Thailand 2014 Coup: Expect for the Worst

SIU’s analysis on Thailand 2014 Coup Detat. As 22th May 2014, 21:00 local time (GMT+7)

Photo from @MyNameTai
The Coup announcement, captured from TV by @MyNameTai

The situation is still confusing. At 21:00 local time (GMT+7), we can summarize the situation as below:

What’s Happened

  • A coup by The Army Chief, General Prayuth Chan-ocha.
  • Political leaders from both side are ‘in control/custody’ by the army. The list includes Suthep Thaugsuban (PDRC leader), Abhisit Vejjajiva (Ex-PM and opposition leader), key ministers in Pheu Thai government, 5 key red shirt leaders.
  • Some red shirt leaders throughout the country are in custody.
  • Acting PM Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan is missing. As we know currently, he is not in the army control.
  • 2007 Constitution is now defunct. The Cabinet is gone.
  • The junta keep the senate and the justice courts.
  • All TV stations are under controlled. Normal programs are replaced by military graphic.

What We Don’t Know Yet

  • Whereabout of Niwatthamrong, also Yingluck Shinawatra.
  • It seems that Shinawatra family members fled the kingdom. No confirmation yet.
  • Nothing from Thaksin yet.


We already warned the ‘bad scenario’ in our previous analysis and now it happens.

It seems that from the conservatives’ viewpoint, the stake is too high so they can not lose this war at all cost. That’s why this coup happens. The martial law on 20th May is a testbed for today’s coup. We think the coup has been planned long before and the martial law is just a ‘lead signal’ for the eventual coup.

The big picture of this coup is ‘conservative forces consolidate their power’. The red shirts movement is too dangerous for the ‘sake of the Kingdom’ and needs to be gotten rid of. The ‘hard liner’ generals now run the show and we should expect the bad outcome.

What to Expect

This list is just our quick analysis from today’s information. We are very pessimistic right now for the situation.

  • We should see the new PM soon (within the next 3-4 days). The senate will act for the full parliament and nominate a new PM.
  • Possible PM candidates are General Prawit Wongsuwan, ex-Army chief and Palakorn Suwanrath, a Privy Councilor. Both are closed to the palace.
  • The new junta government will run the country for 1-2 years. Possibly longer than previous Surayud Chulanont government (2006-2007).
  • New Constitution will be drafted, we might call it 2015 Constitution. It will be more draconian than 2007 Constitution.
  • PDRC, Democrat Party, and all anti-Pheu Thai leaders will be released in the next few days. Pheu Thai and red leaders will be in custody longer.
  • The short term (1-3 months) outcome will be peaceful but it’s temporary peace.
  • The longer term (3-6 months and more) looks bad. Red Shirts will go underground. We might see some unrests.
  • The situation after that depends on the structure of the new Constitution and the call for ‘true democratic’ general election.
  • If the Constitution is undemocratic and the election is postponed indefinitely, the country (especially the junta government) will face the insurgency in North and Northeastern which is the red shirts’ bases.
  • The worst possible scenario is a chronic civil war. Same as Thailand’s ongoing Deep South Insurgency.

We will update our analysis frequently as the situation changes.

Thailand Under Martial Law: What’s Next?

SIU’s analysis on the declaration of martial law on 20th May 2014.

Prayuth Chan-oha

Suthep Thaugsuban, the leader of PDRC, announced last weekend that this weekend will be the ‘final showdown’ of his 6-month protest. While Thais keep watching what the end will be, last night at 3pm the military made its move with the declaration of martial law.

What’s happened so far

The martial law prohibits any political gathering in the country and allow the military to ‘cease and investigate’ anything they consider important.

At 12pm of 20th May 2014, local time, Thai Royal Army led by Commander-in-Chief General Prayuth Chan-oha has announced several things:

  • Thailand is now under martial law, nationwide.
  • The foundation of Peace Keeping Command Center (PKCC), the new internal security command center under the martial law. Gen. Prayuth also hold the commander title of PKCC.
  • The dissolution of Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), the internal security command center of the Phue Thai government under the Internal Security Act. All the forces under CAPO will transfer to PKCC.
  • TV and radio stations need to live broadcast PKCC announcements on army request. They are also prohibited to spread ‘controversial news’.
  • Political satellite TV and radio stations from both political sides are suspended. 10 satellite TV stations are suspended.
  • Heads of government agencies and independent agencies need to report to the military command throughout the country.
  • Seize the government house from PCRC’s occupation.

At the moment, PDRC announced that they will stay in place (Ratchadamnoen Avenue in central Bangkok) to ‘wait and see’ what PKCC will do for today. The Red Shirt protesters will keep staying at Utthayan Avenue outside Bangkok as well.


In theory, the declaration of martial law is lawful. The army insisted that it is not the coup detat and the current acting government still remains legally.

In practice, while it is not the ‘official coup’, it is clearly a ‘military intervention’. The acting Phue Thai government is still in force but their power on security matters is now transferred to the army. Some might say it is ‘phantom coup’ or ‘disguised coup’

The impact of martial law can be analyzed in short-middle-long term period:

  • Short term (this week): the martial law will suppress the movement from both protester sites. We should see a temporary peace in Bangkok (with soldiers everywhere) for a few days.
  • Middle term (this month and next month): the ‘vacuum of power’ problem remains. Thailand has no official government and the lower house since last December. We will have the acting Prime Minister (Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan, Deputy PM) for normal day-to-day duty but he needs to ask Gen. Prayuth for anything related to politics and security.
  • Long term: the big problem remains. Thailand has been in a big transition toward modernity. The country needs to define the new political architecture in the next era.

We believe Gen. Prayuth himself act by his own, independently from PDRC (He seems to dislike PDRC as well) but his move is definitely what PDRC has long asked for six months (a ‘military intervention’). The army has been closely tied to the conservative forces for long time. Gen. Prayuth is considered as a hardliner and served in the ‘queen bodyguard’ infantry. He was also a high-level commander in 2006 coup against Thaksin government.

It is very likely for PDRC to cease its activities in the next few days and announce ‘the victory’. PDRC is very fatigued from the ongoing 6-month protest and the martial law is a good cause for the exit.

The martial law causes a big negative impact to the red shirts, which is against the army and any military intervention from the start. The clash between the red shirts and the army is possible but the possibility depends on PKCC’s movement in the next few days.

Possible Scenarios

As stated above, the martial law is just a short-term intervention. Thailand needs to find the solution for the political vacuum. Now the duty to decide belongs to only Gen. Prayuth himself.

Please note that the martial law is a 100-year old law this year (it became a royal act in 1914, just before the WWI, Thailand was an absolute monarchy state at that time). According the law, the army can declare the martial law but the only way to stop it is to the royal command from the king.

This means Prayuth need to find the way to solve Thailand’s political crisis and then submit a request to King Bhumibol to lift the martial law condition.

We believe there are two main possible scenarios:

The better one: Prayuth will consult the acting government, political leaders, the Senate, the Election Commission of Thailand (ETC) to set the new general election. Political protests will be prohibited at all. The Shinawatra family might skip the election to avoid further conflict and let other Phue Thai leaders compete instead. The opposing Democrat Party returns to the election. The new government (very likely for Phue Thai) will lead the reformation process and constitution amendment.

In this scenario, the red shirts will be ok if the election will happen. PDRC supporters might feel better if the election will happen under martial law. Prayuth will be considered as ‘an external judge’ to bring peace back to the country (though not in the full democratic way).

The worse one: Prayuth will let the Senate (only remaining political institution, also closed to PCRC) act as the full parliament. The Senate will choose the acting Prime Minister and cabinet, which might be unconstitutional. The new cabinet will face a big opposition from the red shirts. Since the martial law prohibits any political activities, the red shirts will go underground. Thailand might face the insurgency nationwide.

Thailand’s future in the next few decades is now under Prayuth’s hand. We should know soon what he will choose.

Book: Redefine Thailand

“Redefine Thailand” is the latest book from SIU. We will try to answer the question “What actually is Thailand?” from the cultural, historical and social viewpoint.

Redefine Thailand

Redefine Thailand” is the latest book from SIU. We will try to answer the question “What actually is Thailand?” from the cultural, historical and social viewpoint.

We believe that the chronic and ongoing conflict of Thailand will need a newer definition of Thailand, from the root of the society itself. This book is the complement to our big and challenging theme “Repositioning Thailand”, which we tried to answer it from economical viewpoint in our previous book “Transform Thailand“. Please see our beginning statement of the project (in Thai).

Redefine Thailand project had interviewed some key social thinkers and scholars on the same questions “What actually is Thailand?” and let these people express their opinion on our challenge. Here are the listed of people in this book (with a link to published interview article):

  • รศ.ดร.กฤตยา อาชวนิจกุล (Krittaya Atchawanitchakun) Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University
  • รศ.ดร.สุเนตร ชุตินธรานนท์ (Sunait Chutintaranond) Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University
  • พระไพศาล วิสาโล (Phra Paisal Visalo) Scholar Monk
  • นิธิ เอียวศรีวงศ์ (Nidhi Eoseewong) Independent Social Scholar
  • รศ.ดร.พิชาย รัตนดิลก ณ ภูเก็ต (Phichai Rattanadilok Na Phuket) School of Social and Environmental Development, National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA)
  • สุภาพ หริมเทพาธิป (Supap Rimthepathip) Editor of Bioscope Magazine
  • ประชา สุวีรานนท์ (Pracha Suveeranont) Independent Designer
  • กานต์ ยืนยง (Kan Yuenyong) SIU Director
  • ศิโรตม์ คล้ามไพบูลย์ (Sirote Klampaiboon) Independent Social Scholar

Book information:

  • Published Date: August 2013
  • ISBN: 978-616-91684-2-3
  • Pages: 224

Where to Buy

Research Series: NBTC Digital TV Licensing Process

4 research papers on NBTC Digital TV Licensing Process, including the auction, infrastructure and competitive landscape of Thai broadcasting industry.

SIU, by the support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), publish four research papers on “NBTC Digital TV Licensing Process”.

Here are the list of four papers (all in Thai):

These papers are also available for download on FES Thailand web site.

Research Paper: The Political Economy of Broadcasting Media

Our first research paper of Thailand broadcasting media series, discussing how Thai broadcasting organizations, both private and government, compete with each others and what is the implication for the upcoming Digital TV licensing by NBTC?

SIU, by the support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, release the first research paper of Thailand broadcasting media series. The first research paper “The Political Economy of Broadcasting Media in Thailnad” (ปัจจัยด้านเศรษฐกิจการเมืองของอุตสาหกรรมโทรทัศน์ไทย) discuss on how Thai broadcasting organizations, both private and government, compete with each others and what is the implication for the upcoming Digital TV licensing by NBTC?

Download PDF from Scribd

Book: Change Agents 2

After our first “Change Agents” book in 2011, now we have the second compilation “Change Agents 2” published. The methodology is the same but with all new faces, interviews of 51 future young leaders who can change their industry.


After our first “Change Agents” book in 2011, now we have the second compilation “Change Agents 2” published. The methodology is the same but with all new faces, interviews of 51 future young leaders who can change their industry. All of the interviews are available on Transform Thailand project site.

The summary of our press conference for Change Agents 2 is available here (in Thai). The PDF file of Change Agents 2 is embedded below:

Agenda Bangkok – 10 Future Policies

SIU’s latest publication, Agenda Bangkok: 10 Bangkok Future Policies. This is the outcome of our 2012 year long projects “Agenda Bangkok”.

SIU’s latest publication, Agenda Bangkok: 10 Bangkok Future Policies. This is the outcome of our 2012 year long projects “Agenda Bangkok”.

The goal of the project is to encourage a better way for public policy of Bangkok Metropolitan Area. We intentionally prepare this work in schedule with the 2013 Bangkok Governor election and propose our works to many (if not all) candidates as possible.

Agenda Bangkok
Agenda Bangkok


We collected and gathered feedback from experienced Bangkok policy stakeholders and three workshops during the year. All the information were processed using foresight technique and summarized into “10 future issues” that Bangkokians should care.

Five experts who used to/still work on Bangkok policy issues:

  • Prateep Ungsongtham Hata (page 3), an NGO who won Magsaysay Award on development policy.
  • Apirak Kosayodhin (page 4), ex-Bangkok governor, now a MP from Democrat Party.
  • Narongsak Poomsrisa-ard (page 5), an executive from CP-ALL Company, the owner of 7-11 convenient store chain.
  • Kochawan Kemaprasit (page 6), an adviser of Private Bangkok Bus Service Association.
  • Prapas Jongsanguan (page 7), the first governor of MRT, he was a Bangkok governor candidate as well.

All the idea from workshops are scored and broken into five sections.

  • Social
  • Technology
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Politics


We got 10 future trends of Bangkok City, which you can read them from page 8:

  • Sex In The City
  • Next Generation Labor
  • Bangkok Identity
  • Art For All
  • Emerging Crime
  • Inclusive Space
  • Low Carbon Society
  • AEC Megacities
  • Emerging Rights
  • 360 Degree Leadership

It can be categorized into 4 groups (page 9)

  • ASEANization = urbanization of Bangkok + labour migration + AEC community + ageing society
  • The Big Mango = (similarly to NYC’s Big Apple) Bangkok is Big Mango, center of everything: culture, life, jobs, race, crime from around the world
  • Emerald City = Climate Change will force Bangkok to be Low Carbon Society, utilizing the “space” (physical/mental/cyber) to serve its residents, led by 360 degree leaderships
  • Our Road = the challenge of Bangkok to become “City of Art” depends on new liberal generation but they are in conflict with the conservative power that has ruled Bangkok for ages.

More info is available (in Thai) at Siam Intelligence site.

The Work

Response from Candidates

We also request for interview to all Bangkok governor candidates. So far we got chance to interview and talk with them about 10 future trends in Agenda Bangkok project. All interviews are in Thai.

Media Attentions

The project has got a lot of attention from Thailand’s media, including newspapers, magazines and TV programs:

Voice TV

Thai PBS, 10 February 2013

Report: New Media and Thailand’s Politics

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) publish a series of reports on Asia Online Politics. Isriya Paireepairit, SIU Research Director, wrote the Thailand report and his work is now published as Free Space of Expression: New Media and Thailand’s Politics.

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) publish a series of reports on Asia Online Politics. Isriya Paireepairit, SIU Research Director, wrote the Thailand report and his work is now published as Free Space of Expression: New Media and Thailand’s Politics.

Reports for other countries are available from FES web site.

Free Space of Expression: New Media and Thailand’s Politics

Book: Transform Thailand

SIU’s third book about the need of “Economical Transformation” for Thailand in the next decade.

Transform Thailand

Transform Thailand is SIU’s third book.

Transform Thailand discussed about the need of “Economical Transformation” for Thailand in the next decade. Thailand has transformed itself once since 1960s from purely agricultural countries to industrialization. The export-led growth had driven the country quite well for nearly 50 years. However the 1997 financial crisis destroyed Thailand’s dream as a ‘newly industrialized country’ (NIC) and the fifth ‘Asian Tiger’.

As 2010s, Thailand’s current growth engine nearly reaches its limit. Our production sector can’t elevate to the next level of technological advance while the cost-driven advantage is highly competed by emerging economies. The usual Middle-income trap.

Thailand needs to find a new unique positions in the globalized world to survive in the next century. This book discusses possible scenarios Thailand could be in the near future. We interviewed many Thai public figures, scholars, politicians who once directed the country to see their dream of the ‘Next Thailand’.

The Interviewees List

  • Pansak Vinyarat – Former Chief Policy Adviser of the Prime Minister
  • Pridiyathorn Devakula – Former Deputy Prime Minister and Governor of the Bank of Thailand
  • Surakiart Sathirathai – Former Deputy Prime Minister
  • Korbsak Sabhavasu – Former Deputy Prime Minister
  • Nipon Poapongsakorn – President of Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI)
  • Suvit Maesincee – Director of Sasin Institute for Global Affairs (SIGA)
  • Songsak Saicheua – Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission for the Royal Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Kirida Bhaopichitr – Senior Economist, World Bank

Book Information

  • Published Date: November 2011
  • ISBN: 978-974-8469-43-0
  • Editor: Isriya Paireepairit
  • Pages: 184
  • Price: 230 Baht

Where to Buy

Book Sample

Transform Thailand – Sample

Book: Change Agents

SIU second book “Change Agents ผู้นำรุ่นใหม่เพื่อการเปลี่ยนแปลง” is the collection of 50 new generation youth leaders who are rising stars in the his/her industries.

SIU second book “Change Agents ผู้นำรุ่นใหม่เพื่อการเปลี่ยนแปลง” is the collection of 50 new generation youth leaders who are rising stars in the his/her industries. We call them the “Change Agents” who can bring changes and modernization to Thai society in the near future.

This book is based on the interviews from Transform Thailand project, supported by the Thai Health Foundation. The audio clips of all Change Agents are available on Transform Thailand web site.

Book Information

  • Published Date: August 2011
  • ISBN: 978-616-235-053-5
  • Editor: Pichate Yingkiattikun
  • Pages: 213
  • Price: 180 Baht (The book is on sale at Chula Book Center)

More information from Siam Intelligence page (in Thai)

Change Agents (in Thai)

  • ชานนท์ คูณนนท์
  • ดารัตน์ หล่อนน้อย
  • พลภัทร์ หิรัญเรือง
  • ปราศรัย เจตสันติ์
  • ปองขวัญ สวัสดิภักดิ์
  • สโรชา ราชวงศ์
  • บุญญรัตน์ กิตติวรวุฒิ
  • กิตตินันท์ หิรัญวงษ์
  • อรฉัตร นิยมสุข
  • นวพล ธำรงรัตนฤทธิ์
  • พีธากร ศรีบุตรวงษ์
  • วาวไพลิน ช่อวิเชียร
  • สัณห์ชัย โชติรสเศรณี
  • พันธุ์อาจ ชัยรัตน์
  • ไกลก้อง ไวทยาการ
  • แบ๊งค์ งามอรุณโชติ
  • นภัสนันท์ ศรีไพศาล
  • สีตลา ชาญวิเศษ
  • พัชร เกิดศิริ
  • วันรัก สุวรรณวัฒนา
  • ซายูตี สาหลำ
  • ชัชพล ยังวิริยะกุล
  • นภพัฒน์จักษ์ อัตตนนท์
  • พีรณัณทร์ สุขโข
  • อภิธนะ จีรวงศ์ไกรสร
  • ภัทชา ด้วงกลัด
  • ภัทรา พิบูลธนเกียรติ
  • สิริวัฑฒก์ วัฒนกูล
  • เธียรขวัญ พงศ์ปรีชา
  • จักรพงษ์ คงมาลัย
  • ชิตพงษ์ กิตตินราดร
  • พันธ์ดา โชติวนิช
  • ปิยะ เดชะศิริ
  • วรนล จันทร์ศิริ
  • ภาณุ ตรัยเวช
  • วิวัฒน์ เลิศวิวัฒน์วงศา
  • วิสาข์ สอตระกูล
  • เบ็นซ์ สุดตา
  • ณัฏฐณิชา รักษาวงศ์
  • ฐิติรัตน์ พิชัยยงค์วงศ์ดี
  • วิจักขณ์ พานิช
  • สนติพีร์ เอมมณี
  • ภาคภูมิ ทิพคุณ
  • อาทิตย์ โกวิทย์วรางกูล
  • วีรพัฒน์ ปริยวงศ์
  • อภิชาติ มานโสม
  • ชาติชาย เพ็งพวง
  • ชาญ รัตนะพิสิฐ
  • ภัทรนันท์ ลิ้มอุดมพร
  • วรรณสิงห์ ประเสริฐกุล

Book Sample

Change Agents Book – Sample