Under the military regime, Thailand struggled to design a new constitution. As the recently drafted document was rejected, another Constitutional Drafting Committee was installed, in effect delaying the return to electoral democracy for almost a year, until mid-2017 or so. Meanwhile, a bomb blast in downtown Bangkok that killed about 20 people revealed not only the risk of international terrorism but also the dilemma of Thai foreign policy.
Following the massive political demonstration that had shut down most government agencies in Bangkok since the end of 2013, on May 22, 2014, the Thai military launched a coup in an attempt to break the deadlock. Coup leaders vowed to solve the political impasse and reform the country. Several political and economic challenges lie ahead.
The prolonged political crisis in Thailand reached a new high in 2009, when ASEAN-related summits were aborted by fierce pro-Thaksin protests, followed by violent riots in Bangkok. Although the 2007 Constitution revision represented a key contestation, cleavages within the anti-Thaksin coalition became paramount. Meanwhile, domestic conflicts prompted increasing Cambodian involvement in Thai affairs.
Thailand was bombarded by multiple crises in 2008. The political crisis became more acute as the divisiveness among people ran deep and escalated to violence. The situation remains unresolved. Insurgency in the South continues, while territorial conflicts with Cambodia have also erupted.
Political reform and the Asian financial crisis set the pretexts for the Thai political crisis. The financial crisis spawned certain big businesses that survived the economic downturn, while the 1997 Constitution eased their ability to make political inroads. In the end, Thaksin's business-centered administration so disrupted the traditional bases of society and government that it was overthrown by a coup d'éétat in 2006.