Saturday, June 13, 2009

Deju Vu

Bangkok Post:

Songkran Grachangnetara

History in Thailand is about to repeat itself as, once again, the ghost of politics past patiently awaits a resurrection from the smouldering pits of hell.

Close your eyes and take yourself back to the pre-Thaksin political era. Back then, Thailand's political landscape could only be characterised by unstable government held together by an ineffective, insincere and insufferable coalition of political parties.

These coalition governments would allocate ministerial portfolios according to each party's perceived bargaining power within the coalition, which more often than not, would lead to internal conflict and a completely incongruous set of policies enacted without having the long-term interests of the nation at heart.

Some of these coalitions lasted no more than the lifespan of a common flea, in which case a new election would be called and a set of policies introduced in order to bring together a new coalition of parties. Elections became so frequent that voting started to feel like a chore, rather than exercising one's democratic rights.

But on a serious note, look at the situation we are faced with today. Once again we have a coalition government led by the Democrats, held together by a very fickle and expedient relationship between the Democrats and the Bhumjaithai party (or Newin Chidchob's party, to put it more accurately).

The cracks in the coalition are deepening and the deal many Democrats called a deft deal, is now looking like a very daft deal, indeed.

Now this small band of brothers calling themselves Bhumjaithai are flexing their muscles, confident in the notion that they hold the government's future in their hands and, with it, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's agenda for Thailand's political and economic recovery.

This is the unbalanced and unstable nature of coalition government, and not surprisingly, it is "deja vu" for those who have seen it all before.


The dissolution of Thai Rak Thai and its derivatives have left a huge void in Thai politics - one that is quickly being occupied by pretenders such as the Bhumjaithai party and the New Politics party. Both these parties are wearing a very thin veil in an attempt to disguise their true masters, namely Mr Newin for Bhumjaithai, and Mr Sondhi Limthongkul for the New Politics party.

Therefore, PM Abhisit should be very careful when throwing around accusations, as he has done in the past, of the UDD and Puea Thai party being "nominees" for Thaksin. Mr Newin, part of the gang of 111 former Thai Rak Thai executives whose political rights were removed following election fraud, is making a mockery of his "banned" status as he openly operates and flaunts his political influence under the auspices of the Abhisit administration.

Moreover, Mr Newin was sitting at the head of the very negotiating table, responsible for putting together the Democrat-led administration - and all this in full glare of the Thai press!

The New Politics party could end up being a coalition partner in a future Democrat government, with Mr Sondhi playing the role of puppet master.

So what PM Abhisit seems to be really demonstrating is that although he deplores "nominees" that have sworn allegiance to Thaksin such as former PM Samak Sundaravej and former PM Somchai Wongsawat, he is perfectly happy to deal or align with "nominees" that support his own political machinations.

Probably one of the most honest columns I have read in a long time.

It is interesting that The Nation would refer to the PPP and the Puea Thai Party as nominee parties of Thaksin ad nauseum, but conveniently ignores all the machinations of the other parties aligned with the Democrats, who are led by banned politicians and crooks.

Another thing to notice is that during the Thaksin years, he had absolute power and was responsible for every crime and misdeed under his regime, however remote, but during the Abhisit government, the Thai media goes out of its way to absolve him of any personal responsibility and place blame at the feet of all his underlings and allies for everything that goes wrong.

Note the double standards: Thaksin responsible for everything; Abhisit responsible for nothing.

Funny how Thai media propaganda works.


Dudeist said...

Of course it will be Deja Vu. It's like an alcoholic trying to fix their problems by returning to the bottle. All the same shit re-emerges.
TRT and Thaksin, for all their faults, were the biggest democrats on the block. They still are. By a mile.
Sure they messed with human rights, press freedom and had more than a whiff of corruption. But all that is still going on - arguably in a more sinister way - with the added bonus of no party having an electoral mandate and social cohesion falling apart.
In the immediate future Government will remain weak. Democracy will begin to wither. And all the same problems encountered in previous times will re-emerge.
The consequences will be tragic but there is a big potential for something horrific to occur.

Anonymous said...

I felt that it is deja vu since very beginning, when Abhisit has only taken over ...

and finally SOME Thai media point this out - is it surprising that it took them so long to figure out, or to dare to open their mouth ?


"there is a big potential for something horrific to occur ..." - I tend to agree.

my dream is - that finally so called "Democrat" party will bear the consiquences of their crimes, corruption and bias. although the chance is very slim - because as someone has already branded it as a "cocroach party", then one which never dies or very hard to get rid of - as roaches.