The Nation



Rigged election ahead?

Are we setting ourselves up for a rigged election? Now that Parliament's dissolved, if I were Yingluck, I'd vigorously seek to ensure a free and fair election, secure in the belief that I'd win again.

Respected Chulalongkorn Professor Emeritus Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker have concluded that, although votes have been bought, "the [voting] pattern is not what you would expect if vote-buying was determining the result".

If I were Suthep Thuagsuban, I'd seek to control the interim government so I could set the rules for the upcoming election. I'd note, rightly, that Yingluck has a vested interest in Pheu Thai winning again, so she shouldn't form the interim government. For easy control, I'd want an interim body that obeyed unquestioningly, so I'd bar those most likely to be politically active from the "people's council" or any other interim body, by excluding politicians and party members. I'd also require that parties and candidates follow the council's rules. Yes, I'd be excluding myself, but Thaksin has given ample evidence that outsiders can control even whole governments.

So what might we end up with? A pre-determined election, but rigged our way! That's hardly taking the moral high road, and morals aside, such elections aren't sustainable - and we'll be back to the same old vicious cycle.

I suggest that parties should seek to win enough seats to form a government, which means having a philosophy and platform that is acceptable to the minority as well as the majority. Platforms should be theoretically sound and sustainable in the long term (no more rice debacles, please), and must be squeaky-clean (no gaping holes in Bt2-trillion infrastructure projects). Most importantly, as always, "Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it," as the Lord Buddha said. "Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held … Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true."

Burin Kantabutra


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