I was almost going to label this post Marxists for Thaksin, but thought better of it. Giles Ungpakorn, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University and committed Marxist, has made a number of statements criticising the PAD and the Opposition and on the current political crisis. His thoughts below:
IHT ThaiDay on 5 March 2006:
“I’m not sure if having the Privy Council choose a panel to change the Constitution would be an improvement,” said Giles Ungpakorn, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University.
“What is needed is a deepening of democracy, not a backwards step towards undemocratic institutions like the Privy Council.”
IPS on 10 March 2006:
”There is no comparison on pro-poor policies between the Thai Rak Thai and the parties in government before 2001,” Giles Ungpakorn, political scientist at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, told IPS. ”The opposition Democrat Party has been in government many times before but their policies lacked sympathy for the poor.”
”Thaksin has redrawn the political map by offering policies to help the poor improve financially than the traditional vote buying technique of the other political parties before — just handing out only cash,” he added. ”Most of the anti-government demonstrators and the opposition parties treat the poor with contempt.”
IPS on 23 March 2006:
Others see it as a step in tune with what one expects in a democracy. ”It is a very astute move from the point of view of the Prime Minister and TRT by preparing to submit to the will of the voters,” Giles Ungpakorn, political scientist at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, said in an interview. ”He is sticking by democratic principles for which he cannot be faulted.”
IHT ThaiDay on 28 March 2006:
“I think the call for a royally appointed government is a step back for democracy,” said Giles Ungpakorn, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University. “It’s unnecessary, and it stems from the fact that PAD and the Democrats know they will lose [in] an election. PAD and the Democrats have turned their backs on democracy and shown contempt for ordinary people, who, they say, are either bought off or ignorant.”
In another article in IHT ThaiDay on 28 March 2006:
“The poor are absolutely right to vote for Thaksin, as long as they have no alternative,” said Giles Ungpakorn, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University, who is currently forming a new political party. “The Democrats are incapable of challenging Thaksin on policies, so they have turned their backs on the election…And the core PAD members have acted like decorations adorning [core leader] Sondhi [Limthongkul’s] stage. Its final call for royal intervention was Sondhi’s first position, so the fact that they joined Sondhi resulted in no change in policy.”
COMMENT: Most academics quoted have been critical of Thaksin. I just offer Giles’ quotes as an example of an academic who takes a different view of the situation.
NOTE: I am fairly sure Poststaffer has posted one of Giles’ quotes in a commet here or elsewhere last week, but I just can’t for the life of me find where. So credit to Poststaffer or whoever it was who first alerted me to Giles’ opinion.