The Nation



Think of Mandela: try to avoid bloody conflict here

As a South African who has paid frequent visits to Thailand over the past 10 years, I began to wonder what the legacy of Nelson Mandela could mean to Thailand. Mandela and his party, the ANC, represented the aspirations of the underprivileged and poorer population against the better-educated middle class.

When his party won a majority of seats in a democratic election, and he became president, the result of the election was honoured by all parties concerned.

In Thailand you have the Bangkok elites and middle class pitted against a poorer and less educated, but not politically stupid, Northeast, represented by Pheu Thai Party. Pheu Thai has won one election after another since 2001 but the so-called Democrats do not want to accept this fact, and they have seemingly tried every trick in the book to derail the winning party's rise to power. Their refusal to abide by parliamentary democratic rules does not bode well for the future. Perhaps now is the time to turn to Mandela's example to avoid a possible bloody conflict.

George Redelinghuys


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