World News Brief, Friday August 22

New PM for Thailand; Indonesian court to rule on presidency; senior Hamas leaders killed in Israeli airstrike; Brazil's Socialist Party chooses new candidate; and more 

Top of the Agenda

Thai Junta Leader Appointed PM

Thai general Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the country's May 22 coup against the populist government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, was appointed prime minister on Thursday by a hand-picked legislature (Reuters). The appointment paves the way for the establishment of an interim government in the coming weeks, although power will remain definitively in the hands of the junta (NYT). Thailand's army seized power in a bloodless coup after six months of street protests that cumulated in the ousting of Shinawatra, whose government was opposed by Bangkok's royalist establishment (FT).


"A power arrangement seen in the 1980s and 90s, with a mix of strong, army-backed unelected authority and weak electoral rule, may be what the current coup-makers have in mind as they move forward. Yet after decades of economic development, voters are unlikely to tolerate a blatant military dictatorship without a semblance of democratic rule," writes Thitinan Pongsudhirak for the Bangkok Post.

"It is heartening that the junta has shown some concern to bring about a reconciliation, however unlikely, between the pro-Thaksin "red shirts" and their opponents, who paralysed Bangkok in giant protests from late last year. But that does not necessarily mean the army will allow Thaksinite politicians to take part in drafting the new constitution, let alone run in the proposed election," writes the Economist.

"Gradually, the political interests of Thailand and Myanmar seem to converge. With the backing of China, the two largest states in mainland Southeast Asia have increasingly emerged as a large dark hole that could threaten democracy in the region," writes Pavin Chachavalpongpun for the Diplomat.



Indonesian Court to Rule on Presidency

Indonesia's Constitutional Court is expected on Thursday to deliver a ruling that will finally deliver the presidency to Joko Widodo, governer of Jakarta. Supporters of rival candidate Prabowo Subianto, former son-in-law of ousted president Suharto, attempted to attack the court on Thursday (SMH).

Indonesia's Jokowi needs world's backing, writes CFR's Karen Brooks.


Senior Hamas leaders killed in airstrike

 Brazil's Socialist Party chooses new candidate

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