Monday, March 06, 2006

I really liked the 'long view' of Thai politics in this letter. We could do with a book length collection of such snippets but the libel laws in this country and the Culture Ministry would probably not allow it.

Naive opposition should mobilise for snap election instead of boycotting it

Re: "Poll boycott corners PM", News, February 28.

I must be a dinosaur, since I am well into my 60s, but I really cannot support the opposition's decision to boycott the snap elections.

I am equally as dissatisfied as the rest of the anti-Thaksin protesters with the decision to dissolve Parliament and have even cried foul play. But let's face it: the power, constitutionally and democratically, is in the guy's hands. It is his best - and constitutional - way out of deep trouble. Do they really think the guy would just hang his head in shame and hand his power - and livelihood - back to them? That is pure naivety.

The opposition surely realises this. Is it not the duty of an opposition party in any democratic and constitutional country to be ready always for this kind of political turn of events? Should they not welcome new elections that would give them a chance to try again? Do they not realise that it needs patience and endless work in taking the democratic long road? Maybe they would prefer the quicker, decisive military coup, which has toppled them time and time again since 1932.

As usual, the opposition - or more specifically, the Democrat Party - is never ready when it comes to doing. Before - and during - Sondhi Limthongkul's rallies, how have they helped? I do not mean by joining the gatherings, but by supplying lucid and legitimate information. They prefer to wait until they are sure of high public sentiment before coming in, hoping to ride the crest of public support. I would call that opportunistic.

The Democrat Party has also chosen to ignore - to their own end - that the appearance of Chamlong Srimuang once again brings on the spectre of anarchy. Nor do I mean just the May 1992 incident - for that could have been interpreted as "an accident", albeit a wilful one. He may have denied it once, but it is time to come up with tangible evidence that Chamlong was one of the chilling voices on Army radio, crying "Lese majeste!" in a perfectly innocent rally inside Thammasat University that incited the October 6, 1976, incident, more bloody even than May 1992. It was an incident in which leading members of the Democrat Party - along with a few members of the present Thai Rak Thai Cabinet - should well remember, for they were part of the then-persecuted student activists themselves, although power and wealth have since gone to many a head.

I am disappointed that Abhisit Vejjajiva, supposedly informed, educated and from a supposedly sophisticated social environment, should have chosen to follow the Democrat Party's old line of bickering and dithering about. Good looks do not a good leader make. And we can all sense the nanny brigade of old party members lurking behind. Thais do not want that kind of leader. We have indicated so, twice, in the past five years. We do not want a namby-pamby, run-to-mammy type of person, for he cannot hope to lead.

Sunida Kitiyakara