The deep schism that currently exists in Thai society is clearly demonstrated by the on-going protests and clashes between the Red Shirts of the UDD (United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship) and the Yellow-shirted supporters of the PAD (People's Alliance for Democracy).
The principles of democracy and the idea of an accountable, civilian-run government, chosen by universal suffrage, are still in their relative infancy. Today, the country is still struggling to produce a political establishment and institutions that have the support of the population and are free from bribery, corruption and scandal.
Although the country officially became a constitutional monarchy democracy in 1932, it was plagued by a succession of military dictatorships which stifled the growth of an elected civilian government.
A student-led revolution in 1973 brought about a short lived and unstable period of democr…