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Happy new year?

New Year is a time for wish-making and hope about the future. Is the February 2 election a source for hope? What will it resolve? Will it improve the chances of reconciliation or will it complete the division in the country.

The February 2 poll is doomed to failure. If all of the protesters' problems are overcome, the EC will have to accept that millions are disenfranchised and that merchants of greed have collaborated to take over the country.

The civil service wants to free itself from the shackles of its political master. That gives hope. If that request is not satisfied by the incoming government we know that the shameful appointment of cronies will continue and that corruption will continue at the same levels.

The mega-projects will help the country progress and are affordable if all of the money goes to completing the project and not feeding interest on long-term lending and self-interested politicians.

The Thaksin issue needs to be resolved in court. The two recently condemned bills need to be followed by suitable punishment for their backers. The Senate, like the civil service and the police force, needs to be an independent body.

If all of the above can be accomplished then there is hope.

I wish everybody a happy New Year.

Richard Bowler

Bangkok


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