News / Asia

Thai Finance Minister Says Elections Possible, Economy Will Recover

Multimedia

Audio

Thailand could hold elections this year, Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij has told foreign correspondents in Tokyo. The minister is in Japan to attend an economic conference, and in his words "explain the truth" about the political crisis and violence in his country.

Korn is optimistic about his country, even as it struggles to recover from its worst political violence in nearly 20 years.

On Wednesday, the army cleared out a protest camp that had occupied central Bangkok for two-months, in an operation that sparked rioting and arson in the city.

On Friday, Korn told foreign correspondents in Tokyo that his country is still in shock.

"It may actually be a watershed and a catalyst for genuine reform, That may see us emerge as a stronger society," he said.

He says that a new society would begin with a new government, and adds it is "highly unlikely" the current leadership will serve until the next scheduled election at the end of 2011. He suggests his government could hold elections in November, as the prime minister offered earlier this month, but says that is not certain.

"I don't think we're in a position to say with comfort that we can have a violence-free period of election campaigning by all parties across all regions of the country," he said.

Korn says elections will only be held under assurances that they would be "free and fair," with results that all Thais could accept.

Thailand has suffered a series of political crises since Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a military coup in 2006. He was sentenced to two years in prison for corruption, but remains popular among poor and rural voters, who feel neglected by the country's traditional ruling elite.

Korn rejects the idea that Mr. Thaksin and his supporters triggered the protests in a fight for democracy. But he says he understands the frustrations of the country's poor, especially those working in urban factories.

"The quality of life as a rural poor, in a country like Thailand, is much, much higher than an urban poor," he said. "Critically, there's not much to compare yourself with when you're a rural poor as compared with an urban poor."

The Thai government is eager to get the country's economy back on track. While Korn says the violence had minimal impact on the country's gross domestic product, investors wary of the protests have pulled out.

He says his government needs to put its "house in order" so that investors return and help get Thailand's economy back on track for rapid growth.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More