THAILAND: Democracy in Danger

With its unrestricted press and open parliamentary system, Thailand is the most democratic state in Southeast Asia. But with parliamentary elections scheduled for April 4, a wave of political violence is gravely endangering the Thai democratic experiment.

Last week Dr. Boonsanong Punyod-yana, 39, the articulate, American-educated secretary-general of the Socialist Party, was gunned down in his car while returning home from a political meeting. Later in the week a bomb exploded at dawn in Bangkok's Rama VI Engineering School and killed three students. In all, there have been a dozen deaths related to the current election campaign.

Most of the violence...

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