EC's talks with parties fail to raise hopes of solution to crisis
April 25, 2014 00:00
By Samudcha Hoonsara
Despite the meeting earlier this week between the Election Commission and representatives from over 50 political parties, uncertainties remain about the next election.
The EC and the government have yet to agree on a date for new voting. The opposition Democrat Party has yet to make it clear whether it will contest the next election, after the party boycotted the previous one in February.
Even if the next election takes place, the people involved will have to keep their fingers crossed that voting takes place successfully without any disruption that could result in it being declared void again.
The Constitutional Court ruled that the February 2 election was void because it was not organised on the same day for the entire country, which was against the Constitution.
Due to the lingering uncertainties, Thailand’s gross domestic product has been on a constant decline. This indicates that Thai people have been affected by what politicians are doing.
Their political game and conflict have continued with no end in sight, but it is ordinary people on the street who are suffering from the impacts.
The question is: Who will be held responsible for what happened?
Thailand’s neighbours in Asean have seen changes in government from time to time over recent years, but they have seen no political confusion to the extent experienced in our country. They all still see a bright outlook ahead and are eagerly preparing for the advent of the Asean Economic Community next year.
Looking at our country, the situation is almost hopeless. Conflicting politicians and political groups have taken the Thai people hostage many times since 2006.
There have been frequent street protests and the Thai people’s fate is left in the protesters’ hands.
Frequent confusion like this is not likely to bring real benefit to anyone. Protest leaders face legal actions and they sometimes break the law simply to please their followers.
Politicians in power are kept busy dealing with the protests while having to make sure they do not abuse their authority.
Talks are not a feasible option at the moment as the politicians involved have been firm with their standpoints and have shown so signs of compromising.
The anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee demands to see national reform before the next election. The government and the ruling Pheu Thai Party have been firm with “going ahead with an election in line the democratic principle”.
The pro-government red shirts vow to act against anyone who fails to play by the rules, although they sometimes break a different set of rules.
The Democrats and the military, which are also key players in Thai politics, have shown no eagerness to help ease the tense situation.
In fact, Pheu Thai and the government that it is leading should also be blamed for the country’s problems.
Thailand got its first female prime minister when Yingluck Shinawatra came to power in 2011. However, many of her government’s expensive policies, which originated from Pheu Thai’s campaign promises, led to severe budgetary burdens.
Its push for controversial laws, such as the blanket amnesty bill and the constitutional amendment bill, also caused widespread dissatisfaction.
Despite the mounting pressure against her and the administration, Yingluck, who dissolved the House of Representatives in December, has remained firm on having an election to get a new democratically elected government.
On the opposite side, her political enemies hope that the cases against the prime minister being dealt with by the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Constitutional Court lead to her ouster and a political vacuum.