Reconciliation has been cited as vital to reform efforts in order to bring Thailand out of conflict. It is about creating an environment conducive to reform in which tensions are reduced and talks between conflicting parties can take place.
Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) General Prayuth Chan-ocha stated that, if Thai people could not reconcile, then they would not be able to reform. Therefore, they would first have to find the way out of conflict.
In reconciliation, he explained, there will be many issues that will take time to understand, and all groups should curtail their feuding and mutual suspicion. This has to be done continuously, with every group finding a way for dialogue. There are many forums, where the opinions of all groups may be heard, from the local level up to the NCPO’s Reconciliation Center for Reform.
He stressed the need for all parties to find a common ground in order to deal with conflict in the immediate and long terms. One must accept differences, whether they are personal likes or different viewpoints, if people are to live together.
General Prayuth suggested that Thais should look at Indonesia as an example. Indonesia recently held presidential elections and the phase one results have been announced. The country instituted democracy only around 20 years ago and its people are willing to accept differences of opinions and preferences, as reflected in their acceptance of the phase one election results. They abide by the norms as to how to proceed. He said that Thai people need to learn from lessons in the past.
He pointed out that Thailand had spent a lot of time on its democratic progress. It needs to build good mechanisms for democracy, which is what the NCPO is trying to achieve in the reform phase. This decade-long problem needs to be quickly rectified.