Thai Demonstration

Watching the demonstration that is going on in Thailand is like watching soap operas. Same old plots, same old endings. This present one is no different. It originated when the media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul of the Manager Media Group called for a rally in order to protest against the proposed motion to amend the constitution by the People’s Power Party (PPP), and then it dragged on and on. Even after the PPP announced that it has withdrawn the motion, the protest is still there because its leaders think that as soon as the rally is called off the motion would be put back in again.

So all this is about the trust that we have toward one another. The government does not trust Sondhi and his People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), and the latter obviously does not trust the government either. So from the original calling for the withdrawal of the motion, the protest has changed its objective to demanding Samak, the Prime Minister, to resign.

The problem is what would happen if Samak actually resigned. According to the constitution, there has to be another round of Parliament meeting where the name of the new Prime Minister is proposed and voted on. That could happen, and it could also happen that Abhisit, the leader of the lone opposition party, the Democrat, might be nominated. That is admittedly a slim chance, but it is still a chance if the coalition parties jumped ship from the PPP and joined the Democrat.

Thai rally

But if that is the scenario then the PAD’s rally would be nothing more than a push for the Democrats. However, the leaders of the PAD staunchly deny that and it is well known that pushing the Democrats back to the Government House is not in the agenda. In fact Sondhi himself used to be severely critical of the Democrats themselves.

So what is their real agenda? They want to uproot what they call “Thaksin System” once and for all. But I doubt that they will be successful. Most Thais know that if another general election is held, then any party that is allied to Thaksin will control the most seats again. The hold of Thaksin on the Thai contryside is that strong. But then in Parliament there are only these two opposing factions (with some smaller parties acting as opportunists who can join any side). So if not the Thaksin ally, then it has to be the Democrats. So we are back to the same picture.

There is the third alternative, in fact. Another coup d’etat is not entirely out of the question. And if that happened, then a “neutral” government will be installed. But then we are back to the same old plot again. (Remember that this is a soap opera.) The neutral, military installed government cannot last long because of the certain intense pressures from the world community, so there will be a drafting of yet another constitution and a general election, which the Thakin-allied party (whatever the name) might win again.

I have read somewhere in these wordpress blogs that there is an attempt to justify democracy without relying on its consequences. Perhaps China could justify its political system by showing the economic prosperity of all the strata of the population. But still, perhaps democracy is an intrinsic good, according to the author of the argument. Something like — the people have an intrinsic right to a democratic government. But what about Thailand? China does not have coup d’etats or revolving door governments, or mass rallies that repeatedly topple governments, and the West does not have totalitarian regimes or three dozen constitutions in half a century. Thailand have all of them. So should the author of the argument take Thailand into his equation?

I promise that the next post will be back to Buddhism. 


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