAD was contingent on both structural and specific circumstances. More importantly, the development of the PAD over time suggests that its mobilization pattern was based largely on ?strategic interactions? with its opponents. Decisions to mobilize (and when to mobilize), adopt certain campaigns, and use certain language is calculated to respond to its immediate sets of circumstances. I show in detail in Chapters 5, 6 and 7 that the outcomes that emerged through the PAD mobilization was not in a vacuum but also based on the interactions with the opposing sides. Structural analysis is useful for providing the broad picture of the political struggles but on its own cannot provide the nuanced explanation of political mobilization.   Similarly, the rich-versus-poor argument oversimplifies the make-up of the PAD supporters. While the PAD is supported largely by the urban middle class, their economic positions do not drive their mobilization. What defines this conflict instead and what accounts                                                      27 Phongpaichit, P. & Baker, C. (2012). Thailand in trouble: Revolt of the downtrodden or conflict among elites? In Montesano, M., Chacahvalpongpan, P. & Chongvilaivan, A. (Eds.) Bangkok May 2010: Perspectives on a divided Thailand. Singapore: ISEAS Publishing: 214-229. 46  for why the PAD is broadly-speaking a "conservative-royalist movement" is the PAD's vision of the nature of the state and its relation with society. This is clearly, a political/ideological conflict. The PAD regards the monarchy as having a veto power and seeks to preserve the status of the monarchical institution as the pinnacle of modern Thai polity. PAD supporters also view traditional power brokers - the military and the bureaucracy, as the protectors of the constitutional monarch. Such illiberal and conservative view of the Thai political system is what defines the movement, not the economic class of its supporters.   Moreover, the revolutionary threat framework assumes elites' preferences to be static, which means that preferences for political institutions remain the same over time. Yet the various stages of the PAD development have shown that some groups join the movement and leave, while others rejoin. Thus, if the PAD was to be made up of all elites then they should always maintain their preferences and never leave the PAD. But this is empirically not true. Last, Acemoglu & Robinson pin their hope on the middle class in bringing about democratization. As the PAD movement suggests, however, its middle-class majority has serious opposition to some aspects of democracy.  EXPLAINING ANTI-DEMOCRATIC MOBILIZATION   What is an institutional blockage? I define institutional blockage as the attempt by the incumbent government to marginalize opposition voices in ways that are perceived to have eroded fundamental democratic freedoms. In a multiparty system, political opposition, both in formal and informal institutions, is afforded a number of channels and platforms to air their grievances. A democratic system also provides guarantee for fundamental civil liberties, such as freedom of speech, freedom of press and freedom of association. Institutional blockage occurs when the incumbent weakens the ability for the opposition forces to act as an effective check on 47  the abuse of government power. Further, when the opposition feels that their basic freedoms have been encroached upon and cut short by the incumbent, then their right to oppose is undermined by a democratic government.  Is the opposition marginalized because of the incumbent's majoritarianism or institutional blockage? The key difference between a weakened opposition as a result of a majority incumbent and institutional blockage is whether or not some basic democratic freedoms have been eroded. An incumbent that seeks to shun opposition voices purposely and violate civil liberties is critical to the institutional blockage approach. If a government is both majoritarian and violates some democratic freedoms, then it closes up channels for the opposition to effectively voice their grievances. This type of opposition marginalization is dangerous to the democratic system because it erodes civil liberties.  FIGURE 3: THE PROCESS OF INSTITUTIONAL BLOCKAGE TO ANTI-DEMOCRATIC MOBILIZATION  Institutional Blockage     Alliance Formation     Anti-Democratization     Alliance w/ Nondemocratic  Institutions  48   What does an institutional blockage look like? The process of institutional blockage occurs in multiple stages, and it is a dynamic strategic interaction between the incumbent and its opposition forces. The stages are as followed: 1) institutional blockage; 2) opposition alliance formation; 3) anti-democratization of opposition; 4) alliance between opposition and nondemocratic institutions (Figure 3). For each stage of the process of institutional blockage, both the government and the opposition face a number of options. Their chosen strategy affects whether or not the process of institutional blockage continues. As such, both the sequence and timing of this process matters to the outcome. When opposition actors and groups feel they are shut out from access to power now and in the foreseeable future, they may appeal to nondemocratic alternative sources of power to reverse, or at minimum, halt, the process of institutional blockage. If these nondemocratic institutions respond to the opposition forces, then we may see a complete democratic collapse.  The assumptions here are twofold. First, there exist functioning democratic institutions in the polity. Examples include national assembly, the judiciary, independent bodies. This theory does not apply to countries that are in transition from an authoritarian regime to a democracy; it only applies to electoral democracies - states with routinized elections and established, functioning, democratic institutions. Second, "opposition" at the initial stage is a loose term and refers to actors or groups that seek to offer alternatives or oppose government policies. These opposition forces have prior access to power in the sense of being able to have some degree of influence in policy in the past. Some of the actors have direct bargaining leverage with the government, while others, less powerful, can indirectly shape or put pressure on government's policy outcome. Lastly, there must be nondemocratic sources of power and authority in the polity that co-exist with democratic institutions. 49   This theory makes an analytical distinction between formal and informal institutional blockages. Such distinction recognizes the political reality of so many electoral democracies today that there are more than formal democratic routes for opposition voices to be heard. Formal democratic channels include institutions such as parliament, senate and independent bodies (i.e. election authority, anti-corruption agency), whereas informal ones are civil society organizations, labor unions, NGOs, community groups, etc. The formal institutional channels exemplify the representative dimension of the democratic polity, whereas the informal one represents a participatory one. When actors in the political arena feel their interests are no longer represented, nor they can participate in the bargaining process with the government, they feel "choked" and thus have "no choice" but to resort to alternative sources of power. STAGE 1: INSTITUTIONAL BLOCKAGE   In Stage 1, various opposition forces with mobilizational capacity who normally have access to power in some form or the other will seek to influence policy through formal democratic channels. Mechanisms for opposition through formal democratic channels include lobbying, bargaining, participating in the policy-making process, engaging the media, and using personal connection to influence government policies. If the government blocks access to power by the opposition within the democratic channels, this is considered formal institutional blockage. Note that opposition forces can come from both outside and inside formal democratic channels. Opposition within the formal democratic institutions might include opposition members of parliament (MPs), opposition senators, or independent bodies that would normally serve the purpose of placing checks on the executive. Opposition external to the formal institutions inside the democratic polity include interest groups, pressure groups, labor unions, for instance.  50  STAGE 2: ALLIANCE FORMATION   Facing the same predicament, opposition forces both within and outside the formal democratic institutions form a coalition. They then resort to informal channels of opposition to both increase pressure, as well as to enhance their own bargaining leverage vis-?-vis the government. The process of coalition formation may happen gradually over time or abruptly, based on the circumstances. Also, the nature of such coalitions is often loose, ad hoc and temporary because often various actors and groups have divergent grievances. They engage in actions such as protests, demonstrations, holding public forums and campaigns, and petition rallies. The main point of forming opposition through informal institution is not to engage the public nor to raise the profile of their causes, but rather to cultivate supporters. Gaining public support both strengthens the opposition bargaining leverage as well as giving them increased legitimacy. STAGE 3: ANTI-DEMOCRATIZATION   The opposition movement does not become "anti-democratic" until the final stage of the institutional blockage theory. I treat a rise of anti-democratic mobilization as an outcome that is shaped by the process of institutional blockage. It has the following underlying assumptions. First, an existence of powerful nondemocratic institutions that are regarded as alternative sources of power in a democratic system is a necessary background condition. These institutions are critical to not only bringing down democracy, but also legitimizing such an act. These institutions avoid overt political maneuvering and only act to challenge or intervene with democratic institutions when a) their interests are threatened and b) they see a chance of success.  51  Second, the perception of permanent loss of access to power will serve as a "trigger" for opposition forces to appeal to alternative sources of power, namely the nondemocratic institutions. This is when the opposition becomes anti-democratic and seeks to subvert the current democratic system. Anti-democratic mobilization thus emerge because opposition actors perceived the democratic channels, both formal and informal, to be blocked and thus they are diverted to the only "available" channels of authority, which are the nondemocratic institutions.  STAGE 4: ALLIANCE WITH NONDEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS   The intervention by powerful nondemocratic actors is crucial for the breakdown of the democratic system. Once the opposition movement becomes anti-democratized, by appealing for extra-constitutional actions, nondemocratic institutions have the option to choose whether to ally with the movement. If these nondemocratic bodies are threatened by the incumbent, they may form an alliance with the anti-democratic movement. I note here that allying with nondemocratic institutions is not necessary for the movement to become anti-democratic. However, gaining support from nondemocratic institutions facilitates democratic collapse. MOBILIZATIONAL CAPACITY   The extent to which institutional blockage leads to anti-democratic mobilization also depends on whether the opposition forces possess "mobilizational capacity." As defined in chapter one, mobilization capacity refers to the ability for groups to get organized and mobilized. Such capacity stems from organization learning, leadership skills and past experiences. If a blockage occurs to groups that have mobilizational capacity, they rebel against institutional closures. On the contrary, institutional blockage will have little impact on actors that lack such quality. The PAD leaders are drawn from civil society organizations that have built significant 52  mobilizational capacity over time. These key figures have accumulated much experience with organizing protests, engaging in pressure tactics with the government as well as lobbying strategies. These skills are crucial for the mobilization and the alliance formation of the PAD Movement. The extensive networks of many of the PAD leaders, formed over years of collaboration with other groups in society, meant that the PAD was able to expand its support base quickly and effectively through multiple alliances with existing networks.  The model of institutional blockage above raises an important question: why does the government want to block the opposition in the first place? Given that the process of institutional blockage is a strategic interaction between the government and its opposition, it becomes especially important to discern why the former chooses the option it did. There are three simple answers. First, the government wants to weaken its opposition to enhance its own power. In a parliamentary system, this could mean increasing government stability and ensuring it can serve a full term. Second, the government wants to consolidate its agenda-setting power. By weeding out opposition, the government can monopolize the decision- and policymaking process. Third, the government may attempt to marginalize the opposition to increase its own popularity, which could raise its chances for a re-election.   The key factors that drive the process of institutional blockage are two-fold. The first is the relative change in access to power and/or distribution of power within formal democratic institutions and between formal and informal ones. In a parliamentary system, relative change in the distribution of power among the executive, legislative, and the judiciary, for example, can induce formal institutional blockage. In the informal institutional setting, this can occur between the government and civil society organizations. The key thing to remember is that these actors or groups must have some power or at least access to power prior this change. It is their loss of 53  access to power due to the institutional blockages that will set them off to look for alternative routes. The second and more important mechanism is the perceived permanent exclusion from power. Anti-democratic mobilization will occur in a democratic system when actors in both formal and informal institutional arena perceive their relative loss of power vis-?-vis other institutions as permanent or likely to persist indefinitely. This perceived exclusive from power, due to institutional blockages both formally and informally, will drive these actors to nondemocratic sources of power to reduce and completely halt this process of institutional blockage.  In order to determine whether my theory of institutional blockage explains the rise of the PAD Movement, the following implications should be observed. Opposition actors must lose access to power relative to what they used to have. Channels for demands by organized groups and key political actors are closed off in the formal democratic institution. Means for opposition, such as no confidence vote or questioning period, in parliament, for instance, should be closed or rendered ineffective by the opposition. Organized groups are unable to lobby for support from the formal institutions, nor bargain with the government to provide them with a platform to voice their grievances. This clogging of opposition channels should drive the various groups to form an anti-incumbent mobilization. We should observe an upsurge of anti-government protest activities over time, with increasing frequency and intensity as the opposition forces become more desperate. The opposition should be calling for a resignation of the current government or leadership.  If all else fails, the opposition will begin to appeal to other sources of power. If those sources of power are nondemocratic institutions, then the opposition becomes anti-democratic. If we also observe nondemocratic discourse or demands from the opposition, we can then discern 54  with more certainty that the movement is not just upset with the current elected government, but rather it seeks to subvert the democratic system all together. Should elites with extra-constitutional powers respond to the opposition movement, we see a complete democratic breakdown.  INSTITUTIONAL BLOCKAGE IN THAILAND   The Thai political structure remains rather centralized, with few access points to the influence. Open channels for public engagement prior to the Thaksin era included mainly through the MPs in both the national and local governments, senators (both elected and appointed), and the state bureaucracies. The availability of access points to power and influence was increased as a result of the 1997 constitution, which provided additional public participation in politics through the legislature and the newly created independent bodies (a list of which is provided in chapter 4). Despite this, there are no feedback mechanisms between the public and powerful nondemocratic institutions such as the courts, the military, or the monarchy. While this seems intuitive, the fact that nondemocratic institutions are highly powerful (and popular) but are in no way accountable to the people that legitimize them is an unusual feature of the Thai political system. Despite the rather centralized state, opposition groups find ways to voice their grievances. Thailand in the 1990s was marked by a period of socio-political liberalization. Opposition movements, who have been instrumental to the Black May uprising in 1992, sought to instigate a number of reform initiatives aimed to liberalize the Thai political arena and increase public participation in politics. The opposition found some success in their reformist agenda, most arguably in pushing for the adoption of Thailand's most democratic constitution to date - the dubbed "People's Constitution of 1997." Following the Asian Financial Crisis of the same year, 55  more economic-oriented reforms were also put in place to restructure the economy. Through this period, waves of both pro-reform and anti-incumbent protests occurred, resulting in short-lived governments and frequent house dissolution. This more inclusive and open, albeit rather unstable political arrangement, increased public participation in politics and more groups being able to champion their causes. The coming to power of Thaksin Shinawatra, the first prime minister to be elected under the new 1997 constitution, dramatically altered opposition politics (chapter 4). During his first term, opposition movements were engaged largely in anti-incumbent mobilization. This strategy had been primarily used because pro-reform politics already preceded the period and many opposition figures and groups believe reformist agenda would find no outlet in this powerful, absolute majority government. Opposition groups employed confrontational, sometimes violent, tactics aimed to depose Thaksin and his government. Opposition leaders called for the resignation of Thaksin and his cabinet. It was not until Thaksin's second electoral victory that the opposition movement recognized neither pro-reform nor anti-incumbent mobilization was going to get rid of Thaksin.  The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) is a clear case of an anti-democratic movement, albeit not initially. When the movement began mobilizing loosely in 2005, it saw itself, by all accounts, as a "pro-democracy" movement. Soon after its emergence, the movement began to adopt a number of anti-democratic measures. First, the PAD called for an installment of a royally appointed prime minister to replace the popularly elected government of Thaksin Shinawatra. Second, the movement endorsed implicitly (and later on more forcefully) both the military intervention in politics as well as the coup d'?tat of 2006. Third, the PAD's ideology was explicit in regards to the kinds of political reforms they envisioned, which included unelected 56  legislatures, unelected senators, unelected prime minister and veto power by the monarchical institution in Thailand's political system. Fourth, the PAD sought a temporary cessation of election to rid the system of corrupted politicians and "rotten politics." Finally, the PAD prioritized "good leader" over "elected leader."  The Thai case greatly problematizes the notion that civil society should inevitably promote and strengthen democracy. The PAD initially emerged largely as networks of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), labor unions, opposition media and religious networks, who formed an alliance to oppose the Thaksin Administration. Several of the major networks of NGOs were ones that have been key players in the political liberalization and democratization reforms in the 1990s. Their involvement and prominence in the PAD leadership provides strong empirical evidence against existing scholarship that links civil society to democratic stability (Diamond: 1996; Putnam: 1993, 2000; Arato: 2000). The NGO-led anti-democratic movement of the PAD shows that there is no necessary connection between civil society and democracy and that civil society can have anti-democratic effects.   The PAD Movement is not alone in its anti-democratic orientation when compared to other opposition movements in post-transition states. In Venezuela, the anti-Chavez movement was supported by sections of civil society organizations, the middle class and labor unions, pushed for an extra-constitutional intervention that eventually led to a bizarre 47-hour coup in 2002. The opposition forces in Venezula too felt "blocked" and "excluded" from access to power (Encarnacion: 2002). With Chavez looking to stay in power "forever," the opposition movements began to appeal to nondemocratic institutions, such as the military and the court, to intervene. Although the coup government took power only very briefly, the success of the anti-Chavez 57  movements in mobilizing key support from groups who should otherwise be supportive of democratic politics has negative consequences for the country's democratic development.  Why was anti-democratic mobilization a plausible strategy for the opposition movement? Chapter 3 outlines in detail the structural conditions in the Thai political system that makes it conducive to democratic breakdowns. Of note are factors such as a history of frequent coups d'?tat and undemocratic tendencies among the public that have significantly reduced the cost of a next coup and made military intervention a favorable option for conflict resolution. As such, military intervention is a real possibility in Thai politics - one whereby successful coups outnumbered failed ones. However, the backlash against the coup government in 1992 has increased the cost of coups, making it imperative for the military to guarantee prior popular support for its intervention. The opposition movement - having failed to change the situation through anti-incumbent and pro-reform strategies - redirected their movement to the last possible alternative: calling for military and royal intervention. The opposition had thus embarked on an anti-democratic path that would later have shattered the country's democratic development.  The PAD movement is composed of and driven by actors and groups in society that have not only been made worse off as a result of Thaksin policies, but whose opposition channels to convey their grievances were closed off. This happens in a highly arbitrary manner in both the formal and institutional arenas. In the formal democratic institution, opposition parties in the legislature, some section of the senate and independent bodies joined forced with the PAD movement for the following reasons: a) inability to provide effective opposition to the government; b) failure to provide effective checks on the executive; and c) inability to propose alternative policies. There is, in essence, a breakdown of opposition mechanisms inside formal democratic institutions that "cripple" opposition voices. The judiciary, in fact, stood the biggest 58  chance of mounting an opposition against the Thaksin government and it did intervene, with support from the palace, to weaken the executive and the Thai Rak Thai-dominated legislature.   In the informal institutional channels, the NGO sector, labor unions and the media, and various other social groups experienced not only the loss of their political space, but also the possibilities to present alternatives to government positions were marginalized. During the pre-Thaksin period, many of these groups were able to lobby and put pressure, with varying success, on governments, senators and independent bodies to represent their interests. During the Thaksin Administration, however, a number of access points to formal institutions were blocked for the opposition: parliament, senator and independent bodies. All of this resentment did not, however, did not materialize into a movement until Thaksin and his Thai Rak Thai party won their consecutive landslide election victory in 2005, which rendered their opposition the perception of permanent exclusion from power. This is when the PAD came together as a movement not only to oppose Thaksin collectively, but to also appeal for royal and military intervention   But why did the opposition resort to nondemocratic institutions? What were the options available to the opposition during that critical moment? There are largely two options for the opposition when faced with institutional blockage: 1) fight and 2) give up. The first stage of opposition mobilization was intended to increase their own bargaining power vis-?-vis the government by forming an alliance with other opposition groups. An alliance was seen as a way to not only aggregate their interests and grievances, but also to exert more pressure on the government. Once such measure did not yield desirable results, they increase pressure by engaging in more coercive activities, such as mass protests. "Street politics" then becomes a confrontational strategy of choice for these opposition groups that seek to recruit supporters from the public at large.  59   In the third stage, the decision for the opposition to continue fighting as opposed to giving up depends on two factors. The first is what I call the "zero-sum game" motivation. Groups that still remained in the PAD movement by this time were those who perceived their future to be dim if they did not fight. The stakes were simply just too high to give up. The second factor is more strategic (and less desperate) "no turning back" motivation. Essentially, opposition groups that have engaged in high-risk protest activities for quite some time, and gained popular support along the way, find themselves to have gone too far to turn back - they simply could not abandon the movement to lose momentum. Giving up would not only hurt their overall support, but it would delegitimize their cause for any future protests. Staying on course was perceived by some groups to be their only option, even though it meant putting their own ideals and demands aside. The PAD movement began to appeal to nondemocratic institutions when they perceived their loss of access to power to be permanent. There was no other choice but to press forward.  FIGURE 4: OPPOSITION ALLIANCE FORMATION                               serves                   serves            allies     serves           appeals                          ALLIANCE                                 Note: Yellow denotes nondemocratic institutions  Independent Bodies  Parliament Senate  Judiciary Opposition Forces Constitutional Monarchy Military Privy Council 60   Opposition elites also have their own strategic considerations when faced with the problem of institutional blockage. Their main concern is similar to other opposition actors: if they feel threatened by the relative loss of access to power vis-?-vis other actors, they will intervene to change the situation. As we can see in Figure 5, opposition elites from both within the democratic and nondemocratic institutions who rebel against the loss of access to power. Their major interests are shaped by their ability to a) influence the decision-making process; b) influence the policy discourse and policymaking process; and c) provide alternative agenda. For nondemocratic institutions, their interests are gravely threatened if there are systematic attempts to weaken their political power, shrink their political space or undermine their institutional independence.  In the Thai case, opposition actors from the parliament, senate and independent bodies first began to show support for opposition forces in the informal institutional arena. They then began to appeal to nondemocratic institutions: the military, Privy Council and the monarchy. The judiciary, on the other hand, normally very independent and insular from political pressure, aligned its interests with that of the constitutional monarchy and sought to intervene to stop this process of institutional blockage by removing key actors and severely delegitimize them. The military did the same and formed an alliance with the Privy Council - the monarchy's de facto representatives. The constitutional monarchy became the place where opposition elites coordinated their interests. If after measures by opposition elites do not work, then they sought to form an alliance with other opposition forces in society to increase their own popular support base and hence legitimacy needed for the intervention in the democratic regime.    61  CONCLUSION   This chapter provides an overview of the typology of opposition mobilization and situates Thailand within the broader pattern of opposition movement in a Third-Wave democracy. There are three types of opposition mobilization: 1) pro-reform; 2) anti-incumbent and 3) anti-democratic. I argue that the conditions under which a movement adopts a pro-reform or incumbent approach is neither exclusive nor chronological. In fact a movement can be both promoting reforms and opposing incumbent government at the same time. However, the conditions under which a movement becomes anti-democratic is contingent on the unavailability and/or ineffectiveness of other approaches. Moreover, becoming an anti-democratic movement is not always an available option in all democracies.   This research advances a theoretical concept I call "institutional blockage" - a process whereby both formal and informal channels of opposition in a democratic regime is, and perceived to be, closed - resulting in a perceived loss of bargaining leverage by actors in the polity. When opposition is or "feels" blocked from access to power, they rebel against such closures in the democratic system by appealing to nondemocratic alternative sources of power to reverse, or at minimum, halt, this process of institutional blockage. Anti-democratic mobilization then serves as a vehicle for various opposition forces whose leverage have been reduced, or completely cut out, by the process of institutional blockage that unfolds. If such mobilization succeeds in attaining extra-constitutional intervention from nondemocratic authorities, then we see a complete breakdown of democracy.     62  3. CRISES, COUPS AND CONSTITUTIONS    "The Council for Democratic Reform under the Constitutional Monarchy had to seize power from the government, but had no intention of staying in power. We would return democracy with the King as the head of state to the people as soon as possible in order to maintain peace, order, and national security and to preserve the monarchy as the pinnacle of reverence for all Thais."                           - Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratklin, September 19, 2006  INTRODUCTION    This chapter provides a background to Thai politics after its transition to constitutional monarchy in 1932. It specifically focuses on three key issues: a) civil-military relations,             b) popular discontent and c) the monarchy in politics. The main argument of this section is that there are structural conditions that make Thailand susceptible to democratic breakdowns. These structural factors are important in so far as they underlie the key greivances and actors in political mobilization. They do not, however, explain the timing and sequence of the PAD Movement?s emergence and development.  First, Thailand had many coup d'?tats in its political history. Coups were seen by political elites as a mechanism for crisis resolution and a "legitimate" form of government transition. Given that much of contemporary Thai history was marked by authoritarianism, a coup d'?tat served its purpose as a way to transfer power by force from one group of elites to another.  Second, there had been two major popular uprisings during Thailand's constitutional monarchy, both of which affected civil-military relations. However, I argue here that only the 63  Black May Uprising in 1992 had direct impacts on the later emergence of the anti-democratic mobilization during the Thaksin period. Black May significantly weakened the military's position in the political arena. This is particularly true when considering the power of the military vis-?-vis the public, career politicians and the monarchy. The second and related point is that the cost of coup d'?tats as mechanisms for regime change dramatically increased for the military. Third, the uprising set in motion the process of political liberalization, driven by reformist elites who gained political prominence following Black May.   Lastly, the monarchy has become the ultimate source of power and legitimacy vis-?-vis other democratic and nondemocratic institutions in the Thai polity. The current king, in particular, served as the arbiter of political conflict and ended major violence during popular uprisings in both the 1970s and the 1990s. The immense power wielded by King Bhumibol created a dependency on the monarchical institution as an institution of "last resort". While the monarchy has become the symbol of national unity, its extraordinary power has also been used, at times illegitimately, as a tool for mobilization and empowerment. This latter point is crucial to an understanding of the PAD Movement as both a pro-monarchy and an anti-democratic mobilization.  BACKGROUND   Despite the end of absolute monarchy in 1932, Thailand's democratic political system did not take off until the 1970s, albeit for a very brief period of time. When King Prajadiphok abdicated from the throne in 1934, he asked that the power not be given to any particular individual or groups, but to all the people of Siam. The reality could not have been further from the king's wish. The People's Party, Khana Ratsadorn, made up of both military and civilian bureaucrats, staged a coup d'?tat to overthrow the absolute monarchy in 1932. From 1938 until 64  1973, military generals took turn to rule the kingdom. Any "elections" held were neither free nor fair. In fact, political parties were not legal entities until the 1950s. Politics was oligarchic in nature, with the majority of the populace disenfranchised despite the introduction of universal suffrage.  The armed forces were highly factionalized and most coups during this period were launched by one military faction against another. Fred Riggs (1966) famously refers to this period as the "bureaucratic polity" - whereby bureaucratic leaders, military and civilian, were responsible for running the state. Unlike bureaucratic authoritarianism in Latin America, Anek (1988, p. 451) argues, "the Thai bureaucratic polity operated among docile, politically inert social groups or classes, leaving the decision-making authority in the hands of a small elite of bureaucrats."  Yet Thai politics in the 1970s was far from being calm and the people were far from being "docile." Indeed, Thailand witnessed its first popular mobilization against the military regime in 1973 - known as the October 14 Incident.  Frustrated with the repressive and highly oligarchic rule of Field Marshall Thanom Kittikajorn, what began as a modest demand for improvement for university students rapidly evolved into a large-scale anti-government demonstration. The government refused to concede to the movement's demands and instead exercised brutal repression against the many thousands on the streets, resulting in numerous deaths and injured (Musikawong: 2006). The incident was revered as a landmark against dictatorship and the heroic protesters were dubbed as the October 14th Generation, whose power and influence continues to the present day. The brief democratic period, following the October 14 Incident, provided space for a rapidly expanding civic activism. Between late 1973 and 1976 students, peasants, and workers got organized and mobilized to demand change - making protest the order of the day (Morell & 65  Samudvanija: 1981). "Literally hundreds of other student groups and associations blossomed after the October 1973 incident.?28 However, some of the students adopted left-wing ideology, which advocated sweeping social reforms. The growth in left-leaning protesters terrified the military elites, particularly as this was the period of the Cold War and the Communist Party victory in Vietnam. The state responded with right-wing counter movements, such as the Red Gaurs, Nawapon and the Village Scouts, and attracted nearly two million supporters to counteract the leftists (Jamrik: 1998).  Meanwhile, the elected governments during this three-year period - four in total - proved highly unstable and ineffective in their governance. On October 6, 1976 the right-wing forces, with the implicit consent of the cabinet, massacred students on the campus of Thammasat University in broad daylight - leaving scores dead and thousands humiliated as they were stripped down and had their hands tied. General Sa-ngad Chaloryoo staged a coup in the name of the Administrative Reform Council Resolution (ARCR). The ARCR appointed a privy councilor, Thanin Kraivichian as prime minister. Following another coup by the ARCR a year later, a right-wing general, Kriangsak Chamanan, took over the leadership, ending Thailand's experiment with democratic politics.  In the 1980s Thailand entered a period of "semi-democracy" (Dhiravegin: 1992; Neher: 1988; Samudavanija: 1989; Samudwanit: 1990), whereby gradual political liberalization took place. Under the leadership of an unelected prime minister, General Prem Tinasulanond, Thailand was ruled for nearly a decade by an appointed leader who carefully balanced the interests of the military, the career politicians and the monarchical institution. Prem - highly respected by the military top brass, the king, the bureaucrats and career politicians - engineered a                                                      28 Morell, D., & Samudavanija, C. A. (1981). Political conflict in Thailand: Reform, reaction, revolution. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, p. 151. 66  power-sharing agreement with the political elites. The "pact" allowed Prem, who was committed to remaining "neutral" and "non-political," to satisfy key elites and keep the country moving forward without another coup d'?tat. The generals got their authority over defense and national security matters; the politicians got to run domestic affairs while the bureaucrats enjoyed bigger budgets and better pay. The technocrats were able to implement major economic development plans and Thailand gradually democratized its politics.   Semi-democracy in Thailand worked for nearly a decade because the military began to recognize that in the increasingly globalized world, they could no longer afford to govern through the barrel of a gun. As Neher (1995, p. 197) argues: there was a "rising view among the military that the country's new economic complexity and international standing required a sharing of power between technocrats, business persons, trained bureaucrats and politicians."  Thailand did not return to full democracy in the post-Prem period, despite claims by some scholars (Bunbongkarn: 1992; Jamrik: 1998; Boonmee: 2007). Although Prem refused to stay on as the country's leader following the 1988 election, paving the way for the first democratically elected government of Chatchai Choonhavan, the ?elected? prime minister's legitimacy and power rested on both the previously unelected prime minister Prem and the military. The only reason why Prem decided to allow a transition into a "full" democracy was because he knew that the Chatchai government was supported by the army. Chatchai even announced that he would not intervene in any military appointments or transfers and would approve whatever the military proposed.29 General Chaovalit, the army chief, confirmed: "I set up this government with my own hands."30 The Chatchai government represented a failure of                                                      29 Chantimaporn, S. (1989). Chatchai Choohavan: Thahan nak prachathippatai [Chatchai Choonhavan: a democratic soldier]. Bangkok: Plan Publishing. 30 Ibid. 67  political liberalization in the late 1980s and paved the way for the full return of the military into politics.  The loss of military backing spelled the end of Chatchai's government and the demise of Thailand's democracy. The power-sharing agreement that Prem built and worked hard for was collapsing. The government was plagued by internal infighting, a sour relationship with the military and numerous corruption scandals. Chatchai led a six-party coalition, whose nickname among the media was "buffet cabinet," signifying the high level of corruption that had beset this administration as if state coffers were a "buffet" and any cabinet minister could "eat" however much he wanted. Chatchai's administration was also ridden by internal fighting, both within his own party and with coalition partners and by serious disagreements with some key military figures. The military top brass eventually felt threatened by the possibility of being removed from power by the Chatchai government and staged a coup in February of 1991. THE BLACK MAY UPRISING    The 1991 coup d'?tat and subsequent uprising, known locally as "Black May," was a key turning point in the history of civil-military relations. Taking the Black May Uprising of 1992 as the watershed event in Thai political history that had both direct and indirect consequences in the emergence of anti-democratic mobilization and the 2006 coup, this chapter seeks to situate Black May in the historical development of Thailand. I argue here that the Black May uprising had direct ramifications for the emergence of the PAD movement a decade later. THE 1991 COUP D'?TAT    On February 23, 1991, the armed forces' top brass seized power from the Charchait government. Chatchai and General Athit were held at gun point while they were boarding a plane 68  to Chiang Mai for an audience with the king. The constitution was scrapped, martial laws were put in place and the national assembly was dissolved. The coup was led by General Sunthorn Kongsompong and Class 5 (an elite, West Point style Chulachomklao Military Academy), whose members occupied most major positions in the armed forces. The putsch was also supported by Class 11 and 12 (Maisrikrod: 1993, p. 328). The coup plotters called themselves the National Peace Keeping Council (NPKC) and promised an immediate return to electoral politics. The NPKC cited the large-scale corruption of the Chatchai government and protection of the monarchy to justify their action. The military generals cobbled together seasoned politicians, retired generals and those close to the NPKC to form the Samakhi Tham Party (STP) to compete in the March 1992 election,  which they won. The 5-party coalition, led by the STP, came to power and one of the coup leaders, General Suchinda Kraprayoon, eventually became the prime minister.  On the surface, the coup d'?tat in 1991 which subsequently led to the Black May Uprising, seemed like the many coups that preceded it (see Appendix B): a handful of military generals rolled in their tanks and the country's capital, Bangkok was under siege. The men in uniform said the elected government was too corrupt and the country would descend into chaos unless order and stability was restored. The elected government was overthrown and the military government took over - with a promise of a return to democracy "soon." A new constitution was written to give impunity to the coup plotters, superficial corruption investigation of the previous government was launched and the military got its massive budget boost. Meanwhile civic and political rights were curbed with periodic curfews.   There were two major causes for the 1991 coup d'?tat: 1) serious conflicts between the Chatchai government and the military top brass and 2) a high degree of unity among the armed 69  forces, particularly the military. Coup rumors began to surge in 1990 and government-military relations made a turn for the worse. General Kongsompong, the military chief, warned that politicians had no right to shuffle military rankings. PM Chatchai denied that he had done so, claiming "I will never meddle with military appointments. Why would I? I ask approval from both General Suchinda and General Sunthorn every time if it's ok,"31 However, even General Chavalit had a falling out with another minister, which led him to eventually resign. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, advisor to the prime minister, resigned because he did not get along with the army chief. Chatchai sought to resolve the crisis by resigning himself, but the parliamentarians continued to back him as prime minister as he clung on to power.   THE UPRISING   What began as a hunger strike protesting Suchinda's leadership expanded into a full-blown uprising. Opposition leaders, the media, and non-governmental organizations wanted a new election and a more democratic constitution. At the height of the crisis, more than 200,000 protesters occupied the main arteries of Bangkok. The government mobilized pro-Suchinda rallies in the provinces, particularly in the Northeast, refused to concede to the people?s demands and began to retaliate against the demonstrators. The violence quickly escalated in the days leading up to the massacre of 17-20 May 1992. Some 600 people were reportedly killed at the hands of the military, although the real figures are believed to be much higher. The Black May uprising eventually ended when the King summoned General Suchinda, the opposition movement leader - Major General Chamlong Srimuang - and "advised" them to end the political conflict.                                                       31 Reongwongwan, S. (1997). Political history of Thailand since the revolution of 1932 to present. Bangkok: Ramkhamhaen University Press, p. 554. 70   The 1992 popular uprising against the military-backed government of General Suchinda Kraprayoon, known locally as "the Black May" uprising represents both continuity and change in Thailand's political development. On the one hand, public support for the coup d'?tat of 1991 and its subsequent royally-appointed prime minister of Anand Panyarachun confirms existing nondemocratic tendencies among the Thai public. On the other hand, popular mobilization against the electoral victory of the military-aligned government and the coming to power of the 1991 coup leader broke a pattern of public acquiescence towards coup-installed governments. The Black May uprising transformed civil-military relations by giving increased power to the former and altering the cost of military coup d'?tats more generally. It also emboldens the monarchy as an institution of "last resort" for conflict resolution in the Thai polity. These implications set in motion the elite-driven political and economic liberalization in the 1990s and provided a background for the emergence of anti-democratic mobilization in Thailand. BLACK MAY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS   The failure of the 1991 coup and the subsequent Suchinda government had three major consequences for the role of the military in politics. First, it created internal division within the military itself, which significantly raised the cost for future coups. Coup d'?tats are more likely when the military is unified, particularly in the Thai case (Tamada: 1995). After Black May, some young officers began to challenge the military hierarchies and called on the top brass to take responsibility for the May crackdown. Such defiance of authority is rare in the military where officers know their place in the hierarchical system and military leaders are used to talking down to their inferiors. "Soldiers do not like to negotiate face-to-face because they think it is a loss of face" (Bangkok Post: 1992). Indeed, during the uprising, opposition movement leaders were never able to get a face-to-face negotiation with General Suchinda. In a rare interview with 71  a journalist, Rungmanee Meksophon, General Suchinda reveals "To launch a coup you can't do it alone...You need friends [peauk]. Once done [a coup], you need to rely on one another. No one person alone conducts a coup. This is a weakness of a coup d'?tat" (BBC Black May, p. 385).  Second, Black May significantly weakened the military's position in the political arena. This is particularly true when considering the power of the military vis-?-vis the public, career politicians and the monarchy. The anti-Suchinda protest movements were unexpected and took the generals by complete surprise. Black May was the first massive outcry against military dominance in politics since the mid 1970s. This not only tarnished the public image of the military as an honorable institution in Thai society, it also seriously challenged the future role of the military in politics. The more than 600 deaths also bode badly for an institution whose main function is to "safeguard" and "protect" the people.   The Black May uprising revealed a new source for an anti-military movement - the people. The military recognized that it no longer monopolized power in society. Ordinary people were not afraid to challenge the military's authority; they were not deterred by tanks and gun barrels. As Pasuk further argues: "The initial opposition had two main poles: first, the intellectuals, academics and activists who were ideologically opposed to military rule and second, the growing ranks of anti-military politicians." For the first time, the military reckoned it could no longer seize power without popular support. This game changer is crucial to the strategic calculations of the military - one of the most powerful entities in Thailand - not only as to whether to have a coup, but when to have it. It can no longer be the case that a coup is justified because one faction of the military is in conflict with the other - as it was in the pre-70s period.  Third, the King's power was further strengthened by his role in mediating the conflict between the opposition and the government, which ended the violence. The Black May uprising 72  really underscored the role of the constitutional monarchy in Thai politics as the ultimate source of power and authority - the last resort for conflict resolution. In times of crisis, the Thai people pin their hope on the King to step in and resolve the conflict, as he did in 1973. During the Black May uprising, a group of influential academics called for the palace to intervene to resolve the crisis on several occasions. At the height of the crackdown, between May 17 and 19, both Princess Sirindhorn and Prince Vajiralongkorn appealed for the cessation of violence - but to no avail. It was believed that no one else but the King could have prevented further bloodshed as his moral authority derived not from constitutional powers, but rather his own personal merits. Such authority is more powerful than any politician or military general could ever possess as it is not given by position but "earned" through years of hard work.   The crucial role played by King Bhumibol in the Black May uprising left a lasting legacy that had direct implications for the emergence and development of an anti-democratic mobilization more than a decade later. First, the monarchy had strengthened its power and legitimacy vis-?-vis other key institutions in the political arena, be it parliament, senate or even the military. While the military was busy brutalizing ordinary citizens, causing scores of deaths, the parliament fared no better as it was completely "helpless" during these critical moments. The monarchy emerged as the institution of "last resort" - the only hope for the end of conflict. People were pleading for the King to step in to alleviate the situation. This cemented the monarchical institution as the ultimate authority in the political arena, despite its lack of official constitutional power. The King entrenched his position as the moral compass for the Thai nation, whose real power is drawn from widespread popular reverence from the people themselves and not via constitutional mechanisms. 73   Black May also contains its contradictions as it confirms long-standing nondemocratic tendencies within the Thai polity. The uprising was not in opposition to the coup d'?tat per se, but rather in opposition to the military staying in power. Moreover, the public support for a royally appointed prime minister underscored the monumental power of the monarchical institution - an extra-constitutional body. It also illustrated public preferences for political leadership that does not come from the democratic process. These tendencies among the public were not new in Thai political history and they thus demonstrate continuity, rather than change, in this respect.  THE POST-BLACK MAY POLITICS   Post-Black May politics was marked by a series of weak governments operating in a rather open political environment. Thailand returned to a democratic path again following the national election in September of 1992. The decade that ensued was marked by competitive democratic politics, where elections were procedurally free and fair and there was no extra-constitutional disruption. The media enjoyed greater freedom, and the people's sector saw its greatest expansion. By all accounts, Thailand had become a full democracy, albeit largely a procedural one. Career politicians and the public alike felt the days of frequent coup d'?tats were over and democracy had a real chance of surviving. Despite this, the military and civilian bureaucrats dominated the upper house - the Senate. While this may seem like a "residual power" of the old guard, in reality, a powerful Senate filled with retired generals can still check the power of both the executive and the lower house. In the Thai case, this means the power of the military and bureaucrats in politics still lurk in the background even if civilian career politicians were beginning to dominate political affairs in parliament. 74   Thai politics during the 1990s were highly unstable and "messy." Between 1992 and 2001, there were five governments - each lasting on average eighteen months. Each and every single government was a coalition, comprising between five and seven parties. House dissolution was frequent and corruption scandals abounded. Politics remained relatively fluid with governments coming and going in a relatively short time. The party system showed no sign of institutionalization as parties lacked programmatic appeals, a committed support base, candidate loyalty or roots in society. If conventional wisdom says that the legislature's main function is "law-making" then the Thai legislature could hardly be called one. The Banharn Silapa-acha government (1995-1996), for instance, passed 17 bills out of the 239 proposed - a success rate of 7%. Similarly, in the first year of Chavalit government (1996-1997), prior to the Asian Financial Crisis, the legislature's bill passage rate was 1%. Duncan McCargo (1997, p. 130) argues in his influential piece, Thailand's political parties: Real, authentic and actual: There is very little prospect of mass bureaucratic parties with large memberships and fully developed local branches emerging successfully in contemporary Thailand. Much more likely is a gradual rise of professional parties which are dominated by professional politicians and technocrats, have small memberships, tend to be characterised by personalised leadership, are funded by interest groups and campaign around particular issues. Such parties would carry little ideological baggage.  Despite the seemingly chaotic, corruption-ridden politics of the 1990s, the political landscape was one of more inclusiveness and openness for political elites. Elections were actually competitive: no one knew for certain who would win. Also, a coalition government was almost always a certainty even before the elections. Deals were made on the coalition make-up  75  before the election, while candidates switched parties as soon as election dates were set, to maximize their chance of getting elected. As such, politicians from parties large and small felt they had a fair chance of being in power after the next election. Given a weakly institutionalized party system, whereby parties were non-programmatic, non-disciplined, and lacked national constituencies, alliances among political elites were temporary and constantly changing - giving politicians the mobility to move and realign with whomever they saw fit. This weakly institutionalized party system provided incentives for political elites to wait their turn to contest the next election, as opposed to trying to change or rebel against the system. In times of crisis, both coalition and opposition parties were able to mount sufficient opposition to the government through formal democratic channels that the government eventually collapsed, which paved the  way for another election.  Black May altered civil-military relations in ways that reduced the role of the military in politics, prompting the men in uniform to retreat to their barracks during the 1990s. Some scholars argue that the military became more professionalized after 1992 as it was "forced" to be less involved in politics and more involved in military affairs (Bamrungsuk: 2001; Pathmanand: 2001). The end of the Cold War and the forces of globalization propelled the military to re-evaluate its role in politics and society. The increasingly powerful group of new political elites - career politicians - had kept the military at bay by meeting the latter's budget demand and by institutional independence from formal democratic institutions.  Democracy in Thailand has thus taken a tumultuous, oscillating, path. Beginning with the democratic interregnums of the 1970s, the Southeast Asian country did not experience full electoral democracy until the late 1980s. The 1990s mark Thailand's uninterrupted electoral democracy where free and fair elections were held regularly and incumbents lost elections, while 76  the media was afforded press freedom. The frequent changes of government and what seems like an "unstable" political situation indeed spells some degree of "certainty" among political elites that they would remain part of the game. While such a loose form of power-sharing did not approximate what existed during the Prem years, this perception among political figures that no one would be shut out of power permanently proved critical to the survival of what seemed like a rather brittle democracy.  STRUCTURAL FACTORS INDUCIVE TO DEMOCRATIC COLLAPSE   Thailand is a classic case of a crisis-prone democracy susceptible to regime breakdown. The structural conditions of the Thai polity - frequent coup d'?tats and powerful extra-constitutional institutions - make democratic collapse likely. They provide the background conditions for the emergence of an anti-democratic mobilization which will be discussed in detail in later chapters. Structural factors that are conducive to the rise of anti-democratic mobilization include a) patterns of previous mobilization, b) legacies of successful coup d'?tats, c) past 'popular' support for undemocratic tendencies and d) powerful extra-constitutional institutions. As I will argue later on, these structural conditions make anti-democratic mobilization more likely, but, they do not activate mobilization. Subsequent reforms in the 1990s, however, specifically created grounds for the emergence of the Yellow Shirts as well as the military intervention of 2006 (chapter 4). COUPS BEGET COUPS   Coups have become an acceptable form of regime change in Thailand. Between 1932 and 2006, Thailand witnessed eighteen coup attempts - the highest number of coup d'?tats in the world. Thai scholars refer to the constant cycle of coups and crises as the "vicious cycle of the 77  Thai polity". Thailand continues to be trapped in this cycle of coups and crises because of conflicts among the political elites over access to spoils. Parliamentarian politics are wrought with corruption, factionalism and in-party fighting. The military, still the only institution capable of launching a coup, then intervenes to protect its own interest and to put an end to democratic politics with a promise to return to it in a short time. Before elections are re-introduced, a new constitution is written to promote the interest of the coup plotters and give them impunity. An election is held and parliamentary politics resumes. Politicians pursue pork barrel politics, crisis ensues and the vicious cycle continues.  The price tag for a military intervention, however, has gone up significantly since the popular backlash during Black May. Although the frequency of successful coup d'?tats in a polity theoretically increases the chance of another coup (McGowan: 2003), coups are ultimately a means of transferring power that is contingent on certain favorable conditions. Prior to Black May, there were two major ways a successful coup d'?tat could be launched in Thailand, depending on the nature of the coup itself (Table 4). In the pre-1970s period, when coups were launched by one military faction against another and the public was largely disenfranchised, military factionalism was the key to whether a coup would be launched or not. However, following the October 14 Incident in 1973, there was a rising expectation that a military dictatorship would be less popular among the populace. As such, a political consensus, (particularly among the military elites themselves) that a change of government is necessary is critical to whether a coup is launched. This explains why coup attempts during the Prem years failed: some section of the military top brass continued to pledge its support to Prem, leaving other factions that wanted change hung out to dry.   78  TABLE 4: CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF SUCCESSFUL COUPS IN THAILAND Period Number of Coup Attempts Coup Plotters Against Outcomes Considerations before coup Consequences Pre-1970s 10 Military faction A Military Faction B Another military dictatorship 1. Manpower of faction A versus B  Dictatorship until another coup 1970s-1990s 8 Military Civilian govt. Promise of civilian government and election 1. Manpower  2. Some popular support; public opposition to current government. 3. Support from some sections of elites Mixed; military and civilian governments, no elected PM  2000s 1 Military Elected civilian govt. Promise of civilian government and election 1. Manpower 2. Significant popular opposition to current government 3. Support from some sections of elites and other nondemocratic bodies Interim military-installed civilian government, then election Source: Author     79   Popular support for a coup has become necessary following the backlash against the Suchinda coup government. While a coup is still regarded as sometimes "necessary" in the case of a crisis, some indication of popular support becomes critical to the success of a coup. It is no longer enough that there is unity among the military top brass, the success of a coup will also hinge upon the perception of popular support for a coup. The Black May ultimately altered the military's calculus for a coup. As there have been so many successful coups in the past, coups will always be a factor in Thai politics. However, from the 1980s onwards, there has been an expectation among the public that the military must pledge support to democratically elected governments (Samudvanija: 1997, p. 57). The military intervention is thus regarded as an "emergency only" measure - one which must receive some degree of public support. Also, military governments are only temporary and their main job is to clean up the "mess" of the dislodged democratic government and bring the country back to its democratic path. THE MIDDLE CLASS AND DEMOCRACY   Although there is not yet a consensus on a direct measure for the "middle class," most agree that this class grew over time in Thailand - reflecting a growing trend across Asia.32 Depending on the definitions used the Thai middle class in 2013 stands between 20% and 40% of the population.33 The middle class in Thailand also grew consecutively between 2000 and 2013, according to estimates by the National Statistical Office34. A more detailed analysis of the middle class is beyond the scope of this research, however, it suffices to say that the burgeoning middle class in Asia is often seen as "hope" for more open and perhaps democratic politics.                                                       32 See: Asia Development Bank. (2010). Key indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2010.  Accessed on May 25, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.adb.org/publications/key-indicators-asia-and-pacific-2010.  33 International Labour Organization (ILO). (2013). Economic class and labour market inclusion: Poor and middle class workers in developing Asia and the Pacific. Accessed on May 25, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.ilo.org/asia/whatwedo/publications/WCMS_218752/lang--en/index.htm.  34 See: National Statistics Office (NSO), key indicators. Retrieved from http://www.nso.go.th/. 80   Yet, the middle class in Thailand has been both illiberal and ambivalent towards democracy. This is not uncommon in Asia, as much of the middle class in the region grew and expanded under authoritarian rule (Jones: 1998). The role of the middle class during Black May and previous popular mobilizations suggests their ambivalence, and sometimes opposition to, democratic politics. Clearly the middle class in Thailand is not a unified group with a defined set of ideological or political preferences. However, examining its role in political upheavals sheds light on its preferences in ways that voting behavior cannot always do, particularly during nondemocratic times. An investigation of middle class behavior and attitudes show that the middle class, particularly those hailing from Bangkok, has shown support for anti-democratic regimes since its first evident participation in popular politics in the 1970s. The ways in which the middle class has shown its undemocratic stripes can be categorized in three key ways: 1) support for anti-democratic forces; 2) support for the appointed prime minister; and 3) support for coups.  The undemocratic nature of the Suchinda regime may not have been the key issue in the Black May uprising after all.  Thais did not oppose the 1991 government, which came to power via a military coup one year prior, because it was deemed undemocratic, but rather because it was generally acknowledged to be corrupt. The coup did not garner much resistance from the public as they felt the coup was justified (Uthakorn: 1993). Like previous coups, the 1991 coup did not elicit public outrage or negative response." Suchit Boonbongkarn likewise laments "As with other coups in Thailand, there was no large-scale protests. Only some academicians and politicians who lost their jobs quietly expressed resentment. For the general public the coup seemed acceptable."35                                                       35 Bunbongkarn, S. (1992). Thailand in 1991: Coping with military guardianship. Asian Survey, 32(2), p. 131. 81  The mass protest movement that eventually led to the crackdown in May 1992, did not emerge until the coup leader and army chief, Suchinda Krapayoon, became prime minister himself. This was some time after martial law was put in place, the constitution abolished and most civic rights curbed. Therefore, to say that the anti-government popular uprising was "pro-democracy" certainly requires important qualifications. The muted public response after the 1991 coup, much like previous public reaction to earlier coup d'?tats, indicates that, for the most part, the public accepts a coup as a legitimate means for political power alteration. It's no surprise, then, that the coup in 2006 received nearly 90% popular support, according to polls. Chai-anan argues along similar lines that the 1991 uprising was not so much pro-democracy, but rather "a movement opposed to the possibility of a new alliance of the military and business leading to a dictatorship."36 Likewise, David Murray argues (1996, p. 181):  Although superficially the rallying cry [Black May uprising] had been for an elected MP as prime minister, the real issue was that the unelected MP came from the military - a military which, with considerable doubts, the people had entrusted with the task of cleaning up Thai politics and returning the country to a more democratic form of government. That it had failed to do this was the real issue. Had an 'acceptable' outsider been nominated for the leadership - someone like Anand or even Prem - the populace would probably have accepted it, particularly given the poor quality of the leaders of the government coalition parties.  Indeed, some sections of the middle class were also actively involved in the right-wing counter movements against the students in the 1970s. The successful student uprising of October 14 "motivated conservative elements and the elites to counter-mobilize" (Kongkirati: 2006, 12).                                                      36 Samudavanija, C. (1997). Old soldiers never die, they are just bypassed: The military, bureaucracy and globalization. In Hewison, K. (Ed.). Political change in Thailand: Democracy and participation. NY: Routledge, p. 53. 82  The right-wing groups, which were responsible for the massacre of students in 1976, formed organizations to counter the peasants, labor and students around 1975 (Kasertsiri: 1998). Ungpakorn also argues that the military and anti-Communist groups actively organized and supported the nationalist Red Guar and Nawaphon.37 The Village Scouts, officially endorsed by the state, was "the largest counter-movement with its membership of more than 20,000 drawn almost exclusively from the middle class in Bangkok" (Kongkirati: 2006, 25). "In upcountry towns," posits Kongkirati, "the movement attracted local officials, merchants, and other well-to do persons. In Bangkok, wives of generals, business leaders, bankers, and members of the royal family took part."38  POPULAR UNELECTED LEADERS   Unelected prime ministers have been viewed favorably in Thailand.  Given the highly unstable electoral democratic periods in the 1970s and the 1990s and the contrast to the  stability of the Prem leadership in the 1980s, there has been a sense among the public that an impartial leader who can stay "above politics" is a marker of good leadership. Royally-appointed prime ministers, in particular, have been viewed in a positive light because they are perceived to possess three qualities: 1) royal blessing, 2) ?neutrality" and 3) incorruptibility. The idea of having an unelected prime minister is to provide an incorruptible "buffer" between different political groups that struggle to gain control of the government. A lofty ideal perhaps, but an appointed prime minister must show that he does not seek political office for his own personal gain and that he maintains enough distance from the influence of both the military and the                                                      37 Kasertsiri, C. (Ed.) (1998). Chak 14 thueng 6 tula [From 14 - 6 October]. Bangkok: Thammasat University Press, pp. 61-64. 38 Kongkirati, P. (2006). Counter-movements in democratic transition: Thai right-wing movements after the 1973 popular uprising. Asian Review, p. 29. 83  political parties. The support for an unelected prime minister stems from the idea that both the military and politicians have been extremely corrupt when they govern and thus do not represent the needs of the people.   Royal blessing gives a political actor immense leverage vis-?-vis his counterparts. The palace will support someone who can steer the country out of a crisis and can rise above politics - the constant competition over access to pork and patronage. When the King appoints someone to lead the country, he strengthens that particular person's political power and status. This is called the process of "royal legitimization." Although the king does not have any political or administrative power under the system of constitutional monarchy, his role in times of political crises has been crucial. The Thais view the King as sacred and as a spiritual leader who serves as a symbol of unity....Because of this the monarch remains an indispensable source of political legitimacy. A political leader or regime, even a popularly elected government, would not be truly legitimized without the King's blessing.39  Historically, highly respected individuals have been appointed as PMs in times of crisis - often after the fall of a particular coup government. They were meant to serve in a "transition" period of an authoritarian government, with an electoral democracy in the near future. Two particular appointed prime ministers, Prem Tinasulanond and Anand Panyarachun, have left such important legacies in Thai political history that their own personal clout and charisma have had significant impact on the emergence of the anti-Thaksin movements, the 2006 coup and the current ongoing political crisis - years after their administrations ended.                                                      39 Maisrikrod, S. (1992). Thailand's two general elections in 1992: democracy sustained (Vol. 75). Institute of Southeast Asian, p. 334. 84  Prem was known to be an acceptable choice to the palace, the military, the parliamentarians and the public. Prem weathered 8 years of rule, 4 administrations, 2 coup attempts, and an assassination attempt, while maintaining parliamentary politics the best he could. Because he never ran for elections, he was able to position himself as being "above politics" or "non-politicized." He maintained equal distance from both the armed forces and the political parties, and he was able to choose the people he deemed most suitable to form coalition governments. Yet Prem was no democrat as during his long rule he did not allow a no confidence motion against him. A staunch supporter of Prem and a veteran politician, Prasong Soonsiri shares a popularly held view of his leadership: Prem understands Thai society better than any career politician. Elected officials have a lot to learn from him...Prem has a conscience of a true democrat - more than those elected. He never abused his power even though he could have, with the military's backing and all. He solved problems not to benefit any political party, but the nation...He never had businessmen or people with vested interests lobbying him...He's the only prime minister who ended his term in grace."40  Indeed, part of the reason why Prem refused to stay in power after the 1988 election was because some doubts regarding his supposed neutrality emerged. This decision came after public wariness of his administration. A petition signed by 99 people, mostly academics, was submitted to the king. They stated "We request Your Majesty's assistance with this matter to ensure that the                                                      40 Soonsiri, P. (2000). Botrian khong phaendin [Lessons of the land]. Bangkok: Naewna Press, pp. 267-272. 85  political leader in the position of prime minister will strictly maintain his neutrality to any institution for the sake of protecting his political position."41  Anand Panyarachoon, a soft-spoken, highly respected diplomat, served as a prime minister twice without once being elected. He was handpicked by the junta following the military coup in 1991 to restore Thailand's image abroad after much criticism from the foreign press with regards to the military takeover. Anand always portrayed himself as "neutral" and "apolitical,? which gained him widespread support. "I had no intention to be a prime minister and never had any aspiration to enter politics. In the past many people asked me to take up various ministerial positions but I always said no."42 Anand was regarded as the nation's "savior" after the military coup in February 1991 (Meksophon: 2010). General Suchinda asked him to be a prime minister because he needed someone acceptable to both the Thai public and the international audience - particularly because foreign press was condemning the coup.  Following Suchinda's resignation after the Black May Uprising, internal bickering inside the parliament eventually led to the nomination of Anand to take the leadership position until a new leader is elected. The House Speaker at the time, Dr. Athit Urairat, was expected to nominate General Somboon Rahong as prime minister but then shocked everyone at the National Assembly when Anand's name was called. "I had to find someone who would be a prime minister for only three months and then return the power to the people...Someone I can trust that would not stay in power....[Anand] was that person."43 This is particularly ironic given that part of the motive for the protest movements was an opposition to the "unelected" Suchinda, but the public was willing to accept Anand, whom they                                                      41 Bangkok Post. (1992, July). Catalyst for change: Uprising in May. Bangkok: Bangkok Post Publishing. 42 See a candit interview with Anand: Meksophon, R. (2010). Bueang luek phruetsa pha 35 prachathippatai puean lueat muean ma klai tae pai mai thueng [Behind the scenes and stories of May 35: Democracy in blood, it seems we have come so far but we are never getting there]. Bangkok: Tawan Ok Publushing, pp. 407-414. 43 Ibid. 86  believed resolved the crisis. Indeed a group called "Friends of Anand" was formed among a small circle of elites at the time to support "good" and "honest" person like him staying as prime minister. The group believes a "good person like Anand must be protected and cherished." Some influential academics also joined in, which included Jermsak Pinthong, Methi Krongkaew, Kasien Tejapira, Rangsan Thanapornpan, etc. The membership shot up less than a week after inception and the group held rallies such as "Run for Anand" or "Flowers for Anand". These activities to protect someone because he was a "good person" were a unique phenomenon to Thailand.  Some sections of the Thai elites and the middle class favor unelected prime ministers precisely because there seem to be no "obvious" vested interests with the military. Theerayut Boonmee, a Thai academic, explains44: "The middle class was motivated by a special situation in which the dark sides of both moral and democratic values centralized in one figure [General] Suchinda. They did not have anything against unelected prime minister before the outbreak of the [Black May] turmoil, or against any other unelected prime minister before that because they found this type of leader more accessible." THE MONARCHY AND THAI POLITICS   That the monarchy is the most powerful institution in today's Thailand is not only the result of centuries-old tradition, but also the personal cultivation of the current monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the longest reigning monarch in the world. Kana Ratsadorn sought to undermine the power and legitimacy of the monarchical institution when it overthrew the absolute monarchy in 1932. Yet, the monarchy was not completely deprived of its influence and                                                      44 Bangkok Post. (1992, July). Catalyst for change: Uprising in May. Bangkok: Bangkok Post Publishing. 87  dominance in the Thai polity as the new political order retained the role of the patriarchal king, who stood as the symbol of national unity and moral rectitude to his subjects.   Nonetheless, the power of the monarchical institution remained weak in the first two decades of constitutional monarchy. This is evidenced by King Bhumibol's failed attempt to prevent Field Marshall Phibul from re-instating the 1932 constitution in 1951 (Chaleomtiarana: 2007, 2nd ed.). It was not until after 1957, during the long rule of Field Marshall Sarit Thanarat, when the position of the monarchy was elevated.45 Suwannathat-Pian (2003) argues that King Bhumibol almost single-handedly brought the monarchy from a position of decline to one that represents a pinnacle of the nation. He did so by way of "personal dedication and devotion to the commonwealth, public relations tours of the country and foreign nations, royal-sponsored socio-economic welfare projects, and royal financial independence. Most of these means and methods are image-enhancing as much as altruistic."46 Likewise, the Thai government explains why the current monarch is deeply revered: The love and reverence the Thai people have for their King stem in large part from the moral authority His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has earned during his reign, one that involves a remarkable degree of personal contact with the people.  While formally the King enjoys a ceremonial position as the head of state, a careful reading of the Thai constitution reveals a much more powerful position. In the second chapter of the 2007 constitution; section 8 says: "The King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated. No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action. Such an article in the constitution may seem at odds with conventional understanding of a                                                      45 Hewison, K. (Ed.). Political change in Thailand: Democracy and participation. NY: Routledge, p. 63. 46 Kobkua, S. P. (2003). Kings, country and constitutions: Thailand?s political development 1932?2000. London: Routledge, p. 3.  88  constitutional monarchy. Yet in the Thai case, such references to the power of the King reflect both traditional and modern understandings of the Thai monarch - one whose actual power cannot be captured in words. Thai people refer to the King as "Phra Chao Yu Hua," which literally translates to "God upon our head." In this instance, the King continues to be perceived as the "Lord of the land" whose main duty is to preserve and protect the land and the people who live on it.47   In normal times, the King serves as a symbol of unity and stability of Thailand and guides by moral suasion and example through words and writing. A prime example of this is the King's oath of coronation on May 5, 1950: ?We shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people." This particular phrase has been frequently replayed in the past six decades and it has become a yard stick for "good governance" - one that those with the constitutional powers to govern in the democratic system should follow. In times of crisis, however, the monarch is expected to play a role in resolving the situation. The Thai government describes the King's role in crisis management:  His Majesty's moral authority was reinforced by his judicious interventions to put an end to widening political bloodshed. Two of the most crucial of those times occurred in 1973 and 1991...Through these interventions, the King did not involve himself in the political problems, which should be and were resolved through political mechanisms. Rather, he stopped bloodshed among Thais when state machinery had failed to do so.48  The King's ability to resolve conflicts, both in 1973 and 1992, speaks volumes to his power and authority above and beyond his constitutional standing. But the King's power is a                                                      47 The Thai government has a website that explains in detail the role of the monarchy. See: http://www.thailandtoday.org/monarchy/faq. 48 Ibid.  89  two-way street: on the one hand, it is how the King perceives it to be, while on the other, it is what the populace expects from its monarch. Clearly there are sections of the population that called out for the King's intervention in both incidents, thus, his actions are reactionary. However, each intervention leaves a legacy and builds future expectation. This will become particularly important when discussing the emergence of the pro-monarchy movement of the PAD.  Moreover, the long reign of King Bhumibol has allowed him to build a key virtue of political leadership "barami." Barami is an important concept in Thai studies and it means "virtue" and "innate authority." This "barami" is not hereditary and cannot be given or passed on to anyone. Rather, barami is "earned" and is built over a long period of time through hard work and dedication. Barami is a marker of legitimacy and authority that can be used to enhance someone's power. The King is regarded to have a lot of barami, which makes his actions and words powerful moral suasion that can shape behaviors and outcomes in the political arena. This was why a royal blessing was so critical to the success of many of the unelected prime ministers such as Prem and Anand. In times of conflict, many political elites look to the King for solution and royal appointments. This power and authority the King derives from his "barami" as opposed to the fact that he is the King per se.   The King's moral suasion can be a more powerful marker of legitimacy than any power derived from constitutional or parliamentarian positions. This is particularly true because of the deep reverence towards the King among the majority of Thai society, which further contributes to the power of the King's words and actions. As Suwannathat-Pian (2003, p. 11) argues:  It is evident that Bhumibol's socio-political strength comes from the unconditional devotion of his subjects who are willing to support and be guided 90  by him because they have been convinced that his interest for their well-being is a genuine mission that Bhumibol has embraced since he took the reign...that Bhumibol has been able to defy ruling military juntas, parliaments and even constitutions with immunity is by itself proof of his unshaken bond he has cultivated with his people. This "informal" power of the monarchical institution can shape and change political outcomes in times of crisis.  Moreover, some groups have manipulated the power of the monarchy for their own political gain. They use the monarchy as a "front" to achieve their ends, knowing full well the monarchy cannot always respond to political matters. In fact, the most powerful way to discredit someone is to accuse him of defaming the monarchy. Even the rumor of someone facing such an allegation can go a long way in tarnishing that person's reputation, which sometimes leads to dismissal and even temporary exile. Sulak Sivaraksa, a well-known public intellectual and prominent leader of a number of key NGOs, and a self-confessed royalist, was accused by General Suchinda after the 1991 coup of lese majeste. Sulak, who was forced into exile for four years, was targeted because he was a popular challenger to the coup government. Such examples of abuse of the monarchical institution can be found throughout Thai history. The emergence of the Yellow Shirts used "royalism" as a key driving force for mobilization as well as a legitimization of its movement. NONDEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS   Apart from the military and the monarchical institutions, the courts and the Privy Council represent powerful nondemocratic bodies in Thailand. The Privy Council is an extension of the monarchical institution and is a body that represents monarchical interests. These "royal 91  advisors" are appointed by the King and may not serve in any political positions. Privy councilors are often composed of a group of retired career bureaucrats and military generals, including previous prime ministers (in authoritarian governments).  During times of crisis, Privy Councilors play critical role in "signaling" royal interests either through direct action of the councilors themselves or via lobbying other institutions in the polity, such as the military and the parliament. The most important responsibility of the Privy Council is to preserve and maintain the power of the monarchy.  Some have argued that the Privy Council had been politicized and took active part in the overthrow of the Thaksin government (Hewison & Connors: 2008; Pathmanand: 2008; Pongsudhirak: 2008). Although in theory, the Privy Council is supposed to remain politically neutral, Thaksin was convinced that Prem was a major force behind his downfall. The current Privy Council is under the tutelage of former Prime Minister, Prem Tinasulanond, whom many believe had serious conflict with Thaksin. Following the coup in 2006, another Privy Councilor, General Surayuth Chulanond became the prime minister, under the guidance of Prem. Throughout the political conflict, the PAD Movement directly appealed to Prem for support and intervention.  The judiciary is, by definition, nondemocratic in the sense that it is not an elected institution. In Thailand, however, the judiciary takes on a special responsibility as the "political reformers" (Supkampang: 2010). Traditionally, the judiciary was created to bring political reforms to the country and this responsibility was further empowered after the 1997 constitution. The direct involvement of the courts in recent political cases, most involving Thaksin and his allies, casts serious doubts as to the impartiality of the Thai judiciary. The courts were believed to be the instruments of the traditional power holders and became politicized to protect their 92  interests.  As such, the rise of "judicial activism" (discussed in chapter 6) was seen as part of the consolidation of power of nondemocratic institutions in Thailand. CONCLUSION   This chapter argues that there are structural conditions that make Thailand susceptible to democratic breakdowns: a) frequent coups; b) popular mobilization and its ambivalence towards democracy and c) the role of the monarchy as the "last resort" for conflict resolution. These factors make coups more likely in Thailand, compared to other Third Wave Democracies. However, democracy in Thailand does not always break down, even at times when collapse seems "imminent" such as during a severe economic crisis. The Black May uprising and its implications dramatically changed Thai politics in ways that have had fundamental impacts on future coup d'?tats as well as the emergence of mass-based politics. First, Black May significantly weakened the military's position in the political arena. This is particularly true when considering the power of the military vis-?-vis the public, career politicians and the monarchy. The second and related point is that the cost of coup d'?tats as mechanisms for regime change has dramatically increased for the military. Third, the set in motion the process of political liberalization, driven by reformist elites who have gained political prominence since Black May.  Black May also contains its contradictions as it confirms long-standing nondemocratic tendencies within the Thai polity. The uprising was not in opposition to the coup d'?tat per se, but rather an opposition to the military staying in power. Moreover, the public support for the royally appointed prime minister underscored the monumental power of the monarchical institution and also illustrated public acceptance of political leadership that does not come from the democratic process. These tendencies among the public were not new in Thai political history thus demonstrating continuity, rather than change, in this respect. 93  4. POLITICS OF REFORMS IN THE 1990S    "In every society, there are both good people and bad people. It is impossible to make everyone good. To bring peace and order to society is not about turning bad people into good ones, but rather it is about ensuring that good people get to govern so that bad people will not become powerful and create disorder."  - His Majesty Bhumibhol Adulyadej, Royal Speech at the National Boy Scouts Convention, December 11, 1969     INTRODUCTION    Manoo, a sales manager for an international pharmaceutical company, found himself among the many thousands protesters during the Black May uprising, attending rallies after work. As a student leader during the October 14 Incident in 1973, he said something from those early days of resistance against dictatorship prompted him to join the May protests. "No matter how messy democracy may seem in its embryonic stage, it is always better than despotism."49 Following Black May, Thailand undertook one of the most extensive political reform episodes in contemporary history. This reform process, stretching from 1992 to 2001, broadly speaking, is among the most democratic, open and participatory the country has ever seen.                                                       49 Bangkok Post. (1992, July). Catalyst for change: Uprising in May. Bangkok: Bangkok Post Publishing, p. 70. 94   I argue in this chapter that the political reforms in the post-Black May period exemplify a contestation over both the meaning of democracy and the way in which the current political system in Thailand ought to be changed. While the reformist elites - the majority of which led the opposition movement against the 1991 coup government - agreed that reforms were needed to make the Thai polity more open and democratic, there is serious disagreement over how to go about it. Such disagreements were shaped by differing ideology and lived experiences. The end result of these reformist elites' compromise is the "1997 People's Constitution," which paved ways both for the rise of the Thai Rak Thai Party and subsequently the emergence of the People's Alliance for Democracy movement. It is not that the constitution itself drives the anti-Thaksin movement, but rather it is the people behind it.   The anti-military reformists were the driving force behind this reform movement in the 1990s. Empowered by the defeat of the Suchinda government, the reformist elites were hopeful that changes in the formal democratic institutions, such as the constitution, electoral system, and the senate, for instance, will provide new incentives and constraints on the behavior and conduct of political elites in ways that would facilitate political liberalization. The success gained by the reformist elites raise expectation of the future of democratic politics in Thailand. This "gap" between the expectations of what democracy in Thailand would be and the reality of what it is once Thaksin came to power becomes the driving force behind anti-democratic mobilization. In essence, Thaksin and his government exemplifies the very opposite of what these reformists envision and the realization of the unintended consequences of their reforms provide grounds for the rise of the PAD movement.  Yet, the so-called "progressive" reformists are neither uniformly liberal nor democratic. While the reform process itself is commendable for its unprecedented participatory nature, the 95  1997 constitution itself is neither inherently liberal nor democratic. The content of the constitution reflects different vested interests of the reformist elites who were tasked to complete its drafts. Understanding the illiberal, undemocratic and conservative elements within the 1997 constitution helps to explain the rise of the anti-democratic movement that emerged in 2005.   It is not just that the idea of democracy was contested while mass expectations surrounding democracy were raised, the laws and policies adopted entrenched these contradictions, reflecting the vested interests of key groups.  In this chapter, the politics of reforms in the post-Black May period will be discussed. Specifically, a detailed analysis of the 1997 constitution will be provided. I then discuss the socio-political implications of this new constitution. In addition, Thailand underwent the most difficult and severe economic reforms following the Asian Financial Crisis, which gave rise to widespread contention and social dislocation. Despite this, there was no evidence of polarization in the voting behavior of the electorates, nor was there an emergence of an anti-systems or anti-democratic movement in this period. The main explanation for the lack of an anti-democratic mobilization stems from the nature of coalition politics and the weakly institutionalized party systems that allow for a more open politics.  THE AFTERMATH OF THE BLACK MAY UPRISING   The victory of the opposition movement against Prime Minister Suchinda set in motion a broader based reform movement centered on political liberalization and democratization. I will argue in the following paragraphs that the key areas of the reform effort include: a) greater political participation from the mass; 2) greater accountability between the electorate and their representatives;  3) reduced power and influence of the military in politics and 4) a stronger and more institutionalized party system. This process of reform remains largely elite-driven despite a 96  concerted effort to include the voices of the people into the process. These reformist elites are a loose and varied coalition of academics, activists, professionals, bureaucrats and public intellectuals. It is important to view them as "elites" because despite the fact that some of them have deep roots in society at large (i.e. activists), they remain at the top of the hierarchy of their networks and they often represent their views on issue rather than the interests of their groups. Also, their participation in the reform process is much more pronounced than their networks, which signifies a rather elitist nature of the reform.  THE REFORM PROCESS   "Reform" became a buzz word after the supposed victory of the people in toppling the Suchinda government, paving a way for what they imagine will be an era of more inclusive and open politics. The reformists took charge of the reform process under the leadership of a highly-respected public intellectual and activist, Dr. Prawes Wasi, to create a political system where no single group can monopolize power. While there is some broad agreement as to what is "wrong" about the Thai polity, there is no consensus as to what exactly needs reforming.   I argue that the political reformers are divided into three groups: behavioralists, institutionalists, and structuralists. The behavioralists are reformists who believe the "people" are what is really wrong with the Thai political system. They question the morality and ethics of the political elites and purport that unless their behavior change for the better, no amount of constitutional or electoral engineering could change the outcome. These political elites are going to find loopholes to circumvent new institutions and continue their clientelistic, corrupt and nepotistic ways. Unless the behavior of political elites changes, no "real" reform can occur. Democracy must rest on moral and ethical foundations otherwise it will not work. Proponents of the behavioral approach tend to view politicians as "poor in quality" and have a habit of buying 97  votes from the rural majority as a way of building patronage and forming alliances necessary to win elections. The malaise of the Thai polity lies in the questionable (lack of) moral ethics of political elites.   TABLE 5: REFORMIST APPROACHES  Subjects of reform Focus of reforms Key reformists (selected) Behavioralism Politicians ? Morality, ethics  ? Dharma ? Democratic culture Prawes Wasi*, Theerayuth Boonmee*, Chamlong Srimuang*, Khien Teerawit, Kaewsan Athipoh, Prasong Soonsiri, Kanin Boonsuwan, Likhit Dheravegin Institutionalism Institutions ? Constitutions ? Electoral Systems ? Democratic Institutions Anand Panyarachoon, Amorn Raksasat, Uthai Pimjaichon, Bawornsak Uwanno, Somkid Lertpaitoon, Kanit na Nakorn, Pongthep Thepkanchana, Chai-anan Samudvanij* Structuralism Socio-political Structures ? Power structure ? Class/ Life chances ? Inequality Suchit Boonbongkarn, Somsak Kosaisuk*, Prateep Ungsongtham*, Weng Tojirakarn*, Bamroong Kayotha*, Saneh Jamrik* Source: Author * Not part of the 99-person Constitutional Drafting Committee (1996) but noted as having some influence in the discourse of constitutional drafting        98    The biggest proponent of this approach is none other than Dr. Prawes Wasi, who advocates for moral principles and ethics as a key to building a better society. In his earlier writing (1990), he lays out his thought on what democracy should be in Thailand: Democracy and dharma50 need to go together so that democracy would be more righteous...If everyone lives by moral and ethical principles, then they would be better people...they would not be interested in politics just to seek power or benefit themselves...Dharma-based democracy will help political parties to recruit good people into politics, which will improve the quality and morality of democracy.51 Two decades later, Prawes' famous "Triangle that moves a mountain" (??????????????????????) theory, which he promoted widely among academics, politicians and activists, underscores his earlier pessimism about the lack of morality among politicians. Since politicians will never be "good" or "honest," according to Prawes, they must be pressured to reform by other groups in society, namely the empowered citizenry and those with knowledge (academics). 52  Some of the supporters of this approach take a royalist stance by using the King's words and teaching as a yardstick for how people should behave. Prasong Soonsiri, veteran politician dubbed the "CIA of Thailand" for his long tenure at the National Security Council, points to politicians as the culprits for the Thai political system. "Where politicians seek power for themselves and their cronies, that country will not likely prosper. Politicians know they should be good people but they don't                                                      50 Dharma in Buddhism means the body of Buddha's teachings. It also refers to the moral transformation of human beings 51 Wasi, P. (1990). Thitthang anakhot thai phuea khwam suk thuan na [The future direction of Thailand for the happiness for all]. Bangkok: Moh Chao Ban Publishing, pp. 86-7. 52 King Prajadiphok Institute (KPI). (2003). Five years of political reforms under the new constitution. Bangkok: KPI Press. 99  want to be...They should adhere to the royal speech [quoted at beginning of Chapter]...and follow his teaching."53  The institutionalist approach, on the other hand, is taken up largely by those in the law profession, and to a lesser extent, political science academics. Institutionalists believe that if the right institutions are put in place, they will place both incentives and constraints on the behavior of political elites and shape the society as a whole in ways that would allow democracy to prosper. It is not that they disagree with those taking behavioralist approach per se, those in the institutionalist camp mainly pin the hope for change on institutions. Bawornsak Uwanno, a law professor and a constitutional drafter, sees a new constitution as a solution to the malaise of Thai politics. He points to three key problems: a) representative democracy is highly problematic; b) political affairs are writ large with corruption, and lack of ethics or legitimacy and c) parliament lacks stability; prime minister lacks leadership skills; and both government and parliament are ineffective.54 A new constitution would make the political realm an area for the people; make political and bureaucratic system honest and legitimate by empowering citizens in all levels; and increase government's stability and capability by ensuring that the prime minister has leadership qualities and enhancing parliamentarian effectiveness. 55  Likewise, Pongthep Thepkanchana, another constitutional drafter and a current deputy prime minister, argues that the independent bodies created by the 1997 constitution are at the heart of good governance. "These institutions are needed to create mechanisms of transparent checks and balances."56                                                      53 Soonsiri, P. (2000). Botrian khong phaendin [Lessons of the land]. Bangkok: Naewna Press, p. 14. 54 Kachayuthadej, B. and Kongmeong, P. (Eds.). (1998). Ruam sara ratthathammanun chabap prachachon [A summary of the people's constitution]. Bangkok: Matichon Publishing, pp.50-1. 55 Ibid 56 Naewna. (2013, March 1). Phong thep chin thanachut 40 phit sa ong kon itsara ba amnat [Phonthep points 1997 Constitution creates power-hungry independent institutions.] Accessed on February 9, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.naewna.com/politic/43322.  100   The institutionalists had a reason to be optimistic. After all, out of the eighteen constitutions Thailand's had since 1932, only three very short-lived constitutions of 1946, 1949 1974 had any democratic elements, but were as a result, quickly torn up by the various military juntas that came to power.57 The majority of the constitutions were written to allow authoritarian regimes to remain in power, not to provide rights and protection of citizens under the law. Field Marshall Sarit, who staged a coup in 1958, took nearly 10 years to write up the 1968 constitution, as a foil to keep himself in power. "For the past 77 years Thai constitutions have failed to serve as rules and social contracts...Thailand is unable to establish a regime that uses the rule of law to solve conflicts and always relies on coup d'?tats," claimed law academic and student leader of the Black May uprising, Parinya Tewarnaruemitkul.58 As such for the first time ever, there was hope that the 1997 constitution will be written by the people for the people.   The structuralist approach, supported largely by reformist elites drawn from civil society organizations, view existing socio-political structures as major impediments to a more democratic and just society. Pervasive and growing gaps between the rich and the poor, a lack of access to resources, lack of social mobility and foreshortened future are what makes the majority of Thais feel powerless. Structuralists see measures to empower citizens and opportunities for them to participate meaningfully in the political process as key to fixing the broken political system. Raewadee Prasertchareonsuk, head of the Coordinating Committee of NGO Networks, argues that a true democracy must have the people, especially the poor and the disadvantaged, at its center.59 Rights, liberty and equality must be given to the people in order for any structural                                                      57 For a discussion of Thai constitutions, see Jamrik, S. (1997). Kanmueang thai kap phatthana kan ratthathammanun [Thai politics and constitutional development]. Bangkok: Thammasat University Press. 58 Thairath.  (2009). Panha kanmueang thai kae thi khon rue ratthathammanun [Problems with Thai politics: is it because of people or the constitution?]. Accessed on February 9, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.thairath.co.th/content/pol/51952. 59 King Prajadiphok Institute (KPI). (2003). Five years of political reforms under the new constitution. Bangkok: KPI Press, p. 453. 101  reforms to be sustainable, adds Raewadee.60 Somkiat Pongpaibul, a pro-poor activist who later became one of PAD's top leaders, contends Thailand needs "new politics" that is not politics of representation, but politics for the people.61 This "civil politics" would open doors for people at the grassroots level to participate in politics and have their voices heard beyond mere voting. Thailand really needs participatory, not representative, democracy, adds Somkiat.62   TABLE 6: ESTIMATED AMOUNT SPENT ON VOTE-BUYING AND NUMBER OF REPORTED ELECTORAL VIOLATIONS (1988-2001)  Amount spent on  vote-buying (Bt) Number of reported electoral violations 1988 10 billion n/a 1992 n/a 2,500 1995 20-55 Billion 3,257 1996 20-100 Billion 4,260 2001 > 25 Billion 16% of constituencies ordered a re-run Source: Poll Watch Foundation, Election Commission, Law Society of Thailand, P-NET    Despite the different approaches to reforms among the reformists in the early 1990s, there is consensus among the constitutional drafters that the three key political reforms are: 1) empowering citizens vis-?-vis the state; 2) enabling good people to be in position of power to provide checks and balances and 3) a new constitution is needed to provide credible commitment to reforms.63 Many also agree that representative democracy as a political system is highly                                                      60 King Prajadiphok Institute (KPI). (2003). Five years of political reforms under the new constitution. Bangkok: KPI Press, p. 454. 61 Ibid, p. 436. 62 Ibid, p. 437. 63 Kachayuthadej, B. and Kongmeong, P. (Eds.). (1998). Ruam sara ratthathammanun chabap prachachon [A summary of the people's constitution]. Bangkok: Matichon Publishing. 102  problematic because it cannot respond to the needs of the people on the grounds.64 Politicians are commonly viewed as highly corrupt, self-interested individuals whose loyalty lies with themselves, their cronies and those who finance their election campaigns. Vote-buying was rampant (Table 6) and party-switching among politicians a common occurrence (Ockey: 2003). Newin Chidchob a long-time politician, for instance, has switched party allegiances seven times during his 20-year career.65  The plan to draft a new constitution, which had a modest beginning among a small circle of academics and activists in 1992, continuously faced resistance from political parties before it was adopted in 1997. Political elites insisted the constitution would affect them directly - making it crucial for them to participate in the drafting (Jarusombat & Watchawalkul: 2003). "The political reform...gradually gathered support as dissatisfaction with party politics grew among people," argues Tamada Yoshifumi (2009, p. 116). Yet, due to the frequent house dissolution during the mid-1990s, the plan for political reforms stumbled and fell many times some believe it would never materialized.66 Politicians wanted to ensure that they have the power to appoint members of the constitutional drafting assembly, and some wanted veto power to shoot down the new draft67. This point of contention prompted heated debates within the National Assembly, resulting in many committees and drafts. It was not until the effects of the Asian Financial Crisis were in full throttle in Thailand when all the political elites could put their differences aside and voted overwhelmingly to pass what finally became the 1997 constitution.                                                      64 Kachayuthadej, B. and Kongmeong, P. (Eds.). (1998). Ruam sara ratthathammanun chabap prachachon [A summary of the people's constitution]. Bangkok: Matichon Publishing. 65 Thai Post. (2009, February 16). Newin Chidchob: anakhot nayok khon thi 28 [Newin Chidchop: Future PM Number 28]. Accessed on February 9, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.thaipost.net/news/160209/377.   66 For a detailed discussion of the history of the 1997 constitution, see Thanapornpan, R. (2002). Kamnoet ratthathammanun thai 2540 [The birth of the 1997 constitution]. Bangkok: Thammasat University Press. 67 Thanapornpan, R. (2002). Kamnoet ratthathammanun thai 2540 [The birth of the 1997 constitution]. Bangkok: Thammasat University Press, pp. 12-4. 103   The constitutional drafting process is undoubtedly the most open and participatory in Thailand's history. It was the first constitution that actively engaged with the public at large. Between January and July 1997, the drafting committee held numerous public hearing throughout the country and organized public discussion of the constitutional draft in all of Thailand's 76 provinces68. The Constitutional Drafting Assembly, consisting of 99 experts and elected members from all provinces, sought to ensure that this constitution incorporated as much input from the citizens as possible. Uthai Pimjaichon, a drafting member, proudly explained why it's called the "People's Constitution":  This constitution seeks to ensure that people have access to information. Any issues related to their livelihood, they must be able to get information from the various government services. They need to be able to know when the roads will be complete and so on. This constitution is really for the people. Next time we decide to construct new roads we will have to consult the people first.69  THE 1997 CONSTITUTION   The institutionalist-reformists won the battle, but with a compromise. The 1997 constitution was an unprecedented attempt to overhaul the political system through a provision of a new constitution - one that sought to engage public participation. Its drafters had hoped this constitution will essentially fix the woes that have plagued Thailand's political system and strengthen its democratic institutions. While the mechanism for reform - constitutional engineering - signifies the victory of the institutionalist approach, the new constitution is a compromise of various ideologies and vested interests of the reformers. Despite its rather                                                      68 There were only 76 provinces at the time. 69 Kachayuthadej, B. and Kongmeong, P. (Eds.). (1998). Ruam sara ratthathammanun chabap prachachon [A summary of the people's constitution]. Bangkok: Matichon Publishing, p. 19. 104  "democratic" procedure, the constitution is neither inherently liberal nor democratic as it contains conservative and elitist elements, which reflect the diverse thinking of the reformist elites.     TABLE 7: SELECTED KEY REFORMS IN THE 1997 CONSTITUTION Dimension Reform Purposes Public participation/ Local autonomy 1. Public hearings with state officials 2. Petition to dismiss MPs, ministers (50,000 signatures) 3. Community rights/ conservation of traditional culture 4. Autonomy to local government To increase public participation in politics; Greater political rights; Greater rights for citizens and communities; Decentralization of central state power Good governance 1. Direct election of senate 2. Compulsory voting 3. PM must come from lower house 4. MPs cannot be cabinet members at the same time 5. Creation of legislative ordinary session 6. Smaller cabinet size To strengthen democracy; reduce abuse of power by those in political positions; more effective legislature Executive power 1. House dissolution not allowed during confidence motion 2. More power to appoint and dismiss ministers, top officials Strengthen the role of the executive; more efficient governance Party system 1. SMD replaces bloc-voting 2. Funding for party development 3. Restrict party switching (must be member of party for 90 days before election) 4. PR-list second tier voting 5. More oversight on campaign donations 6. 5% threshold To improve the quality of those seeking political positions; to reduce vote-buying and candidate-selling; to reduce money politics Checks and Balances Creation of new independent bodies (e.g. Election Commission, National Human Rights Commission, Office of Ombudsman, Constitutional Court, National Counter-Corruption Commission) To reduce corruption and abuse of power; to provide oversight on the National Assembly and other state agencies Source: Author.  105  Table 7 illustrates the key dimensions of reforms that the 1997 Constitution puts in place. First, provisions were made to increase public participation in the political life and to empower ordinary citizens with new rights to guard against the abuse of state power. A total of 51 new rights were extended to Thai citizens as a result of this new constitution.70 Examples are the right to hold public hearings (article 59); community rights to preserve natural resources (article 56);  the right to submit a petition for a bill consideration (article 170); and increased devolution of state power to local governments (articles 282-290). Boonlert Changyai, one of the 1997 Constitution drafters argue that these social rights were a flag ship of the constitution because they have been so poorly dealt with in the past.71   FIGURE 5: NEW INDEPENDENT INSTITUTIONS CREATED BY THE 1997 CONSTITUTION                                                                   70 Lertpaitoon, S. (2007). Ratthathammanun chabap mai tong di kwa doem [The new constitution must be better than before]. Bangkok: Thammasat University Press. 71 Kachayuthadej, B. and Kongmeong, P. (Eds.). (1998). Ruam sara ratthathammanun chabap prachachon [A summary of the people's constitution]. Bangkok: Matichon Publishing, p. 136. 1. Election Commission of Thailand 2. National Anti-Corruption Commission 3. Office of the Ombudsman Thailand 4. National Human Rights Commission 5. Constitutional Court 6. Central Administrative Court 7. Office of the Auditor General Thailand 106  Secondly, the 1997 constitution seeks to build a political environment conducive to good governance. As discussed previously, the drafters' conception of "good governance" follows along the same line as the King's notion of promoting "good" people to rule. In order to reduce incentives for corrupt politicians to stay in politics or reduce the extent of vote buying and money politics, a number of articles are written to bring about good governance, which in effect would help improve democratic quality. The upper house, for instance, would be directly elected for the first time by the populace (article 315). However, candidates would not be allowed to campaign to dissuade political parties from intervening. The unprecedented measure is aimed to reduce the influence of the "old elites" since the upper house has long been dominated by retired generals, bureaucrats and public intellectuals. Chai-anan calls this "the informal political party" or the "legislative arms" of the bureaucracy (Samudvanija: 1989, pp. 333-4). It was hoped that an elected senate would make the National Assembly more democratic and the elected senates would provide checks and balances for the lower house.   How can Thailand get rid of vote-buying politicians? The constitutional drafters reckon that if more people vote, the cost of vote-buying would go up significantly for political parties. As such, article 68 stipulates voting to be mandatory. Overseas nationals and absentee ballots are also allowed. Electoral conduct will receive greater oversight from the newly created Election Commission as well as other measures to hamper misconduct, such as counting ballots at each polling station.   To attract better quality candidates to enter politics, the drafters put in measures place to overhaul the entire electoral system. The previous system of bloc-voting, which Hicken (2006) argues creates incentives for more corruption as candidates from the same parties are forced to compete with one another, was done away with. A new electoral system is a mixed member 107  system of single-member district (SMD) at one tier, and a closed-list proportional representation in the second tier. SMD would reduce intra-party competition, while closed-list PR would create stronger incentives for party identification and reduce vote-buying opportunities. The combined effect of these measures is to help reduce the number of parties, force parties to develop national agenda and broad appeals, and strengthen the overall party system. Gone will be the days of personalistic campaigning, endless number of parties and lack of party roots in society, the drafters hope. To enhance government efficacy and stability, new rules require politicians to be a member of a political party at least 90 days before elections to dissuade party switching. The prime minister must also come from MPs, and if an MP wants to be in a cabinet, he must resign his seat.  A major concern for the reformists was the abuse of power by the political elites and state agencies. To curb power abuse, new independent institutions are created to provide checks and balances against the administrative branch of powers. A Constitutional Court was established (article 255) to ensure the rights given by the 1997 constitution are protected. The Ombudsman was created (article 196) to keep the abuse of the state and government in check. The National Human Rights Commission was created (article 199) to allow the protection of human rights. The National Anti-Corruption Commission was established (article 297) to reduce and deter corruption by political leaders, in particular. The NACC is notable because it has the power to persecute those in political positions, remove someone from office and enforce declaration of assets for politicians, of which are all unprecedented in previous constitutions.  The last notable change the constitution tries to bring about is a stronger executive. Given the history of weak and unstable coalition governments in the past, the constitutional drafters sought ways to lengthen government's term and empower the prime minister to govern more 108  effectively. As such, the prime minister can dissolve parliament and call new elections within 60 days (although he cannot do so during a no confidence motion). This, in combination with the 90-day party membership requirement, would make it very difficult for MPs to defect from a party, or a coalition party to cause government collapse. Moreover, the prime minister has the power to remove and appoint cabinet ministers at will (article 217)72 and no less than two-fifth of the lower house is required to have a no confidence motion on the prime minister (article 185).  CRITICISMS OF THE 1997 CONSTITUTION   While supporters heralded the success of the 1997 constitutional engineering, the so-called "People's Constitution" contains illiberal and conservative elements that do not necessarily facilitate democratic development. Indeed, despite its open and participatory process of constitutional drafting, the constitution itself remains an elitist invention. From the very onset, when the idea of a constitutional drafting assembly was conceived in 1994, the main supporters wanted only experts and not politicians to be part of the assembly.73 As the situation evolved and the drafting committee took various forms, politicians found ways to exert their presence. The issue of public participation in the drafting process was not of consensus, but rather controversial, as one group of reformists only wanted "expert opinion" only, while the other sought public engagement. 74  The latter group won the battle but with serious opposition. Nonetheless, the final 99-member CDA was largely driven by the expert members, not the elected ones. The majority of these so-called specialists are those experienced in the law or                                                      7272 The actual wording of the constitution is that the PM advices the King to remove or appoint cabinet ministers. 73 Thanapornpan, R. (2002). Kamnoet ratthathammanun thai 2540 [The birth of the 1997 constitution]. Bangkok: Thammasat University Press, p. 14. 74 Ibid, p. 17. 109  political science profession. Consequently, the constitution reflects values and ideologies of those in the elite circle.  One great example is article 107 that requires MP candidates to have a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree. Such requirement is completely out of touch with reality as only 5% of the Thai population completed tertiary education in 2000. 75  In effect, the degree prerequisite discriminates the majority of the population and preserves a position of MP only for the educated few. 76  This requirement also reflects the reformists' idea of what "good" and "capable" politicians should be. Better educated people are needed to govern the country. This article faced some resistance, particularly from the structuralist-reformists, many of whom believe this closes the doors for the majority of the Thai people to enter politics. "This [article] makes those without degrees second-class citizens and should be considered discriminatory," argues a pro-poor activist.77  The 1997 constitution also reflects a strong emphasis on "good and moral people" - a rather subjective quality. The constitutional drafters sought to put in place institutional mechanisms to reign in good, capable people into politics. This reflects deep-seated belief that politicians are usually bad and corrupt people and they are one of the root causes of the broken political system. There are several problems with this subjective standard. First, who gets to define who is "good" and "moral"? Given that the "good leaders" that Thailand have had in the past are largely unelected (Prem and Anand), what does it say about the country's democracy when the qualities of "good" political elites are those who are perceived as impartial and politically neutral? How realistic is it to expect people without vested interests to enter politics                                                      75 See: World Bank EdStats.  7676 An exception to this is for those who have been MPs before. 77 King Prajadiphok Institute (KPI). (2003). Five years of political reforms under the new constitution. Bangkok: KPI Press, p. 547. 110  for the greater good of society? Politicians naturally are focused on getting elected and the extent to which one could create incentives for "moral" people to enter politics to "help the country" remains doubtful.   Moreover, many of the new provision of civil and community rights promulgated in the 1997 constitution are seen as ineffectual without legislative guarantee. One of the flaws of the 1997 constitution argues a drafter, Somkit Lertpaitoon, is that "many of the rights guaranteed under the constitution cannot take effect without legislation." 78  This is a point of much contention with the people's sector which demands more legislation to implement these rights provision in the constitution. Bamrung Kayotha from the Assembly of the Poor contends that many of the constitutional provisions the poor really need are likely to be of no use due to the lack of further legislation. "The state tries to prevent the constitution from taking effect. Issues like community rights, protection of traditional way of life, conflict over access to land and resources are all very important to the poor. If they don't become legislative acts, they would be of little use to the poor."79  The draft constitution also elicited some strong opposition from the public. It's a myth that because it is referred to as the "people's constitution" that it means it is widely popular. Waves of protests between the supporters - "the Green Mob" - of the draft and their counterparts heated up weeks before parliament vote. Some 30,000 village chiefs and kamnans from mostly the North and the Northeast were protesting against the draft.80 Another royalist group that calls itself "Those who love their monarch" (???????????????) was among the opposition that argues the new                                                      78 Lertpaitoon, S. (2007). Ratthathammanun chabap mai tong di kwa doem [The new constitution must be better than before]. Bangkok: Thammasat University Press, p. 8. 79 King Prajadiphok Institute (KPI). (2003). Five years of political reforms under the new constitution. Bangkok: KPI Press, p. 547. 80 Thai Post. (1997, September 5). Kamnan ma ik 3 muen - si khiao chumnum yai [30,000 kamnans are coming - the Green protest]. Accessed February 9, 2012. Retrieved from News Centre Database. 111  constitution is seeking to change the regime from a constitutional monarchy to a republic.81  Meanwhile, some 3,000 supporters drawn from the Student Federation of Thailand, pro-democracy groups, labor and NGO groups gathered to support the draft. Pipob Thongchai, a senior NGO activist who later became one of PAD's top leaders, was among the supporters. "We need to put pressure on the politicians so that they don't back down and let the draft through."82 At some point they shouted Anand's name as he joined the pro-constitution movement.83  Politicians, especially those in government, put up a fierce fight. Kwamwang Mai's Sanoh Thienthong, threatened house dissolution a possibility to prevent the passage of the constitutional draft. "Don't listen to anyone who says if you don't agree with the draft, the country would descend into chaos."84 Mun Patthanothai, an MP from the government's coalition partner, Prachakorn Thai Party, echoes:  "This is the worst constitutional draft ever...especially article 205 that prohibits MPs to take up cabinet posts at the same time. I think most MPs also disagree with this....The drafters think they could attract good people into politics. But given how the system works, only children from rich families and the capitalist groups  to enter politics."85 Other MPs also believe the new constitution is biased towards bigger parties and put the small and medium-size parties at a great disadvantage. Democrat MP, Kowit Tharana from the                                                      81 Khao Hun. (1997, September 6). Mop fai tan yom thoithap thong khiao won sanamluang [Opposition groups willing to back down - their green flag all over Sanam Luang]. Accessed February 10, 2012. Retrieved from News Center Database. 82 Thai Post. (1997, September 5). Kamnan ma ik 3 muen - si khiao chumnum yai [30,000 kamnans are coming - the Green protest]. Accessed February 10, 2012. Retrieved from News Centre Database. 83 Khao Hun. (1997, September 6). Mop fai tan yom thoithap thong khiao won sanamluang [Opposition groups willing to back down - their green flag all over Sanam Luang]. Accessed February 10, 2012. Retrieved from News Center Database. 84 Thaipost. (1997, August 21). Khowomo phueng amnat rat khwang rothono tuean ching yup sapha khon tem thanon [Koh Woh Moh depends on state power to oppose constitution...warning if house dissolution then people out on the streets]. Accessed February 10, 2012. Retrived from News Centre Database.  85 Ibid. 112  opposition, argues: "Small parties will lose out. How could they find 'good' people to fill up their party list? The only way for them to survive would be to merge with big parties."86  Others argue that what appears to be a "good governance" constitution is far from reality. The 1997 constitution did not emphasize good governance because it did not create mechanisms to hold the ruling class and civil servants accountable to their citizens. The way the constitution was written suggests that the public has to shoulder the initial costs of creating good governance87. For instance those who want to push the legislation need to get 50,000 signatures and have to pay for the process in order to petition to parliament. Those who seek transparency or acquire public service data have to pay for the process of obtaining such data. The 1997 constitution discusses good governance superficially, argue its critics, especially on the issues of transparency and participation. Poor people would have a hard time either producing sufficient documentation or financial resources to file a petition.  Kanin Boonsuwan, one of the drafters of the reform constitution, who later became a force behind the PAD Movement admits that after seven years since the new constitution was used, Thailand becomes stuck between a rock and a hard place.88 For the past 7 years the people who benefited from the new constitution are the politicians who fought fiercely against the positive changes we tried to push for and won, laments Kanin. "These politicians are still as power hungry as ever; they sought to influence the media to benefit them electorally, and once they're in power they abuse it; they buy themselves into power"89. The constitution came about to                                                      86 Thaipost. (1997, August 21). Khowomo phueng amnat rat khwang rothono tuean ching yup sapha khon tem thanon [Koh Woh Moh depends on state power to oppose constitution...warning if house dissolution then people out on the streets]. Accessed February 10, 2012. Retrived from News Centre Database. 87 Thanapornpan, R. (2002). Kamnoet ratthathammanun thai 2540 [The birth of the 1997 constitution]. Bangkok: Thammasat University Press. 88 Boonsuwan, K. (2004). 7 pi patirup kanmueang : nisuea pa chorakhe? [7 years of political reforms: running away from tiger to meet crocodile?]. Bangkok: SE-ED Books. 89 Ibid, p. 12. 113  rid the system of crooked politicians and replace them with good, capable people, but Thailand ended up getting the opposite.   More criticism levied against the People's Constitution would surface following the coming to power of Thai Rak Thai party and the leadership of Thaksin Shinawatra. However, before we proceed, another parallel crisis emerged as the tense political reform unfolded: the Asian Financial Crisis. Indeed, the initial impact of the 1997 Constitution was overshadowed by the worst economic crash in modern Thai history. While no one has yet to agree on what actually caused the crisis, there was a consensus among economists that weak institutions are largely to blame (Sachs & Woo: 2000; Garten: 1999; Stiglitz: 2000).  THE 1997 ASIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS AND ITS IMPLICATIONS   After four decades of high-speed capitalist development, which put Thailand among the "East Asian Tigers," the country nearly went bankrupt over night when it failed to defend the Thai Baht against weeks of speculative attacks in the summer of 1997. By July, the Thai government was forced to abandon its peg to the dollar and devalued its currency by 20%. The state coffers rapidly dried up as the central bank spent some $23 billion defending the currency. The government had no choice but to seek a bail-out from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This set in a motion a financial contagion that spread to neighboring countries and beyond. Over the coming months the Thai Baht continued a free fall. As Tejapira (2006) puts it: "As the crisis unfolded, nearly two-thirds of big Thai capitalists went bankrupt, thousands of companies folded, and two thirds of the pre-crisis private commercial banks went under and changed hands. One million workers lost their jobs and three million more fell below the poverty 114  line."90 The IMF bailouts further deepened the crisis by causing massive social dislocations as the government was obliged to cut social programs and followed strict austerity measures.   One of the defining characteristics that precipitated the financial crisis in Thailand was weak corporate governance. For many economists, it was not surprising that Thailand was the first victim of the crisis due to its shaky macroeconomic foundations, such as accumulation of bad loans, heavy external borrowing, and corrupt and mismanaged banking system (Radelet & Sachs: 2000; Haggard: 2000; Corsetti, Pesenti & Roubini: 1999). However, what stood out to be a major contributing factor to this weakness were the close ties among banks, firms and politicians. Charumilind, Kali and Wiwattanakantang's detailed study (2003) on more than 350 Thai firms prior to the crisis finds that "connections" with large Thai banks and politicians allow firms to gain preferential access to long-term debt - with less collateral required and more short-term loans - than those without connections. These connected firms reciprocate by giving financial support to politicians as well as other kickbacks.   Prior to the 1997 crisis, the majority of the business figures stayed away from being directly involved in politics, with only a few exceptions. A major impediment to business leaders joining politics is the existing patronage-based politics that is both time-consuming and resource-intensive (Prasirtsuk: 2007). One has to build local networks with key vote canvassers over time to generate electoral support. For these reasons, provincial bosses (political mafias) have long had an advantage in the political arena. Another barrier to entry for business leaders is that they may not be willing to have their finances probed as politicians often do. Not that the Thai system does not have lax rules about scrutinizing politicians' assets, but 1997 constitution has enforced stricter guidelines for asset declaration for those seeking political office.                                                      90 Tejapira, K. (2006). Toppling Thaksin. New Left Review 39 (May-June). Accessed August 13, 2009. Retrieved from http://newleftreview.org/II/39/kasian-tejapira-toppling-thaksin#_edn21.  115   Yet, the 1997 crisis prompted a number of key business figures to jump ship and get into politics full-on. Ironically, if being connected to politicians helped to propel the crash of 1997, what major Thai firms learned instead was that the only way to survive was to increase, not decrease, their ties to politics. A number of business leaders who survived the economic crash concluded the only way to protect their business interests is to run the country themselves. More importantly, Prasirtsuk (2007) argues, as globalization and push for economic liberalization intensify, key business firms, especially those dependent on government concessions, are wary of leaving their faith in the hands of non-business savvy politicians and bureaucrats.    FIGURE 6: PROFESSIONS OF CANDIDATES IN NATIONAL ELECTIONS (1995-2005)   Source: Election Commission of Thailand Note: Data for elections 1995 and 1996 are for elected MPs only. Also note there are changes in the ECT's categories of professions that may affect the results. PR = party-list MPs  SMD = single member district MPs -10%0%10%20%30%40%50%60%1995 1996 2001 - PR 2001 - SMD 2005 - PR 2005 - SMDCareer Politicians Business Civil Service Academics Law116  Thaksin Shinawatra, who made his fortune from telecommunication concessions explained his decision to found a new party, Thai Rak Thai, in 1998: "To bring Thailand into the new era requires leadership that understands sales strategies so we can compete in the world economy. Business elites have the advantage over career politicians because they understand the complex nature of business."91 Figure 7 shows that candidates who were drawn from business profession overtook those who were career politicians following the Asian Financial Crisis. In the 1996 general election, business professionals account for 29% of MPs, while career politicians account for 59%. By 2005, the number of career politicians running for MPs dropped to 17% in the party-list system, and 23% in single member districts. As for their business counterparts, the figures rose to 28% and 27% respectively.  As more businessmen entered politics to defend their business interests, there are also more opportunities for rent-seeking. Most major business conglomerates in Thailand are family-run and largely Sino-Thais. While a few are publicly traded, the founding families manage to maintain large shares of ownership (Nikomborirak & Tangkitvanich: 1999). This makes rent-seeking easier when some of the family members become politicians. Second, opportunities for rents are not concentrated in certain political figures, but diversified among many political actors. This means that private rents can be sought through various positions in the political arena, be it in the cabinet, lower or upper houses. Imai's (2006, p. 241) detailed study of politically connected firms in Thailand between 2001-2005 show that political participation of family members yield private rents and these economic benefits are large when family members are cabinet ministers. Third, the new electoral system introduced by the 1997 constitution made it easier for business elites to enter politics as party-list candidates. Since it is a closed-list                                                       91 Thai Post. (1998, July 4). Thaksin wat fan nang kao-i "nayokratthamontri " [Thaksin dreaming of a PM seat]. Accessed on February 9, 2012. Retrieved from New Center Database. 117  TABLE 8: FORBES' THAILAND RICHEST IN POLITICS (2005-2006)   Family Party Position Net Worth Shinawatra Thai Rak Thai Founders, Thaksin (PM) $1.3 billion Chiarawanon Thai Rak Thai Founding member, party list MP (Veerachai Veeramethikul) $1.4 billion Bodharamik Thai Rak Thai Deputy head, party list MP, cabinet minister (Adisai Bodharamik) $248*  (son, Pitch Bodharamik) Maleenont Thai Rak Thai Deputy head, party list MP and cabinet minister (Pracha Maleenont) $380 million Sophonpanich Democrat Party advisor, MP, cabinet minister (Kanlaya Sophonpanich) $440 million Chirativath Democrat Financier $485 million Sirivadhanapakdi Thai Rak Thai Close ties to cabinet ministers (Chaiyoth Sasomsab and Wiruth Techapaibul) $3 billion Asavabhokin Thai Rak Thai Financier $540 million Yoovidhya Democrat Financier (ties to Bhirombhakdi and Banthadtan families - both influential in Democrat Party) $2.2 billion Mahakijsiri Thai Rak Thai Deputy head and party list MP (Prayuth Mahakijsiri) $365 million Jungrungroengkij Thai Rak Thai Party secretary, party list MP and cabinet minister (Suriya Jungrungroengkij) $420 Bhirombhakdi Democrat MP candidate, minister's secretary (Jitpat Bhirombhakdi) $500 million  Source: Forbes Southeast Asia's Richest (2005)       118  proportional system, influential business families who have been financiers of certain parties could become party-list candidates without having to have established local networks and patronage like their counterparts in the constituency. This explains why there are more businessmen in the PR system than SMD in both 2001 and 2005 elections.  This proliferation of "crony capitalism" stands in stark contrast to the intentions of the political reforms in the 1990s. It is precisely these "conflicts of interests" between family businesses and politics that the reformists have sought to rectify both through the 1997 Constitution and other economic reforms. There are a number of provisions that are specifically designed to prevent conflict of interests in the 1997 constitution, such as ministers are not allowed to hold shares in public companies (article 209); members of the Assembly are not allowed to be granted concessions from the state (articles 110, 128, 208); and anyone in political positions must declare their assets and liabilities before taking office. But because business conglomerates in Thailand are family-run, members who joined politics simply transfer their shares to their spouses or relatives. The wife of Warathep Rathanakorn, a Peau Thai MP, transferred his and her shares of the family-run tour businesses to her mother prior to him taking office, for example.92 Kanlaya Sopohonpanich, member of the banking tycoon Sophonpanich Family, transferred shares worth 300 million baht to her children and their spouses prior to taking office during the Abhisit Administration.93  The super rich entered politics in Thailand full throttle when they formed Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party in 1999. Although it is not uncommon for the wealthy to finance or be involved in                                                      92 Isra News. (2013, January 1). "Mia " wara thep rattanakon ching on hun bo thua hai mae kon " sami " nang ratthamontri [Wife of Warathep Rattanakon rushed to transfer shares before husband becoming minister]. Accessed February 9, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.isranews.org/investigative/investigate-asset/item/18533-??????-???????.html.  93 Thai Rath. (2010, March 10). Chi kanlaya khao khai on hun hai luk chaeng banchi pen thet [Point: Kunying Kalaya transfered shares to son; financial fraud]. Accessed on February 9, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.thairath.co.th/content/pol/68014.  119  politics94 (Table 9), what is so unique about the TRT is the extent of wealth concentration in the party. The Bangkok Post reports that the ten richest families, which owned more than 40% of market capitalization of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, have close ties to the Thaksin government [cite: 2004]. Many of the rich inside the TRT party made their wealth as concessionaires or through long-standing close ties to political elites. This raises a potential for conflict of interest when they hold positions that allow them to make national policies and agendas that could directly influence their business interests. When concessionaires are in political position, particularly in policy-making, there is a danger that it can lead to monopolization. "When monopolization occurs as a product of the political process, it can lead to less competition as those with political power legislate or have access to state resources in ways that hampers competition," argues leading economist at a think-tank, TDRI.95 CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE POLITICS OF REFORM   This research uses "civil society organizations" or "non-governmental organizations" as a proxy for "civil society." Given that there is no consensus on how to measure civil society, I adopt a more conservative measure of civil society by making a reference to organized groups in the non-profit sector. The majority of the civil society organizations referred in this work are registered with the government and have permits to operate as non-profit organizations.  This chapter discusses specifically the non-profit sector that deals with social and labor related issues. This group constitutes approximately 30% of all nonprofit sector in 2007. This is primarily due to three major reasons. First, the social work NGOs have played the biggest role,                                                      94 Previously Kijsangkhom party was formed by leading businessmen at the time but their wealth dwarfed in comparison to those founding Thai Rak Thai. 95 Pinthong, J.(Ed.). (2004). Roo tan Thaksin [We know what Thaksin's thinking]. Bangkok: Koh Kid Duay Khon, p. 94. 120  in comparison to other types of NGOs, in the political reform process since the early 1990s. Second, due to their high-profile nature, these NGOs have shaped and influenced the discourse on popular politics and reforms in Thailand. Lastly, it is possible to measure the extent to which these NGOs have any effect on policy-making.  FIGURE 7: NUMBERS OF NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS AND THEIR REVENUE (1997-2007)  Source: National Statistical Office (Thailand)   The period of the 1990s sees the greatest expansion of the civil society sector - known locally as "the people's sector." Pipob Thongchai, a veteran NGO leader and activist, who later leads the PAD movement, argues that there are roughly three types of NGOs: 1) social work; 2) supportive of state initiatives and 3) supportive of alternative initiatives. The third one is the most common type. In his view, NGOs ought to reduce the role of state and empower the people. "If you empower people but you don't reduce the state power, you'd never get anywhere" (Seksarn: 2006, p. 158). For many community-based NGOs, people can become empowered if they can determine their own way of life and their community; determine their mode of 10,87855,80565,45727,600106,000137,000020,00040,00060,00080,000100,000120,000140,000160,0001997 2002 2007NumberRevenue (Million Baht)121  production and become owners of natural resources in order to ensure sustainability. The "people's sector" also aims to curb the state tendency to abuse power, because historically the centralized state derived its legitimacy not from the people but from its alliance with capitalists and local warlords (chao pho).  TABLE 9: TYPE OF NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION IN % (2007)   North Northeast Bangkok Central South Social Work 15.4% 11.4% 69.1% 25.7% 27.8% Religious Work 70.4% 83.2% 10.7% 60.4% 67.4% Funeral96  13.4% 4.5% 3.6% 3.1% 2.7% Labor 0.2% 0.5% 3.6% 9.1% 1.3% Source: National Statistics Office (Thailand)    In Thailand the development of civil society and popular politics really emerged in the post-war period. Even though there has always been civil society in the broad sense, the nonprofit sector in Thailand officially began in 1979 (Prasertkul: 2005). The role of NGOs is to negotiate the space between state and society. NGOs in the Third World emerge to be the voices of the grassroots and take care of those marginalized by the market economy. The National Statistics Office (Thailand) conducts a survey of the non-profit sector every five years, with the most recent one in 2007. According to its report, the sector has grown exponentially since the 1980s, with more than 65,000 registered organizations in 2007 (Figure 8). The 1990s saw the greatest expansion of the non-profit sector as the number of registered NGOs increased nearly five-fold between 1997 and 2002. The majority of NGOs are of religious nature (63%), while NGOs working on social issues, constitute 26%. Most of these NGOs however are registered in                                                      96 The "funeral" section of NGOs is an actual category of NGOs according to the National Office of Statistics (Thailand). It includes organizations such as Poh Tek Tung Foundation. 122  Bangkok (Table 9). Since the statistics only consider "officially registered" organizations, I reckon this is a conservative estimate of the actual size of the nonprofit sector97. The sector employed nearly a million workers and had revenue of 137 billion baht, some 65% is derived from donation.  Civil society organizations really proliferated in the 1990s as a result of a more open, democratic and inclusive political environment. As Figure 7 shows, the number of registered NGOs increased more than five-fold between 1997 and 2002.98 It is difficult to estimate the actual size of civil society as a whole,99 thus relying on the official record of registered NGOs gives us a glimpse of the overall picture of the people's sector. While the majority of these NGOs are involved in religious activities, some 27% of them are involved in "social work" which is a broad category that includes socio-political activism of all kinds. Many of the leaders of the Black May uprising are drawn from pro-poor and pro-democracy groups.  The 1997 Constitutions also provides hope for a more open and people-oriented politics for civil society organizations - many of whom hold the structuralist view in the drafting process. The new constitution?s provisions about the resource management rights of traditional communities energized the iconic rural NGO campaign for community forest legislation. The 1997 constitution was intended to emphasize popular participation in politics because for the past 60 years, with 15 constitutions, popular politics received the least amount of emphasis by drafters. Citizen's involvement in politics should extend beyond the ballots and constitute the foundation of democracy. It goes without saying that the notion of creating checks and balances to weigh down the power of politicians has always been present in Thai society.                                                       97 The majority of the PAD movement is made up off registered NGOs. However, as the movement evolved, new groups were created that were not registered NGOs but civic groups within the PAD. This suggests to me that the number of registered NGOs is only a part of a much braoder civil society. 98 This is a conservative estimate, given this counts only the officially registered ones. 99 Civil society defined broadly in the Putnam's (1993) tradition of assocational life. 123   A more mobilized society combined with consecutively weak governments did not, however, give rise to an anti-democratic movement. Rather, what we see in Thailand during this rather turbulent period are pro-reform movements following the Black May uprising and anti-incumbent mobilization after the 1997 crash. In 1998, a backlash against the austerity measures resulted in a wave of discontent focusing on economic nationalism. Some sections of the business and academic community mobilized to oppose 11 bills they dubbed "11 bills to sell off the nation", proposed by the Chuan Leekpai government. The opposition alliance is loosely referred to as the "People's Alliance to Save the Nation" (??????????????), composed of some 45 different organizations, including those leading the Black May uprising that aimed to oppose IMF reform packages. This alliance draws support from the State Enterprise Confederation, the Confederation of Democracy, Assembly of Lawyers, Retail and Wholesale Trade Association, etc. The opposition came out to protest against globalization, anti IMF, anti FTA, etc. Moreover, Thailand's largest civil society organization, the Assembly of the Poor, also staged its longest 99-day rally in 1997 and won "unprecedented concessions" from the government.100  This protest wave of nationalist mobilization pushed for parliament dissolution and a number of policy changes, as opposed to seeking to overthrowing the democratic regime altogether. This happened despite the fact many of the same figures 101  behind the anti-government and anti-IMF mobilization will, several years later, be instrumental in the emergence of the PAD movement. The Alliance sought to maximize greater access to power provided by the 1997 Constitution to stop the passage of the 11 bills. They did so by submitting a petition to revoke the bill proposal. At the same time, the alliance also organized mass rallies in opposition                                                      100 Baker, C. (2000). Thailands Assembly of the Poor: background, drama, reaction. South East Asia Research, 8(1), p. 1. 101 Pracha Liaopairat, Somsak Kosaisuk, Prasong Soonsiri, Suriyasai Katasila, Pipob Thongchai, Kanin Boonsuwan 124  to the Chaun government.102 By 1999, more protests from activists, academics, students and state enterprises took place, calling for Chuan's resignation and house dissolution.103 Throughout all this, the Chuan government reshuffled cabinet three times in the hope of surviving a no-confidence motion despite rising public discontent.104  Yet, the government was besieged by internal scandals, threats of defection105 and it eventually succumbed to a collapse when the House was dissolved in November 2000.    Anti-democratic mobilization never arose during this period, despite dire economic conditions, highly contentious politics and an actively mobilized mass for two reasons. First, when political conflict reached an impasse, the conflict was able to be resolved within the formal democratic institution. In the 1990s this often means governments dissolve the house when faced with a crisis, both from within the coalition government itself or from societal pressure. Given the fluid nature of the party system, a new election is not a bad option for most parties. Since there have been successive coalition governments in the 1990s, major parties of all sizes feel they have a fair chance of being in government again if they could make the right deals. Secondly, channels for opposition were not blocked or rendered ineffective in ways that opposition cannot have its voice. Opposition parties could threaten a no confidence vote if they can gain support from two-fifths of the parliament. Opposition movements on the streets, such as the Assembly of the Poor, were able to make some inroads with the policymakers. In essence,                                                      102 Siamrat. (2008, November 14). Michai lopbi wutthi paiyannoi khia powo 281 khu chumnum yai tan [Michai lobbies senate to dismiss Poh Woh 281; threats of major protests]. Accessed on March 1, 2012. Retrieved from New Centre Database. 103 Thai Post. (1999, January 11). 10 Ongkon pochoto thuang amnat khuen krathung ratthaban chatkan yup sapha [10 organization Pochoto demand power back; pressured goverment to dissolve parliament.]. Accessed on March 1, 2012. Retrieved from New Center Database. 104 Bangkok Poll reveals 44% of respondents want Chuan to dissolve house. Thai Post. (2000, April 12). Phon chi ' chuan ' yup sapha prachachon rabu mai phochai thuk dan wang mai le ' chaturon ' la-ok ! [Poll reveals house dissolution; people unhappy with government in every way; Wang Mai going down; Chaturon, quit!]. Accessed on March 1, 2012. Retrieved from News Center Database. 105 Sanan Kajornprasart (Democrat MP at the time) was found guilty of declaring false assets and forced to resign; opposition parties threatened a boycott and House speaker, wan normathat threatened to resign. 125  the democratic system was still working to channel grievances and provide access to power for the opposition. THE RISE OF THAKSIN AND THE THAI RAK THAI PARTY   A telecom tycoon and a clever, charismatic, articulate politician, Thaksin Shinawatra quickly recognized that the rural folks are at a disadvantage against the Bangkok elites in all aspects except for one: its size. Despite exuberant economic growth in the past three decades or so, more than half of Thailand's population remains in the countryside and the gap between rich and poor continues to widen. Politically, if a party can conquer the hearts and minds of those in the rural areas, it translates into a lot of votes. Armed with a series of populist policies, Thaksin set out to conquer the hearts and minds of the rural poor, at which he spectacularly succeeded. In January 2001, Thaksin's newly found Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party won a landslide victory in its first election. TRT gained almost a majority of the seats in parliament, missing the mark by only two seats. For the next year TRT absorbed additional small and medium sized parties and became the first party in Thailand's history to secure an absolute majority.   Thaksin's electoral victory as the leader of Thai Rak Thai is all the more incredible, when one looks at the electoral records of the 1990s. As we can see in Figure 9, no party had ever won more than one-third of the seats in national elections since the Black May uprising. As a new political party, TRT was able to garner 49.6% seats in parliament - two seats shy of an absolute majority. The runner-up, the Democrats, merely got 25.6% of seats - nearly half that of TRT. This trend of TRT winning landslide elections continue through to 2005 as well as following the 2006 military coup. Thai Rak Thai would not emerge as an invincible political party, its electoral dominance would have made national elections far less competitive.   126  FIGURE 8: SEAT SHARE OF THE TOP THREE PARTIES IN ELECTIONS (1992-2001)  Source: Election Commission of Thailand (ECT); author's compilation. Note: DP = Democrat Party; CT = Chart Thai; CPT = Chart Pattana; KWM = Kwam Wang Mai; TRT = Thai Rak Thai  Scholars have sought to explain the astonishing rise and success of Thai Rak Thai party. Phongpaichit & Baker (2004) attribute to Thaksin's wealth and massive business and government connections to his party success. Others have pointed to institutional changes, such as new constitution and electoral system rules (Ockey: 2003; Hewison: 2004; Hicken: 2006; Pongsudhirak: 2008). Part of Thaksin's popular appeal to Thai people is undoubtedly his populist politics. As Sinpeng & Kuhonta (2012) pinpoint, the use of populist policies (or policies at all) was surprising given most Thai political parties garnered support largely through their patronage networks, not programmatic policies. CONCLUSION     I argue in this chapter that the political reforms in the post-Black May period exemplify a contestation over both the meaning of democracy and the way in which the current political 22% 22%31.20%25.60%16.70%13.20%14.60%31.80%7.02%49.60%0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%45%50%1992 1995 1997 2001DPCTCPTKWMTRT127  system in Thailand ought to be changed. While the reformist elites agreed that reforms are needed to make the Thai polity more open and democratic, there is serious disagreement over how to go about it. The end result of these reformist elites' compromise is the "1997 People's Constitution," which paved ways both for the rise of the Thai Rak Thai Party and subsequently the emergence of the People's Alliance for Democracy movement. The rise of Thaksin and his Thai Rak Thai Party presented a shock to some, while hope to other reformists who painstakingly sought to reform the political system to bring the country towards the democratic road.   A detailed analysis of the reform period in the 1990s shows that indeed the so-called "progressive politics of reform" contains many contradictions. While the reform process itself is commendable for its unprecedented participatory nature, the 1997 constitution itself is neither inherently liberal nor democratic. The content of constitution reflects that different vested interests of the reformist elites who were tasked to complete its draft. Understanding the illiberal, undemocratic and conservative elements within the 1997 constitution explains the rise of the anti-democratic movement that emerged in 2005.  Another key point made in this chapter is that this reform decade represents the pro-reform movement by those opposed to military-dominant politics. The reformist elites were hopeful that changes in the formal democratic institutions, such as the constitution, electoral system, and the senate, for instance, will provide new incentives and constraints on the behavior and conduct of political elites in ways that would facilitate democratic development. The success gained by the reformist elites raise expectation of the future of democratic politics in Thailand. This "gap" between the expectations of what democracy in Thailand would be and the reality of what it is once Thaksin came to power becomes the driving force behind anti-democratic 128  mobilization. In essence, Thaksin and his government exemplifies the very opposite of what these reformists envision. The realization of the unintended consequences of their reforms provide grounds for the rise of the PAD movement.   The economic crash of 1997 serves as a parallel crisis to the process of political reform. While the crisis helps to propel the passage of the "People's Constitutions," it has been both a blessing and challenge to the Thai polity. For one, it had shown that the democratic regime in the 1990s, despite the party system's weak institutionalization, unstable governments and seemingly unresponsive, that it can resolve conflicts through democratic channels. However, the financial crisis provides grounds for the super rich to get directly involved in politics. The implications of this will contrast the intentions of the 1990s reformists and set in motion the rise of an anti-democratic mobilization.  Despite the frequent government change, an increasingly mobilized society, and the most severe economic crisis in contemporary times, an anti-democratic movement did not emerge in Thailand during the 1990s. There are three key reasons for this. First, there is alternation of power and significant uncertainty as to the makeup of government. Political leaders feel included in the political arena and they all feel they have a fair chance of being in government. What many scholars criticize as "weakly institutionalized party system" indeed helps elites to work out an informal power-sharing in the sense that no one shall be marginalized or excluded from power for long. The military gets its budget and no one meddles with its internal structure. Political parties have a fair chance of winning the next election or be part of a multi-party coalition government. Between 1992 and 2001, small, medium and large parties rotated power, coalesced or opposed one another. Factions were fluid - they join a new party when they please and there is no "fixed" political arrangement. Since parties are neither rooted in society, nor have much 129  programmatic appeals, party switching is not a costly action for politicians to take. There are no friends or foes forever in this political arena. Losing an election is not detrimental because parties feel they can wait their turn to be in power next time. Given a government lasts only 18 months on average, the wait is not very long.   Second, the society became more open and inclusive in the aftermath of the Black May uprising. The opening up of the society is illustrated partly by a greater degree of activism and a massive expansion of the civil society sector, as discussed in this chapter. Civil society organizations were able to gain concessions from the central government, and even held political elites responsible for their action for the time (Pathmanand: 2001). Moreover, the Thai political system became more devolved in part due to the decentralization in the early 1990s, in which sub-national governments were created to meet local demands.   Lastly, an executive can be dislodged from power and a government replaced in multiple ways. The mechanism for power alternation is not crippled or rendered ineffective. A coalition partner or even faction can defect from a governing coalition, and