Thailand’s democracy is being tested yet again after the coup lead by the Yellow Shirts that put the present PM Abhisit Vejjajiva in office. Surprisingly he was then backed by Thaksin Shinawatra who is now behind the Red Shirt protesters.
If the present Bangkok protests worsen it will lend a huge blow to the economy of the country. About 40 people have been killed and more than 250 people injured till date.
Tourism brings in 6% of the country’s economy and provides employment to 15% of the working populace.
With the business districts being targeted businesses are likely to move out if protests and coups become regular fare. BBC reports the following:
Thai Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij has forecast economic growth of between 4.5% and 5% this year, but the civil unrest is threatening to reduce that figure.After meeting with business associations, Mr Chatikavanij has said the protests could cut 0.3% off his forecast.
The much revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej is unwell and is not likely to intervene; while ousted Thaksin is not likely to back down either. This could go on for a long time and at regular intervals and we can only speculate the implications on the economy.
For now tourists are continuing their plans to visit the islands and are staying away from the northern districts.
There is no question that all these political issues will have a far-reaching impact on Thailand’s national reputation and is taking away from the very essence of being Thai – land or ‘Freedom’ land as the word is said to mean.