THAILAND: The First Steps to Reform

From all over Thailand they came. Farmers, folk singers, hill-tribe leaders, journalists, lawyers, businessmen and provincial officials streamed into Bangkok and filled the capital's plush hotels. They were among the more than 2,300 delegates called to a National Convention by King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He had complained that "the good people in Thailand don't want to take the power, and the bad people do." To remedy that and to help fill the political vacuum that has existed since the military-dominated regime was overthrown after a bloody student revolt last October, the King convened the meeting.

The delegates,...

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