Thailand in stalemate การเมืองไทยยืดเยื้อ

4 07 2008

Nowadays we always hear many interesting news. Interior Minister Chalerm was chased out by a group of local in Krabi province. Prime Minister Samak complained that police planned to detain him immediately after he tocuhed down at the Suvarnabhumi airport. One or more excutive members of People Power Party, the ruling party, would soon be disqualified from their canibet position. Premier Samak himself might soon be busy defending his court cases. Former premier Thaksin Shinawatra has been ordered not to leave the country as the date of hearing on the land scandal is due next week. And a few ruling coalition parties may be dissolved. That no doubt would include the main actor like PPP.

If all the above occur, what will be left for Thailand? In a seminar I attended lately on “Crisis, Brinkmanship and stalemate: What Next for Thailand?”, almost all speakers seem pessimistic. Some see it as end game of Samak government. Some think all the turmoil will end up in physical fighting between supporters of PAD and PPP. PAD has made it known that they want a change in an entire political system. They claim that full democracy will never work in Thailand. Some of the political leaders will have to be chosen as general election will bring old faces to political scence again and again. And again, if general election is allowed, PPP or Thakisin nominee party will surely win. To get beyond Thaksin phenomenon, leaders must be appointed and some can be elected. Shold this happen, Thailand is going backward or not going anywhere. This explains why PAD has not have much support this time, unlike the demonstration they led in 2006 when they gained massive support from Bangkokian. Yet, we can never underestimate PAD. It seems that their influence has extended widely to the 14 provinces in the South. As a result, Prime Minister Samak and Interior Minister Chalerm do not dare to visit southern provinces. Local people stated clearly that they are not welcome and that both leaders have no legitimacy to rule.

Can we rely on the capability of the Opposition to make change in the parliament? A simple answer is NO. Democrat Party has been weak and incapable. It can never offer an alternative force, not for the moment, until and unless it changes its leader. It has been disappointing for many of its supporters that they falied to capitalise on the last electionn when everything was going their way – especailly the silent support from the military and the royal establishment. Yet, they could not manage to penetrate to the North and the Northeast. It will be a long time before they can make a comeback. DP really needs to do a serious soul searching.

Before we cna think of any likely scenario in a few weeks to come, it would be interesting to see what Thaksin will do a day before his court hearing. I do not think that he would allow the court to prove him guilty. How he will fight will be something all the Thai have to keep their eyes really open.


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