News / Asia

Thai Opposition to Boycott February Vote

Thai anti-government protesters wave national flags as they follow march through streets of Bangkok, Dec. 20, 2013.
Thai anti-government protesters wave national flags as they follow march through streets of Bangkok, Dec. 20, 2013.
Ron Corben
Thailand's main opposition Democrat Party says it will boycott national elections in early February because it does not see how the vote can resolve the current political crisis. With more anti-government protests expected, analysts and Thai army leaders say the boycott announcement is an additional concern.

Opposition Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva announced his party's withdrawal Saturday from the February 2 election. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had called for the vote in the hope of ending weeks of street protests against her government's policies and legislative agenda.

Anti-government protesters march during rally at major business district, Bangkok, Dec. 20, 2013.Anti-government protesters march during rally at major business district, Bangkok, Dec. 20, 2013.
x
Anti-government protesters march during rally at major business district, Bangkok, Dec. 20, 2013.
Anti-government protesters march during rally at major business district, Bangkok, Dec. 20, 2013.
Yingluck, in a broadcast on national television, called on all parties to support a national reform council to be set up after the polls.

But Abhisit, a former prime minister, said the Democrat Party's decision was based on a growing loss of confidence in the government's ability to enact reforms. His deputy leader, Kiat Sittheeamorn, says party members feel an election alone will not resolve Thailand's present crisis.

"Basically we will not field any candidate for the election this time for February 2 and the reason being that at this point in time we do not believe that the election on the 2nd of February is going to answer to the people and also the crisis that we are facing," said Kiat.

The boycott by the Democrats, whose support base is in the southern provinces and central regions, follows a similar move in 2006 when Yingluck's older brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, then Prime Minister, called a snap election in response to street protests about corruption. The election was later annulled by the courts.

On Saturday, Yingluck set out a plan for a post-election national reform council, comprising representatives from political parties, professions and institutions, to recommend changes - especially political reforms - after the polls.

The current anti-government street protests, led by a former Democrat Party member of parliament, are calling for the government's suspension and formation of an independent reform council before fresh elections can be held. Protesters accuse the government of abusing its majority in the House, especially over a blanket amnesty bill that would have cleared Yingluck's brother of corruption charges arising from his time as government chief.   

Analysts are divided over the timing of elections and the type of reforms that Thailand needs.

Titipol Phakdeewanich, a political scientist from the northeastern university of Ubon Ratchathani, says a boycott could damage the Democrat Party's reputation and hopes of gaining votes in the northern regions, a known stronghold of Yingluck's governing Pheu Thai Party.

"They must remember that Thailand is not just Bangkok and the south, and if they want to win they have to look out to the rest of the country - this is very important - [for] how to gain support, how to motivate people to vote for the party. It's very important," said Titipol. "When they are not taking part [voting], they destroy both the domestic and international reputation of the party in the long term."  

Other analysts contend a snap election is unlikely to end to Thailand's present political conflict. They feel the government's present course could exacerbate tensions and further destabilize Thai politics.

Thai Army Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha is reported to have warned there is a danger of civil conflict if the political crisis continues, and is proposing a people's assembly to heal the deep political rifts. Earlier, the army had said it would support the voters' decisions, if the vote is free and fair.

Thailand's Election Commission met with Yingluck Friday and said the vote could go ahead, providing political reconciliation takes place before February.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: hoa minh truong from: western Australia
December 21, 2013 6:20 PM
PM Yingluck Shinawatra made terrible mistake, she and her party raised an amnesty for the deposed PM Thatsin, who fled at Dubai after the coup in 2006. A billionaire, Chinese ethnic background succeeded the election in 2001, he got support from peasant, they use Red flag.
The Thatsin coming back is the sub reason, indeed the opposition parties want to remove the Thatsin's influence in Thai political arena, so they are using the Thatsin's amnesty as the fresh cause to protest and also require PM Yingluck resigns.
The end of year is time of Thai peasant collect harvest, so the Red flag's people have not appear against the Yellow flag, it is the failure of PM Yinglucj Shinawartra, she will lose all, including the hope to bring her elder brother back to Thailand is impossible.
The time table of election on January 2, 2014 that is as buying time, the peasant finish the harvest, then they will appear on the cities, including Bangkok to support Yingluck. The opposition parties know what Yingluck conspires, so they refuse the election time table.
Hoa Minh Truong.
( author of 3 books: the dark journey, good evening Vietnam & from laborer to author)

by: chopinfan from: USA
December 21, 2013 4:12 PM
The people should not concern about the DEM party as the country doesn't really need politicians to survive. However we must come up with new reform to limit politician power, enforce/prosecute corrupted politicians/officials, reach out to all (rural) people so we all can prosper not just Bangkok, fair for all judicial system, setup a new agency to track/prosecute corrupted individuals, ban immediate family members of convicted politicians & officials from running public offices etc. Without workable reform and all people participation(referendum), we will have the same issues for a while. In the nutshell, we should not concern too much and pay too much attention to DEM party. The country will do ok without them if we have good system in place (where corrupted politicians will be minimized or discouraged to corrupt).
In Response

by: jethromayham
December 21, 2013 6:06 PM
Whoever wins is still corrupt. How can you change something that is ingrained in their culture. Everyone was taught to love the King but even he can't get rid of corruption because even his court is corrupt.

TYep the country will waddle around until the ARMY STEPS IN AGAIN BUT THIS TIME IT WILL BECOME A BIGGER MESS AND IT WILL E THE END OF THE MONARCHY as a civil war breaks out in a country of smiles.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More