News / Asia

    Thai Protesters Undeterred by Election Plan

    Thailand's Protesters Undeterred by Election Plan, Analysts Fear Bloodshedi
    X
    January 30, 2014 6:27 PM
    Thailand's anti-government protesters are vowing to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her family from politics even if Sunday’s elections reaffirm her popular support. Thai experts say mediation is needed to prevent further violence. As VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Bangkok, however, there are few signs of negotiation.
    Thailand's Protesters Undeterred by Election Plan, Analysts Fear Bloodshed
    Daniel Schearf
    Thailand's anti-government protesters are vowing to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her family from politics even if Sunday’s elections reaffirm her popular support. Thai experts say mediation is needed to prevent further violence, and so far there are few signs of negotiation.

    Thailand's protesters, like Surachet Sinkreawan, say they are undeterred by the government's decision to proceed Sunday with national polls.
     
    The mainly middle and upper class protesters want to suspend elections that their candidates in the Democrat Party keep losing and replace the government with an unelected council that will push through unspecified reforms.

     “We will not lose, even though the government goes ahead with the election. But I am not sure whether any violence will occur like it did on advance voting day,” said Surachet.
     
    Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said he and his supporters do not intend to block voters Sunday, but aim to eliminate the Shinawatra family and loyalists from politics.
     
    If protesters, the courts or the army make good on such threats, it likely would cause the government's Red Shirt supporters in the north to rise up, risking violent conflict.
     
    Kriengsak Chareonwongsak, president of the Institute of Future Studies for Development in Thailand, said, “You either negotiate before the violent clashes or you do it afterward. Somewhere, negotiation must happen. And, I think it will happen in Thailand. Unfortunately, my prediction now: [if] it is going this way without change, it will be after bloodshed.”
     
    The Thai military has often stepped in when political violence escalated. While many oppose another military coup, independent legal analyst Verapat Pariyawong said the military remains the most likely mediator.
     
    “So, if there's going to be someone who can conduct a principled mediation, which is in itself quite against the principle because I don't think the military is supposed to be conducting mediation between the government and protest leaders, but it has to be the military," said Verapat. "And, I think the only legitimate way for that to happen is for there to be a strong turn-out on February 2nd so Thai people can send the message to the military commanders that they want this country to move forward.”
     
    Even if Sunday’s voting goes smoothly, protesters already succeeded in blocking enough candidate registrations to prevent the government from filling the 475 seats needed to convene parliament.
     
    That leaves Thailand's future in a dangerous power vacuum.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: AucklandNZ from: Auckland NZ
    January 30, 2014 5:04 PM
    It's funny that Pheu Thai and co. are warning that if the courts go after their politicians it would make things worst. I think it's worst if politicians committed crimes and the law does not bring them to justice. Contrary to most politicians (from all sides) belief, they do not have more rights than ordinary citizens, and must be punished when they've acted unlawfully. And yes cases against politicians SHOULD be fast-tracked, afterall, they make policies that affects a whole nation, and no nations would want to be run by criminals.
    In Response

    by: hugh cameron from: Chiang Mai
    January 31, 2014 7:56 PM
    What you need to understand Auckland is that this ain't NZ.

    Here in Thaiiland the judicial officers are politically active and aligned.

    It would be similar to Labour passing legal sentence on John Key and sending him to jail.

    The solution you offer is not viable here as the lines are now too firmly drawn and the only long term solution is for partition as happened with India/ Pakistan/ Bangladesh/ Myanmar.

    The Northern Thais ( Lanna) their allies the North Eastern ( Isan) are different language and racial groups to the Bangkok southerners.

    Since 2001 the rural poor started to own pick up trucks but more importantly have become eductaed through social media and they now understand that they have always been shafted, time for a change.

    All Thai politicians are corrupt so no point in sending the law after them , too deeply entrenched. Westerners always seem to forget that it is acceptable in the west for politicians to bribe the voters with handouts, Thailand is no different in that context.

    by: cheatitto from: pp
    January 30, 2014 1:23 PM
    How to mediate between govt and opposition if the opposition denies to talk with the govt?
    Suthep already knows if he holds talk with Yingluck, no way besides compromise and lead the way for elections that he expects his party will not win. So only this way to protest and ask the military and court to help pave the way for govt control like 2008.

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