Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Triumph of the mob over democracy

Wounded DemocracyMr Thaksin Shinawatra announced his resignation as Thailand's Prime Minister yesterday. Ironically, his TRT party won Thailand's snap elections held on 2 April 2006, but it proved to be a hollow one given that three of the main opposition parties boycotted the elections. So here, we see the triumph of mob pressure over the democratic process. Things are never going to be the same in Thailand anymore. I think that Thailand, economically, socially and politically, will enter into a period of uncertainty. I don't think there is a political figure at the moment that can take over Thai politics the way Thaksin has. If so, people would not have had to march and live on the streets of Bangkok for over three weeks now.

Sondhi, Chamlong and others are good protest organisers, but they have yet to prove themselves in ruling a country and bringing prosperity to that country. So far, their loose alliance is based on a common aim to unseat Thaksin. Beyond that, their agendas are quite different and will most likely conflict with one another's. That the opposition parties had to ride on the coat-tails of the protesting Thai public speaks volumes about their credibility, or lack of it. So if the opposition today sanctions protest of the type seen in Bangkok over the last 3 weeks, then when and if they become the ruling party and form the government, they in turn must also sanction any opposition to their rule in like fashion.

The democratic process is a severely wounded animal in Thailand. We do not know if it will ever recover.

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