Friday, May 15, 2009

PAD finally willing to walk the talk

Bangkok Post:

The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has informed the Election Commission (EC) of its intention to register as a political party, EC secretary-general Suthiphon Thaveechaiygarn said on Thursday.

The request was filed on April 24, he said.

Mr Suthiphon said the commission was verifying the party's statement of policies and its rules to ensure they abide by the law. This process would be completed within 30 days after the request is filed.

Election Commissioner Praphan Naikowit said the checks will include whether the name People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) would cause confusion or mislead the general public.


Democrat chief adviser Chuan Leekpai refused to comment when asked if he thought the formation of the PAD party would bleed off support for the Democrats as supporters of his party tend to be the same group as the PAD supporters.

I think this is a good idea, because the PAD can finally enter the ring and prove their democratic legitimacy.

The next election will be interesting, because we won't know until then if they will siphon off votes from the Democrats. What will the Democrats do to deal with the PAD factor when they strategise for the next election? Will they consider the PAD a serious competitor or wait until the dust settles to negotiate power-sharing arrangements? The Democrats have never been a majority party in their history, so this doesn't bode well for them if the PAD is successful or has the people power it claims it has. If the history of Palang Dham is anything to go by, the Democrats will have cause to worry in Bangkok, though you have to wonder what types of charismatic figures they have who can lead regionally and/or nationally. I doubt Sondhi Lim or Chamlong will enter politics.

There are a couple other factors to this that are intriguing. Since the PAD considers democratic politics to be corrupt and illegitimate because of vote buying, what will be their GOTV and canvassing strategies, presumably because they will refuse to buy votes. The only powerful political tool that they have is ASTV. Leveraging the power of ASTV to get out the vote is different than whipping up hysteria to get people to rallies to enjoy the excellent food and music.

Further, I doubt that the PAD will break the Democratic stronghold in the solid South and they are held mostly in contempt in Isaan and the North. I also doubt that will make any headway in the Godfather strongholds in Thonburi, Supanburi, Nakhon Panom, Trat. What exactly is the PAD constituency other than old Chinese housewives?

My gut feeling tells me that this will another one of those instances where a party will be developed half-arsed and will fall apart after an election.

If the PAD is true to its word and really tries to develop a serious party based on ideology with a strong determinination to stay in it for the long haul, I actually think it might be a good thing for Thai politics, especially if the PAD is true to its word about stomping out corruption.

If the PAD turns out to be more of the same old party politics, it really is screwing itself. The only thing that it has is its moral righteousness. Also, I doubt that "getting Thaksin" and spouting right-wing nationalist and royalist mantras are a winning formula for political success. Good for soundbites, not so good for a serious political platform.

Lastly, the PAD will finally have to explain what "New Politics" is. I doubt the worthless Thai media will get to the bottom of it, or even make the PAD accountable for their rhetoric.


tumbler_p said...

I read somewhere that Sondhi L can't legally hold a political office because of his bankruptcy. Not sure if there's really such a rule or not. Can anyone check?

Kris Koles said...

great post, imagine where Thailand would be today if, instead of a coup in 2006, PAD had competed in the elections and either won or lost rather than just running around the streets demanding a coup and rule by generals and the judiciary.......

Anonymous said...

Never underestimate the voting pull of Chamlong Srimuang in Bangkok. Chamlong won the Bangkok governorship decades ago on a shoestring budget, donned in his everyday faded blue farmer's signature clothes, and without buying a vote.

But will Chamlong Srimuang again run for public office?

Kris Koles said...

.......if Chamlong can put together a winning campaign for Bangkok, then more power to him. Are these guys going to really function under the norms of a democratic system or will they once again reject the people and parties that win the most votes, like sore losers who only want to play the game if they are guaranteed to win (for instance, if the referee assures them that all the people and parties with more votes will be given post-election Red Cards and disqualified......)

tumbler_p said...

"Never underestimate the voting pull of Chamlong Srimuang in Bangkok..."

Back in 2004, Chamlong openly supported a candidate for that year's Bangkok gubernatorial election. If I remember correctly, that candidate finished a distant fifth or sixth.

Anonymous said...

Cannot help it if Red Shirts could not control their cheating hearts - - particularly at elections. they've been warned once, twice . . . . so what are the referees supposed to do to rampant vote buying violations. Wink?

Perhaps tumbler is right . . that Chamlong's shine had faded. Perhaps not.

Kris Koles said...

Matty b: Everybody knows all of the Thailand political parties operate using identical methods and means, the Democrat Party included. The problem arises when the judicial system operates opaquely under instructions from a Hidden Hand and applies "impartial judicial decisions" in a completely discriminatory manner.

(the "corruption" argument is also bogus as the corruption level is more or less identical with all parties, including the recent military government as well as the present government which has handed the three most lucrative ministries to Newin and his group and a fourth ministry to the family that owns the largest and most lucrative brothel in Thailand and probably the entire world. And,not to be forgotten,also receives substantial financial backing from King Power which continues to occupy twice their allotted space at the Bangkok Airport.)

Anonymous said...

'Every knows'? Generalizations just won't stick when it comes to the rampant election cheating and vote buying carried by Thaksin and his banned, and deservedly so, twice renamed political party.

But carry on with your self-deception ChrisIPS. Am I to assume you are (again) another Thaksin die-hard Aussie fan?

Kris Koles said...

Well, Matty B., I guess I will have to take back that "everybody knows" and re-phrase that as "everybody with the exception of Matty B. knows"........

Anonymous said...

That pleases me that ChrisIPS would begin to learn at heart that there is no such animal as 'everybody'. Not every Thai politician is corrupt, and, not every Thai politician buys votes.

And personally I suspect Thaksin Shinawatra re-employed his bribing charms (remember the millions-in-sandwich bag saga?) to circumvent judicial judgment against him, against his wife, and against his political party.

Dudeist said...

matty b - you're very funny. so you think everyone who critiques Dems is a Thaksin die-hard? It's a really pathetic non-argument and completely invalidates any point you wish to make as it reveals you are not capable of either rational argument or understanding semi-difficult concepts. Are you in the pay of Sondhi? And, for the record, neither myself or Chris
are Australian.

Anyhows, the funny thing about the PAD entering politics is if they do set-up New Politics with reduced enfranchisement and an openly fascistic blood and soil nationalist agenda (that's all they've mouthed so far) and then siphon votes off the Dems what will the Dems do?

Surely the Dems wouldn't dream of entering into a coalition with a fascistic anti-democratic PAD party?

I mean the Dems don't have a record of backing up Thai fascism do they?