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2013-12-10

ASIA/THAILAND - New elections on February 2, but "the situation changes day by day", says the Director of the PMS

Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) - "The King has announced that the new general elections will be held on February 2, but the situation remains fluid and unstable. Everything can still change. We hope that this wave of protest is a further evidence for the growth of our democracy", says to Fides Agency Fr. Peter Watchasin, a priest from Bangkok and National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Thailand. We hoped to see the end of street protests that have been going on for several days in Bangkok after the dissolution of Parliament and the announcement of early elections, proclaimed by Premier Yingluck Shinawatra. But the claims of the so-called "yellow shirts" - an expression of the conservative part of society – have not finished, while the army, one of the great powers of the country, has reiterated a position of neutrality.
"We do not know what will happen. There is so much uncertainty which has an impact on tourism and economy. According to some observers, there are people behind the scenes who want to fight and overthrow the government of Yingluck, daughter of the well-known tycoon Thaksin, who had ruled in the past", explains Fr. Watchasin. The protest, after those which took place in recent years, confirms that "society is divided and one has to work hard for a serious process of reconciliation, for the common good. We hope that this wave of popular participation, however, is useful for the growth and development of our democracy, and that the people can learn from this experience", he continues.
The Church has not taken an official position with regards to the protest, "but is always on the side of the poor and the excluded, transparency and human rights". "In the Christian laity – concludes the Director - the faithful are divided between those who support and those who do not agree with the protest". The Thai government was elected democratically in 2011. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 10/12/2013)

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