Political developments

Political developments - translated and summarized from Thai Rath, January 8, 2008
Political reform in Thailand officially began after the 1997 Constitution came into effect in October of that year. After that constitution was ‘torn up’ in 2006, the Interim Constitution and the subsequent 2007 Constitution came in force. Although general elections have been held on four occasions since 1997, it is highly questionable whether Thai politics has moved forward at all in the past ten years.
If we monitor the behavior of politicians and political parties both before and after the December 23 General Election, we see that Thai politics has not changed in the slightest. All political parties still believe that they will ‘starve’ if they are forced to remain in opposition. As such, this means that they constantly trying to be a part of any government that is formed - regardless of any real benefit to the nation.
One political development has arisen in this election, however. Outdated politicians who formed new political parties before the event, in a bid to be a part of the new government, have largely failed to achieve their goals.
The results of the recent general election have done nothing to usher in political reform.
The 2007 Constitution was conceived to create a clean political system, and to reduce the power and influence of money politics. The participation of the public in the election - and their overall verdict - should be respected, however.
The December 23 General Election also led to another new political trend. People are now being urged to gather at protest meetings to pressure the Electoral Commission (EC) into dismissing provincial EC members who have awarded ‘red’ cards to parliamentary candidates. The future of Thai politics is extremely worrisome.
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