February 03, 2014 00:00
By Achara Deboonme
AGAINST THE People's Democratic Reform Committee's wish, I was among the millions who voted yesterday.
I was also among the millions who voted “No” to all election candidates, both party-list and constituency.
To me, it was like slapping the faces of the PDRC and all political parties and candidates.
Since I earned the right to vote two decades ago, I have never missed casting a ballot. I did it in honour of the people, in Thailand and overseas, who lost and risked their lives in securing equality for all regardless of religion, gender and personal beliefs. In this regard, compared to all the political systems humans have endured “democracy” wins the highest mark.
As such, the PDRC’s approach is totally unacceptable. I praised the millions who showed their unity in killing the controversial amnesty bill, but the PDRC’s unconstitutionally proposed “People’s Council” is another issue. To date, there is no clarity on who would be “appointed”. Plus, the PDRC has failed to outline the reforms that the council should look at. Importantly, the reforms should not be targeted at getting rid of the “Thaksin regime”, but instead at improving Thailand’s future for the benefit of all Thais. The leaders know that they cannot substantiate demands like the one that caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra resign.
The PDRC had no good reason to block voting either, particularly to win support for its “pre-election reforms”. No matter what its leaders said, actions speak louder – and there were attempts to block voting. It would have been better if it suggested a national referendum if Thais want to complete (the unknown) reforms before a national election. In two decades, I had never had this much desire to cast a ballot, to show PDRC supporters that they cannot ignore the majority if “Thailand” is to remain.
Still, I have no reason to support politicians of any party. The answer would be the same even if the Democrat Party had joined the election.
Some of these parties were part of the coalition government and their politicians failed to stop or even scrutinise the poor policies of the ruling party, Pheu Thai. I should say that I may have dreamt that these politicians could have acted differently, in a country where it is not new that politicians listen more to their party leaders than honour public interests.
It saddened me when the House was dissolved, as going with it was the Bt2 trillion borrowing bill. But I was glad that the loss-making rice-pledging scheme would go, as well as the poorly planned and ineffective tablet scheme.
I could not support Pheu Thai as its actions led to this chaos. It should learn now that a majority of votes cannot guarantee an absolute say if a policy does not truly benefit the country. I could not support other coalition parties as they turned a blind eye to these actions. I could not support politicians of other political parties because the parties failed to impress me with their populist policies. All the policies they announced involved huge spending without clear action or spending plans. They should have learnt that in the fast-changing world with the crises we experienced in 1997 and 2008, “sustainability” rules.
I do realise that going to the polling booth yesterday doesn’t mean that the political chaos that grips the nation will end soon. More elections will follow until we have a new permanent government. No matter how lengthy this process is, I’m still glad that we will eventually get an elected government.
And hopefully, this elected government will learn that national interest must come first and that they should not repeat the previous government’s mistakes. Only then can it complete a four-year term and Thai nationals can feel proud of their government. Hopefully, given the violence on the advance voting day and the national election eve, my vote can show everyone that only democratic and constitutionally-attained solutions can get Thailand through this chaos. Let democracy rule!