On Friday, Thailand’s king reduced former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s eight-year prison term to a single year following the divisive politician’s return last week from 15 years of self-imposed exile.
“The whole process since the election has been one reflecting Thailand’s elite undoing the electorate’s vote for change, for a new direction,” said Kevin Hewison, a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a veteran Thai studies scholar.
“Pheu Thai put Thaksin’s interests above those of the electorate. It did a deal with those it promised it would not deal with. It is in coalition with all of the conservative and pro-military forces that have held power since 2014.”