Have Thailand’s Democrats given up on electoral politics?By Bangkok Pundit Dec 09, 2013 12:00PM UTC
Aside from Korn Chatikavanij there is little comment from the Democrats about Suthep’s People Assembly proposal and now they are going to resign en masse.
The Democrats have been deeply frustrated by their inability to win elections against the powerful political machine backed by the billionaire tycoon Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister who now lives in exile. The party’s decision to withdraw from Parliament is the latest sign of the skepticism of Thailand’s democratic process that is spreading among the opposition and many members of the Thai elite.
“We cannot beat them,” said Theptai Seanapong, one of the members of Parliament who resigned on Sunday. “It doesn’t matter if we raise our hands and feet in parliamentary votes, we will never win.”
The mistrust of electoral politics has echoes across the region — in Malaysia, where the governing party has heavily gerrymandered the electoral map, and in Cambodia, where the authoritarian prime minister, Hun Sen, has used the machinery of the state and military to bolster his power. The Cambodian opposition continues to boycott Parliament over allegations of widespread electoral fraud in July elections.
One major difference in Thailand is that there is little dispute that Mr. Thaksin’s party has won the hearts of the majority of voters. By tailoring its policies to voters in the provinces, especially in northern Thailand [BP: Would say the Northeast too], scholars say, the governing Pheu Thai party has convincingly won every election since 2001.
The Democrats have not won an election since 1992, and some of their leaders appear to have given up on electoral politics because they cannot win. The protesters are demanding a non-elected people’s council lead the country instead.
BP: Indeed. No need for a long explanation. They have now gone “all in” with the Suthep rally. The further they go, the bigger problem they face is the outcome they want is not compatible with electoral democracy. They can’t give in without disappointing the people they have mobilized.