The September coup last year resulted in the scrapping of Thailand’s 1997 constitution. The move was in response to the alleged abuses of the former prime minister by capitalizing on the various loopholes of the constitution for his wealth gains. A new constitution is being drafted by a military appointed committee. Elections were promised in December 2007.
Thailand is considered as one of the last bastions of democracy here in the Greater Mekong Subregion being the only country with a democratically elected government until the coup. Now most of the GMS countries are under military rule from Burma, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam. The latter three are not technically ruled by the military but are socialist/communist governments.
Early this evening, I was surprised to see the king of Thailand speaking on TV. He seldom do that unless there’s a very significant event in Thailand. So I waited for the news.
Indeed, he did said something on the state of Thailand. He wasn’t happy at the course Thailand is going. However, news in Thailand showed a different angle of the news while still having the worst case scenario warning.
The political parties here in Thailand are being prosecuted after alleged fraud in the April 2006 election. The said election was boycotted by most parties and eventually was won by the former minister’s party, the Thai Rak Thai (Thai Loves Thai) Party. The election was later nullified after probable evidence of fraud (fielding ghost candidates to avoid failure of election since the opposition was boycotting it).
Individual judges are expected to issue their opinion on the case on 29 May and the constitutional tribunal will meet to hand a verdict on 30 May.
Next week is a critical time–the judgement, the absence of the prime minister (for an official trip) and the expected rallies in support of TRT party and the opposition Democrat Party. To make matters worse, rumours of elephants joining the rallies are persisting (I’m not kidding). Previous rallies by monks were marked with the involvement of these giant pachyderms, which caused traffic and confusion (and posed danger to the public).
If the two parties are convicted, they will be dissolved with senior party officials forbidden to run for office for five years. The military has promised an election come December 2007 but if the parties are dissolved and prominent politicians are excluded in the election, the coming election might as well be a staged one and not a true, fair and free election.
Most people here are growing uneasy with the military’s seemingly tight hold on power. As of now, let’s wait and hope for the best for this country.