Yingluck: Democracy lost after coup

Thailand lost track of democracy after the government of "rightfully elected" former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted by a military coup in 2006, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said in a speech in Mongolia on Monday.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, left,and Mongolia's President Tsakhia Elbegdorj attend the Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on Monday. (Reuters Photo)

Ms Yingluck left Saturday for a three-day official visit to Mongolia to boost trade and investment ties. On Monday, she was invited to address the Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

The premier said Thai people had spent "almost 10 years" regaining their democratic freedom after the Thaksin administration was overthrown in 2006.

"Many of you here know that the government I am talking about was the one with my brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, as the rightfully elected prime minister," Ms Yingluck said.

She said the coup destroyed the rule of law in Thailand and the country also lost international credibility. The Thaksin government's projects were removed and Thai people "felt their rights and liberties were wrongly taken away".

The prime minister also touched on the crackdown on red-shirt protesters in May 2010, saying many innocent people who fought for their freedom were killed by snipers and many political victims still remain in jail following the crackdown.

She criticised the then-government of Abhisit Vejjajiva for holding an election which "they thought could be manipulated".

"In the end, the will of people cannot be denied. I was elected with an absolute majority," Ms Yingluck said.

However, she said, there are still elements of an anti-democratic regime and that the 2007 constitution, written by a group of drafters appointed by the coup-led government, contains "mechanisms to restrict democracy".

Strong reconciliation and democracy can be achieved through strengthening of the rule of law and due process and when every person feels confident that they will be fairly treated, she said.

Ms Yingluck said that having international allies is also important because "pressure from countries who value democracy kept democratic forces in Thailand alive. Sanctions and non-recognition are essential mechanisms to stop anti-democratic regimes".

Related search: yingluck shinawatra, thai prime minister, democracy in thailand, thaksin shinawatra, mongolia, thai politics, coup

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