Asia's Dithering Democracies

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

A Pakistani voter casts her ballot in a small village outside Peshawar, Pakistan

They called themselves the people's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), but their aims were hardly democratic. During their 192-day protest campaign, the PAD paralyzed Thailand, blockading the capital's two airports for eight days and besieging the Prime Minister's office complex for months. By the time the opposition alliance withdrew on Dec. 3, a democratically elected government had been disbanded by the country's courts and political street violence had claimed several lives. And should future polls bring back politicians linked with Thailand's ousted rulers? "The PAD will return," vowed alliance leader Sondhi Limthongkul, who earlier in the siege told...

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