News / Asia

Thailand Election Uncertain as US Decries Vote-Blocking

Thailand Election Uncertain as US Decries Vote-Blockingi
X
January 27, 2014 11:31 PM
Thailand's anti-government protesters are a vocal minority who oppose upcoming national elections. But their outspoken rallies, marches, and sit-ins have drawn attention away from the quiet majority who want to cast their votes. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Bangkok.
Daniel Schearf
Thailand's anti-government protesters are a vocal minority who oppose upcoming national elections.  But their outspoken rallies, marches, and sit-ins have drawn attention away from the quiet majority who want to cast their votes.  
 
The anti-government protest movement has drawn thousands of supporters in trying to rid Thailand's politics of loyalists to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.
 
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said to remove corrupt elements they have to first stop elections and appoint a new ruling council to push through political reforms.
 
But even some protesters are uneasy about blocking the democratic process.

"Every time [they] have an election I join the vote, but select the good people, right people, and ethical people," one woman said.
 
A small group of white-dressed demonstrators have been holding regular candlelit rallies asking the anti-government protesters to respect their vote.
 
Peanpen agreed that political reforms are needed but said stopping the election is not the right way to improve things.

"It means that I think we have to elect first and once we get some people from election than we can reform," she said. "But if you reform before election it means Kun Suthep will select a group of people by himself.  [If] it's not from all over the country it means that not every people in this country accept the group that Kun Suthep selects.  So, if in that way, it will be a lot of problems."
 
The United States has criticized protesters for blocking Sunday’s advance voting in parts of Bangkok and the south, calling it a violation of their universal rights.
   
But as Thailand’s political divide deepens, analyst Thitinan Pongsudhirak says elections alone will not solve the country’s problems.  
 
"Polls are not going to resove the crisis," he said. "Somehow there has to be some agreement with or without polls.  What needs to be done in order to regain some kind of consensus for agreement in moving forward.  Otherwise the poll is going to be another day of crisis and it will lead to more crisis."
 
With less than a week to go before Sunday’s polls, there remain few signs of a resolution to break the political impasse.

Gabrielle Paluch contributed to this report.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid