Celebrations were short-lived when the military junta that rules Thailand lifted martial law at the beginning of this month. Any hope that there would be a quick return to normalcy was squelched when the government announced that it would rely on Article 44 to govern. This provision of the interim constitution is a catch-all clause that gives the prime minister unchecked power. Bangkok must recognize that it is not a military government that is offensive, but authoritarian, anti-democratic rule.

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha led a coup against the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in May 2014. The military justified its political intervention by charging the country’s politicians with incompetence and corruption, insisting that Thailand could not live with the political stalemate that had been created, a form of political gridlock punctuated by moments of protest that frequently descended into violence.

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