Why political turmoil in Thailand?

Over the past seven years I’ve spent a great amount of time in Thailand, a place I’m very fond of for its culture, climate, friendliness and food. People often ask me about safety and what is behind the political turmoil there? The following report from the Associated Press provides some good insights on that. –t.h.g.
Thailand’s coup: Key questions answered
May 31, 2014 10:33 AM EST

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s army seized power in a May 22 coup, the Southeast Asian nation’s second in eight years. Here, four Associated Press correspondents who have been covering the crisis and the political turmoil leading up to it offer their insight into recent events:

Q: THAILAND IS KNOWN AS THE “LAND OF SMILES.” WHY IS THERE SO MUCH POLITICAL TURMOIL?

Thai society is undergoing major change, and politics over the past decade has in part been a battle between the old royalist ruling class and an ascendant majority based in the north and northeast that has benefited from development and has begun to see itself as a political force.

Much of that struggle has played out around one man — former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a billionaire tycoon deposed by a 2006 coup who now lives in self-imposed exile to avoid a prison sentence on a corruption conviction. The issue of whether to support or oppose Thaksin and his powerful political machine has divided friends, families and the nation. –more

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