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Farcical

January 13, 2008

The current position with regard to the establishment of a new government in Thailand seems at times to be entering the world of farce or soap opera.

The elections took place on the 23rd December and as I write this on the 13th January we seem to be no closer to the formation of an actual government.  In the early days it seemed quite clear that the PPP would be able to form a coalition government along with at least two of the other parties.

However, that would of course be too simple. 

The Election Commission began investigations into the election of a significant number of MPs and most of these were from the PPP.  As of yesterday the Election Commission has issued 15 Yellow Cards (12 of which are to the PPP) and 7 Red Cards (4 of which are to the PPP).  That means that there are 22 seats which need to be re-resolved and there are still a further 34 seats where the Election Commission has yet to endorse the winning MP.

Meanwhile the Supreme Court is to hear a number of cases connected to the issue of whether or not the PPP is a nominee party of Thaksin Shinawatra and the disbanded Thai Rak Thai and if so whether or not it should be disqualified from the election retrospectively.  If this were to happen I am not clear as to whether or not the whole election would be rerun.

The Supreme Court is also to rule on whether or not advance votes which were cast on the 15th and 16th of December were legal.  I assume that if they were not then the whole election will have to be rerun.

Back over at the Election Commission again three of the cases under investigation involve executives of a political party.  Executives from both the Chart Thai and the Matchima Thipataya Parties have been red carded and this could lead to the dissolution of both these parties.   The Deputy Leader of the PPP is also under investigation and were he to be red carded then the PPP could also be disbanded.  Again it is not clear whether or not such decisions will lead to a rerun of the election.

What is abundantly clear from all the above is that the system cannot work effectively as it is structured at present.  If individuals involved in the elections have committed electoral offences (such as vote buying) then clearly they should be barred from taking their seats.  However, the disbanding of political parties that have been voted for by millions of people does not seem a sensible way forward.  If the disbanding of these parties leads to another election then it is inevitable that yet another party will spring up to pursue the policies espoused by the PPP and Thai Rak Thai before them.  If it does not lead to a further election then millions of Thais will effectively be disenfranchised.

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