Thai electoral system fails the grade

Thai electoral system fails the grade - Bangkok Post, March 1, 2005
[Any article critical of Thailand that begins by referring to international conventions, etc. is likely to be out of touch with local conditions and history. The author clearly has no clue to local sensibilities or the context of Thai electoral laws, offering Thais Abraham Lincoln as an example of an unschooled politician.
While the non-degree holder rule is under attack, one of the reasons for barring non-degree holders from office was to begin to purge uneducated big men and their mini-parties from political life.
The author suggests that monks conduct voter education. Temple life is already highly politicized and the last thing Thai civil society probably wants is further secularization of the monkhood by politicizing them.]
Thai law denies Buddhist monks the right of suffrage. Likewise, a person must have a university degree and be a bona fide member of a political party to run for public office. While international observers try to evaluate election laws in the context of a nation's history, culture and politics, the restrictions in Thailand are not in accordance with internationally accepted norms and standards...
Observers of the Feb 6 election in Thailand noted not only the inadequacy of voter education in the lead-up but also the absence of groups to conduct voter education either from the government or from civil society. Monks are revered religious figures and can provide this need. This role fits the monks perfectly well by reason of their moral authority...
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