The Nation


Letters to the Editor

Despite corruption, elections are the path to reform

I agree with most of Songdej Praditsmanont's letter, because I too yearn for reform in Thai politics, and I actually like the PDRC. However, true reform can't realistically happen in Thailand. If non-elected people (appointed by whom?) start issuing mandates, it will surely spark protests. Thailand has little history of public debates or "town hall meetings" - where anyone can join in discussions. Thai society is too stratified for that, with its "respect for elders even if they're corrupt" philosophy.

The only way reform is possible is by elections. Thailand has to keep having elections until they, hopefully, improve things. Along the way, Thai people have to accept leaders who aren't of their particular stripe - just as 50 per cent of Americans had to accept George W Bush, even though they didn't like him. The number one problem with Thai elections is payment for votes - both to individual voters, and to "pu yai ban" (village headmen) who get rewarded handsomely for bringing in blocks of votes. Get rid of that, and Thailand will creep closer to democracy.

Ken Albertsen

Chiang Rai

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