SOAS University of London

Centre of South East Asian Studies

“Good Coup” Gone Bad: The 2014 Putsch and the Future of Thai Democracy

Pavin Chachavalpongpun
Pavin Chachavalpongpun

Date: 18 June 2014Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 18 June 2014Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B111

Type of Event: Seminar

Please note: Pavin Chachavalpongpun will be unable to attend the talk in person due to unforeseen circumstances, however will be speaking via Skype


On May 22, Army Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha staged the 19th military coup – 12 of them successful – since Thailand abolished the absolute monarchy in 1932. The reason this time was supposedly to restore peace and order after long months of relentless protest. In the aftermath, the military has begun a process of establishing itself as the sole sovereign of the Thai nation and looks as if it means to stay there for a long time. Borders have been closed amid a dramatic clampdown. General Prayuth has ordered the dissolution of the Senate, taking full control over the executive, legislative and judicial institutions, transferring the police chief and the head of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to inactive positions and appointing himself interim prime minister. Simultaneously, Prayuth has issued numerous orders calling politicians, political activists, writers and academics to report to the authority. This is the first time that academics have been forced to surrender themselves and to curtail their freedom of expression. Amid these tough measures, the coup makers have promised to bring happiness back to the Thai people, but with no talk about how to further promote political reforms and democratization.

This presentation will focus on the current political crisis in Thailand, deeply intensified by the latest putsch. Arguing that the anxiety and desperation felt by the coup leaders about their uncertain future during this royal transitional period, the speaker—also one of the Thai academics being called to summon to the coup leaders—will discuss the real causes behind the coup, examining the impacts of the political intervention of the military and dealing with a question of where Thailand will go from here.

Speaker's Biography

Pavin Chachavalpongpun is associate professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Japan. Earning his PhD from SOAS, Pavin is the author of “A Plastic Nation: The Curse of Thainess in Thai-Burmese Relations” and “ Reinventing Thailand: Thaksin and His Foreign Policy”. He is also editor of the upcoming book “Good Coup Gone Bad: Thailand’s Political Developments Since Thaksin’s Downfall”.

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