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2006年VOA标准英语-Thai Coup Raises Concerns of Weakening Democrac

时间:2007-04-28 07:08来源:互联网 提供网友:g346788319   字体: [ ]

By Heda Bayron
Hong Kong
28 September 2006

The surprise military takeover in Thailand has raised concerns that Southeast Asia may be returning to a period of political unrest and that democracy there may be losing ground. Elected governments in the region face the challenges of weak institutions and endemic corruption2.


Thaksin Shinawatra (file photo)  
The ouster of the democratically elected Thai prime minister, Thaksin Shinatwara, last week sent shudders4 across Southeast Asia. Many thought the period of military interventions6 in the country had ended in 1992 and that democracy had taken root in the kingdom.

"During the 1990s the (Thai) military recognized that it did not enjoy the support of large parts of the population," explains William Case, a Southeast Asia expert at the City University of Hong Kong. "And given the general trend toward democracy throughout Southeast Asia, the military decided7 to behave in a more professional way so we had thought that the military, while not losing really its capacity, just had come to accept the democratic rules of the game."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in an interview with a U.S. newspaper this week said the coup8 was a "U-turn" for Southeast Asia. 

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo9 (file photo)
Only seven months earlier, elements of the Philippine military attempted to oust3 President Gloria Arroyo. The Philippine plot failed but along with the Thai coup, has raised worries that democracy may be weakening in the region.

The 1986 "people power" protest movement that ousted10 Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos ushered11 in a wave of democratization in Southeast Asia. The Thai military, which has led 18 coups12 over 70 years, retreated from politics in the early 1990s in favor of elected civilian13 governments. Cambodia, emerging from years of conflict, held elections in 1993. In Indonesia, the resignation of President Suharto in 1998 led to its first direct presidential elections.

There are exceptions, however. Burma continues to be ruled by a military junta14 and Vietnam and Laos by Communist Party leaders.

But political analysts15 say democratically elected governments in Southeast Asia face challenges because of flawed systems that stifle16 reform.

"There's one thing common in all democracies in Southeast Asia - the role of money and patronage," says Patricio Abinales, a professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University. "In a lot of cases votes are won by guns, goons and gold. Political power is controlled by a very few political families. The way in which things are organized makes it difficult for new players and reformers to come in."

Among other problems, many Southeast Asian countries have weak or corrupt1 legal systems that often can be politically influenced. Election commissions often are ineffective in fighting election fraud or favor certain candidates.

Other analysts say the failure of governments to address issues such as corruption and poverty, and their readiness to adopt authoritarian17 policies and suppress human rights create disillusionment about democratic institutions. Frustrated18 citizens then turn to non-constitutional means to achieve reforms.

Thai soldiers stand guard   
The Thai military has said it was forced to take power to reunite a divided nation. There has been little opposition19 to the coup.

Before his ouster, Mr. Thaksin faced months of protests demanding he resign for alleged20 corruption. His government was accused of human rights abuses. His Thai Rak Thai party was charged with fraud in April's elections - a poll that was meant to ease the political crisis but, because of questions over its legality, only prolonged the stalemate.

Noel Morada is a Southeast Asia expert at the University of the Philippines.

"If you understand how things have played in Thailand over the last three or four years, this situation was actually brought about because of Thaksin's high-handed approach in the political sphere," says Morada. "He antagonized so many sectors21. He seemed to believe that because of his popularity he can do anything he wants, so I think this is a consequence (of those actions) rather than simply an effort on the part of the military to intervene for the sake of intervention5."

President Arroyo in the Philippines also has faced accusations22 of corruption, electoral fraud and complicity in the deaths of dozens of political activists23 and journalists.

Elsewhere in Asia, dissatisfaction over Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, who is also accused of corruption, has led to frequent protests in Taipei.

It is not certain how democracy in Thailand can be revived again after last week's coup. Political analysts say much depends on whether the generals install a credible24 and independent civilian government.

But some analysts say a dangerous precedent25 has been set and Thailand can only look toward the Philippine experience to see how such interventions play out in the future.

The Philippine "people power" that has ousted two presidents was once considered a triumph of democracy. But some experts say it has weakened that country's democratic institutions because people now consider such revolts as acceptable in bringing about change.

Experts say the region could see more instability in the next few years. Indonesia's fragile democracy faces challenges from Islamic radicalism26 and regional separatism, and the Philippines is considering tinkering with its form of government, moving from a presidential to a parliamentary system. As different pressure points emerge, experts say, Southeast Asian democracy faces more tests ahead.


1 corrupt 4zTxn     
  • The newspaper alleged the mayor's corrupt practices.那家报纸断言市长有舞弊行为。
  • This judge is corrupt.这个法官贪污。
2 corruption TzCxn     
  • The people asked the government to hit out against corruption and theft.人民要求政府严惩贪污盗窃。
  • The old man reviled against corruption.那老人痛斥了贪污舞弊。
3 oust 5JDx2     
  • The committee wanted to oust him from the union.委员会想把他从工会中驱逐出去。
  • The leaders have been ousted from power by nationalists.这些领导人被民族主义者赶下了台。
4 shudders 7a8459ee756ecff6a63e8a61f9289613     
n.颤动,打颤,战栗( shudder的名词复数 )v.战栗( shudder的第三人称单数 );发抖;(机器、车辆等)突然震动;颤动
  • It gives me the shudders. ((口语))它使我战栗。 来自辞典例句
  • The ghastly sight gave him the shudders. 那恐怖的景象使他感到恐惧。 来自辞典例句
5 intervention e5sxZ     
  • The government's intervention in this dispute will not help.政府对这场争论的干预不会起作用。
  • Many people felt he would be hostile to the idea of foreign intervention.许多人觉得他会反对外来干预。
6 interventions b4e9b73905db5b0213891229ce84fdd3     
n.介入,干涉,干预( intervention的名词复数 )
  • Economic analysis of government interventions deserves detailed discussion. 政府对经济的干预应该给予充分的论述。 来自辞典例句
  • The judge's frequent interventions made a mockery of justice. 法官的屡屡干预是对正义的践踏。 来自互联网
7 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
8 coup co5z4     
  • The monarch was ousted by a military coup.那君主被军事政变者废黜了。
  • That government was overthrown in a military coup three years ago.那个政府在3年前的军事政变中被推翻。
9 arroyo KN9yE     
  • She continued along the path until she came to the arroyo.她沿着小路一直走到小河边。
  • They had a picnic by the arroyo.他们在干枯的河床边野餐过。
10 ousted 1c8f4f95f3bcc86657d7ec7543491ed6     
驱逐( oust的过去式和过去分词 ); 革职; 罢黜; 剥夺
  • He was ousted as chairman. 他的主席职务被革除了。
  • He may be ousted by a military takeover. 他可能在一场军事接管中被赶下台。
11 ushered d337b3442ea0cc4312a5950ae8911282     
v.引,领,陪同( usher的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The secretary ushered me into his office. 秘书把我领进他的办公室。
  • A round of parties ushered in the New Year. 一系列的晚会迎来了新年。 来自《简明英汉词典》
12 coups 2627b0272849b68fbe31f92e3958bb82     
n.意外而成功的行动( coup的名词复数 );政变;努力办到难办的事
  • China has seen many political coups within the ruling class. 中国统治阶级内部发生过很多政变。 来自互联网
  • Thailand has had eighteen coups or coup attendance since nineteen thirty-two. 泰国1932年以来有18次政变或参加政变。 来自互联网
13 civilian uqbzl     
  • There is no reliable information about civilian casualties.关于平民的伤亡还没有确凿的信息。
  • He resigned his commission to take up a civilian job.他辞去军职而从事平民工作。
14 junta FaLzO     
  • The junta reacted violently to the perceived threat to its authority.军政府感到自身权力受威胁而进行了激烈反击。
  • A military junta took control of the country.一个军政权控制了国家。
15 analysts 167ff30c5034ca70abe2d60a6e760448     
分析家,化验员( analyst的名词复数 )
  • City analysts forecast huge profits this year. 伦敦金融分析家预测今年的利润非常丰厚。
  • I was impressed by the high calibre of the researchers and analysts. 研究人员和分析人员的高素质给我留下了深刻印象。
16 stifle cF4y5     
  • She tried hard to stifle her laughter.她强忍住笑。
  • It was an uninteresting conversation and I had to stifle a yawn.那是一次枯燥无味的交谈,我不得不强忍住自己的呵欠。
17 authoritarian Kulzq     
  • Foreign diplomats suspect him of authoritarian tendencies.各国外交官怀疑他有着独裁主义倾向。
  • The authoritarian policy wasn't proved to be a success.独裁主义的政策证明并不成功。
18 frustrated ksWz5t     
adj.挫败的,失意的,泄气的v.使不成功( frustrate的过去式和过去分词 );挫败;使受挫折;令人沮丧
  • It's very easy to get frustrated in this job. 这个工作很容易令人懊恼。
  • The bad weather frustrated all our hopes of going out. 恶劣的天气破坏了我们出行的愿望。 来自《简明英汉词典》
19 opposition eIUxU     
  • The party leader is facing opposition in his own backyard.该党领袖在自己的党內遇到了反对。
  • The police tried to break down the prisoner's opposition.警察设法制住了那个囚犯的反抗。
20 alleged gzaz3i     
  • It was alleged that he had taken bribes while in office. 他被指称在任时收受贿赂。
  • alleged irregularities in the election campaign 被指称竞选运动中的不正当行为
21 sectors 218ffb34fa5fb6bc1691e90cd45ad627     
n.部门( sector的名词复数 );领域;防御地区;扇形
  • Berlin was divided into four sectors after the war. 战后柏林分成了4 个区。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Industry and agriculture are the two important sectors of the national economy. 工业和农业是国民经济的两个重要部门。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
22 accusations 3e7158a2ffc2cb3d02e77822c38c959b     
n.指责( accusation的名词复数 );指控;控告;(被告发、控告的)罪名
  • There were accusations of plagiarism. 曾有过关于剽窃的指控。
  • He remained unruffled by their accusations. 对于他们的指控他处之泰然。
23 activists 90fd83cc3f53a40df93866d9c91bcca4     
n.(政治活动的)积极分子,活动家( activist的名词复数 )
  • His research work was attacked by animal rights activists . 他的研究受到了动物权益维护者的抨击。
  • Party activists with lower middle class pedigrees are numerous. 党的激进分子中有很多出身于中产阶级下层。 来自《简明英汉词典》
24 credible JOAzG     
  • The news report is hardly credible.这则新闻报道令人难以置信。
  • Is there a credible alternative to the nuclear deterrent?是否有可以取代核威慑力量的可靠办法?
25 precedent sSlz6     
  • Is there a precedent for what you want me to do?你要我做的事有前例可援吗?
  • This is a wonderful achievement without precedent in Chinese history.这是中国历史上亘古未有的奇绩。
26 radicalism MAUzu     
n. 急进主义, 根本的改革主义
  • His radicalism and refusal to compromise isolated him. 他的激进主义与拒绝妥协使他受到孤立。
  • Education produced intellectual ferment and the temptations of radicalism. 教育带来知识界的骚动,促使激进主义具有了吸引力。
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