Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Likhit Dhiravegin on Thai Democracy

Another drama with a hidden agenda

Bangkok Post


What is there to study? Everybody knows what the political problems are. In a nutshell, the problems which inhibit the development of a sustainable democracy are vote-buying, corruption and abuse of power. The rule of law is constantly violated. The people are plagued with the twin evils of poverty and ignorance while many politicians are sly, crafty, bent only on power and economic gains, devoid of ethics and political etiquette. Political parties are just a gathering of individuals who have come together to set up a legal institution to register as a party in order to fulfil the requirements of office-seeking, as ordained by the Constitution.

Under the situation in which an ideology to serve the country and democratic ethos is an exception, not the rule, elections are but a political ritual in which the people whose votes had been bought, just dropped the ballot card into the ballot box. There is as such no election in the true sense of the word. Political legitimacy claimed by those successful in getting enough votes to qualify as a member of the House of Representatives is nothing but a sham.

If the above problems escaped the attention of the people who proposed a political reform study project, it is either that they are naive or that they feign innocence. Indeed, political reforms have already taken place numerous times before this hilarious proposal.

I think he is painting a caricature of Thai politics.

If you look at the last four house elections, the so-called "evil doers" were punished.

I remember the first two Thai Rak Thai victories. Politicians were yellow and red carded left and right.

The third election was eventually voided.

The post coup election was managed by the military, and still the Thaksin party won.

If all the sanctimonious hand wringers want to eliminate money politics, then why don't they propose public financing of elections?

Also, if all they want public servants instead of liars and schemers, then each party in every constituency should hold a caucus to select their candidate.

Another problem is the worthless Thai media. How often has the worthless Thai media gone out on the stump with the candidates and actually document vote buying? Never.

As for the rule of law and abuse of power, that is hardly limited to the politicians. The military and police act more like mafia thugs than law enforcement and security operations and the bureaucracy still thinks it is living during the feudal time during the Ayuthaya period.

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