Since the February 2 elections, Thailand’s interim premier has lacked the authority to rule the Southeast Asian country. Four people have recently died in riots. The government is running out of options. Government buildings in Thailand’s capital Bangkok lie abandoned. For months, they have been besieged by opposition protestors who have forced the government to deal with the day-to-day operations at other facilities. Although the government of interim Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has exercised utmost restraint so far, it changed its strategy last Friday, February 14, when it ordered riot police to move against opposition barricades and demonstrators in an attempt to clear the roads leading to ministries and other administrative buildings.
The opposition’s reaction was swift. On Monday, February 17, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban called on his followers to oppose the premier, saying: “Yingluck will never have a chance to work in the Government House again.” A day later, his supporters laid siege once again to several buildings. The situation then escalated when the riot police took action against the protest camps, leaving at least two people dead and nearly 60 injured.
The opposition demands Yingluck’s resignation and the establishment of an unelected People’s Council to carry out electoral and political reforms. Faced with this situation, Yingluck dissolved the country’s parliament in December and announced elections, which took place in early February. But the vote failed to resolve the conflict, as the opposition managed to disrupt voting in about eleven percent of the polling stations.