FT: Democrats should contest the electionBy Bangkok Pundit Jan 20, 2014 11:30AM UTC
FT in an editorial entitled “Thailand moves towards the brink” from last week:
Now we are witnessing huge anti-government protests in the Thai capital Bangkok. But in one respect these protests are unlike the others. This is because in Thailand the demonstrators are not demanding more democracy but less. Since 2001 the Thai electorate has repeatedly voted Thaksin Shinawatra and his proxies, including his sister Yingluck, into power. Yet on Monday, Bangkok’s commercial district swarmed with protesters demanding the ousting of Ms Yingluck’s democratically elected government and the replacement of parliament by an unelected “people’s council”.
However, political leaders on all sides in Thailand must now find a way through the debacle. The starting point must be to recognise that Ms Yingluck’s government is democratically elected and is willing to contest an election next month. The opposition should therefore commit itself to the electoral process and abandon violence.
Once elections are held, a dialogue should begin to put Thailand’s constitution on a sounder footing. Failure to achieve this would damage Thailand’s status in the region – and beyond.
BP: The Democrats try to deny any connection with the protesters and the protesters deny connections with the Democrats, but, of course, no one believes this fiction. Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has been speaking on the stage. The protest is led by Suthep, who was Deputy Prime Minister in the Abhisit government and a Democrat for more than 30 years, and most of the main leaders are former long-time Democrat MPs and Ministers. The Democrats are irreparably damaging their reputation by their association with the PDRC. When will they realize this?