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The biggest challenge for reformers

The suggestion by the EC of limited terms for politicians in fact already operates in Thailand as a succession of governments - TRT, PPP, PPP, PTP - have all collapsed due to unacceptable practices. The party name changed, new faces appeared but the demagogue still lurked in the background. The family expression "second cousin twice removed" gained a completely different meaning.

The challenge the EC has to address is how to satisfy the needs of the vast majority of the poor without letting somebody in to satisfy their personal interests on the back of it.

The British system has been criticised recently in this column but at least politicians there have earned their stripes in getting into government and every MP is elected. Many are lifetime career politicians.

Incidentally, there is a system of government where the sectors of commerce, industry, agriculture, etc each vote in their own representatives. Each sector is weighted according to its importance to the country and MPs allotted accordingly. But agreeable as this may seem, I would hesitate to suggest it. It has a bad track record, with the suitably shirted majority poor being brought to the city to satisfy the personal greed of politicians. Thailand tried that too.

Richard Bowler

Bangkok


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