Election-related editorial cartoon and news – 2007

(Photo: Kolok for 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Voting in Amphur Sungaikolok, Narathiwat Province

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above and below: Vote counting in Yala Province

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Time to vote - December 23, 2007
Above and below: Voters casting their ballots in Krong Pinang, Yala Province in the Thai Deep South

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Choose the upright - translated and summarized from Matichon, December 18, 2007
Regarding the general-election to be hosted on December 23rd, I would like to remind eligible voters about their participation in the vote will steer direction of political future. This is because the nation is facing with many problems, including the political breakup atmosphere. I would like to state that it is important that the one who will lead the next government has to be upright, devoting and diplomatic one.

Election competition in Pattani - translated and summarized from Thailand Journalist Association, December, 2007
Regarding a poll on the up-coming general election revealing the Democrats will gain certain numbers of MP seats, Muslim community leader Ismael Ben Jasamit states that the result might differ from the poll. Ismael says that it is hard for the Democrats to win election in the 2 constituencies in the province in the up-coming election.
However, some election analyst insist that the Democrats’ Pattani constituency 1 MP candidate team led by Anwar Salei and Ismael Benibrawhib should win the seat in the constituency 1, comprising of Muang, Kok Poh, Mae Larn and Nong Chick district. Anwar’s strong point is that he closely works with locals, both Buddhists and Muslims in the community.
At the same time, former MP representative Den Tohmeen (a Democrat rival) states that he believes the election on December 23 will give way to the return to power of the Wadah political group. He states that his Wadah group will win at least 2 MP seats in the 3 border most provinces, including 2 from Pattani.

"Grassroots" - Krungtepturakit, December 12, 2007
It reads: Grassroots
PPP leader Samak is above ground, but the root is Thaksin.

Two-Face - Na Ban Bangkae by Bancha Khamin, Manager, December 12, 2007
Left: Let's have conciliation.
Right: Kill it, must kill it!

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)
Prachai resigns as leader of Matchima Thipataya - The Nation, December 4, 2007
Matchima Thipataya Party leader Prachai Leophairatana resigns from his party on Tuesday after the Criminal Court found him guilty of violating stock market regulations and sentenced him to three years in jail on Monday...

Or not...

Prachai U-turns on political decision - Bangkok Post, December 4, 2007
...Members of Matchimathipataya party voted unanimously to allow Mr Prachai to continue serving as party leader. In a sign of gratitude for their support, he thanked them and asked for a few more days to decide what to do...

And also...

Prachai may face contempt hearing - The Nation, December 5, 2007
Things have gone seriously wrong for Matchima Thipataya Party leader Prachai Leophai-ratana, who was sentenced by the Criminal Court on Monday to three years in jail for stock manipulation...

Left: November 10, 2007 - It reads: Matchima Prachatippathai Party - 15. Thailand’s economy is in trouble. Professionals are in need. Please vote for Prachai Leophairatana.

Sapa Samanachan and Robot Government - November 23, 2007

Don't try too hard! You will only get yourself into deeper trouble! - translated and summarized from Komchadluek, November 23, 2007
The general public are confused by the fact that a large number of former Thai Rak Thai (TRT) Party politicians, who have forfeited their right to stand for political office, are still calling for their political rights to be restored. Some of this group have arranged public meetings to express their resentment at the restrictions placed upon them. Still others have set up websites on which they claim that they are being treated like second-class citizens.
Disgruntled former TRT politicians have even encouraging their spouses, children and relatives to compete in the election on their behalf.
Some uneducated and irresponsible people, who still can not comprehend the cunningness of ‘tricky’ politicians, will continue to receive financial inducements in return for their votes - and will make no attempt to inform the Electoral Commission of these corrupt acts. Such people are yet again encouraging mean-hearted politicians to break the law.
The structure of Thailand's civil society is inadequate to prevent such mean-hearted individuals from becoming involved in politics. The patronage system of this Kingdom is still very strong, and this sad fact is yet again unlikely to provide any real benefit to the general public. The law of the land should be a lot stricter on this issue, and should punish all those who are guilty of such crimes - regardless of whether they are prominent politicians or highly influential people.

December 23 - The Sound of Heaven - translated and summarized from Komchadluek, November 21, 2007
There is only one month left before all Thais will get their opportunity to help determine this country’s future.
Komchadluek has conducted some research that shows that the People Power Party (PPP) will gain about 190 electoral seats in the upcoming general election - the highest number of any party. PPP will gain the most seats in all regions except for Bangkok and the South. The Democrat Party (DP) will get about 128 seats. However, there is still a possibility that a well-run DP electoral campaign will eventually lead to it achieving more than our current projection of 128 seats.
Over the past five years, the Thai Rak Thai (TRT) Party has commanded the highest number of Members of Parliament. TRT was the first political party in Thai history to gain overwhelming support from the electorate in a very short timeframe.

Campaigner: Viagra used to bribe voters - AP, November, 2007
POLITICAL CLOWNS? - Some unusual candidates and policies have been unveiled for this election - Bangkok Post, November 20, 2007
...Several years ago Mr Smith ran for the governorship and had the public in stitches when he presented his policy to solve the traffic jams in Bangkok.
He said the traffic was congested because cars had to stop at red lights. To solve the problem, he said, if he was elected governor he would order all traffic lights to be turned green all the time...

Ousted Thai PM's allies appeal to UN for help - AFP, November 22, 2007
Former members of ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra's political party on Thursday appealed to the United Nations human rights office for help after they were barred from election campaigning...

Pinocchios - Krungtepturakt, November 28, 2007
It reads: Politician nowadays

Who will be PM? - Thairath, November 29, 2007
On the chair it says, "The 25th PM." Several political figures attempt to climb over the boots representing the military government to get to the PMship. These include Abhisit as an infant (top right), big-noses Samak with his chef's hat on (middle), and Banharn carrying a ladder (bottom right). Banharn says, "give it to me first. I am old."

Praying - Matichon, by Son, November 29, 2007
Above: Yesterday... Thaksin prays: Eriksson, take my team to the winners, please. [Manchester City coach Sven-Goran Eriksson]
Bottom: Today... Thaksin prays: Samak, take my team to the winners, please. [People Power Party head Samak]

Populism = drugs - Krungtepturakit, November 29, 2007
Top: This election, we get benefits
In the three hands are drug implements with "populism" written on them.
At the bottom: We can see the big spread of drugs

The wives of Big Bung - Manager, Na Ban Bangkae, November 29, 2007
Left: The asset  lists of Big Bung [the nickname of Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin]
Right: The wives of Big Bung
At the bottom: This is more interesting

You can be in jail! - Krungtepturakit, November 20, 2007
At left are figures representing the 111 banned TRT executives including Sudarat and Chaturon.
In the middle, current Election Commission chairman Apichart Sukhagganond says: Don’t take a risk. Otherwise you will be in jail.
At right, former Election Commission chairman Vasana Puemlarp--who is also incarcerated, says: Don’t take a risk. Otherwise you will be in jail.
At the bottom it reads: With the best from Election Commission and Ex-Election Commission.

Populist policies - Krungtepturakit, November 21, 2007

Left: On the melting candy it reads: Populism
At the top it reads: Still can sell...

What are you afraid of? - Na Ban Bangkae, Manager, November 20, 2007
At left, Chalerm Yoobamrung holds a sign that reads, "Next year, I will be Interior Minister"
In the middle, Samak holds a sign that reads, "Next year, I will be Prime Minister"
At right, the oil barrel holds a sign that reads, "Next year it will be 150 Dollar per barrel"
The barrel says: I get into people’s dreams, they are afraid of me and then wake up, but when they dream of both of you they are more afraid of you than me. Why?!
[This cartoon implies people have more qualms about highly contentious political figures Samak and Chalerm taking over the top political jobs than oil reaching $150 a barrel.]

Thai players for Manchester City - Manager, Na Ban Bangkae by Bancha / Kamin, November 17, 2007
Manchester City coach Sven-Goran Eriksson thinks: Damn... I was deceived to do a campaign for votes for the PPP!
[This is a reference to the signing of three Thai players by Manchester City last week which most observers felt was timed as a political gesture to increase a feeling of nationalism and popularity for Thaksin and the PPP.]

Barking dog - Krungtepturakit, November 14, 2007
At the top, Samak, as a barking dog, talks to a "press" microphone. At the bottom, when a "debate" microphone is produced, Samak hides in the doghouse. At the top it reads: This is a real gentleman!
This is a reference to recent weeks when Samak made extremely bellicose and confrontational public statements. However, after being challenged to a public debate by Democrats' Abhisit, it was announced Samak would not engage in such a debate.

Hong, hong - Manager, Na Ban Bangkae by Bancha / Kamin, November 12, 2007
Left, at the bottom: Cat's language
The cat is saying "Meow meow"
Right, at the bottom: Cat feeder's language
Samak is saying: Hong hong (the sound a dog makes in Thai - basically he is barking)
The meaning of this is that Samak is a well-known cat lover. However, his recent tough statements to the media are said to be like a barking dog. Thus, a person with cat sympathies is barking like a dog.

Leena to sue party leader, Prachai - Bangkok Post, November 12, 2007
...Suthipol Thaweechaikarn, Secretary-General of the Election Commission (EC), declined to comment much on the case, stating that EC regulations usually applied in cases where political parties attempted to bribe candidates into running in the election race.
"There has never been a case in which the party attempted to bribe a candidate not to contest the election so we will have to examine Ms Leena's documents before deciding what to do," Mr Suthipol said...

Friends - Krungtepturakit, November 7, 2007
This striking editorial cartoon shows Sanan and Banharn embrace on the occasion of Sanan's faction joining Banharn's Chat Thai Party. At the top it reads: The party of shark fin
This is to indicate the partnership is an exclusive and expensive partnership made up of elites in the same way shark's fin soup is an expensive dish of the elite.
Banharn has fox ears to indicate he is tricky (chau lay). Sanan is drawn with his trademark big ears and bites at Banharn, perhaps indicating the relationship is not a real friendship, but a duplicitous business decision.
Overall the point of this cartoon is to point out the insincerity and venality of the political merger.
[Thanks to Yui for helping out on this cartoon.]

Ticking bomb - Thairath, November 5, 2007
Gen. Sonthi is tied to the election box that is ticking like a bomb while Samak, in Issan garb, waves from outside.

Varut writes: The small figure is most likely PM Surayud, not Samak "in Issan garb".
He's dressed as a hermit and he's riding a turtle. That's one of Surayud's nicknames - "Ruesee Leang Tao" or the Hermit who raises Turtles. "Hermit" implies that the person is morally good but somehow reclusive or not connected to the real world. Turtles refer to his ministers who are slow and passive.
Note that another PM, Seni Pramoj, was known as "Ruesee Leang Ling" or the Hermit who raises Monkeys as his cabinet was full of untrustworthy, unruly people.

At the top it reads: Tick-tock, time begins to count down
On the box it reads: Election of December 23
Notes around Gen. Sonthi read: The Election Committee, Secret order of CNS, Intercept the People Power Party in every way

The struggle - Thairath, November 8, 2007
Samak (with Thaksin's photo behind him) arm wrestles Gen. Sonthi. Other political figures help Gen. Sonthi.
The title reads: This field …of who? ...for who?
On the box it reads: Election, December 23, 2550 [2007]
The note on Gen. Sonthi's back reads: Military leads politics

Gen. Sonthi meets CNS - Soldiers assigned to monitor election run-up - translated summarized from Komchadluek, October 30, 2007
Deputy Minister of the Interior Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin summoned Defense Minister Gen. Boonrawd Somthat and high-ranking members of the Council for National Security (CNS) to a meeting today.
Gen. Sonthi said - after the meeting - that there had been no discussion about the ‘secret documents’, as only general issues had been raised. [A reference to documents recently leaked by Samak Sundaravej]
One source said that Gen. Sonthi and the CNS members had discussed measures to cope with the parliamentary general election on December 23.
It has also been announced that the three parties present at today’s meeting will meet every Tuesday - in the run up to the election - to pool information about the nationwide preparations for the poll.
Security force units will be assigned to selected locations throughout the country, and given the responsibility of reporting on the situation in their area on a weekly basis.

"Thai-style democracy" - by Seer, Thairath, October 21, 2007
Above Gen. Sonthi's head it reads: Foreigners must understand… Thai-style democracy.
On the left is a drawing of the constitution being supported by a tank (the military). On the right is a military boot on a ballot box. On the box it reads: Election under martial law.

"Sincere and fair" - Krungtepturakit, October 22, 2007
On the sign above the runners it reads: Election
Gen. Sonthi (holding a starting pistol) says: I confirm that the election will be sincere and fair.
In the other hand he holds a gun to the head of People Power Party leader Samak. Others at the starting line include Abhisit, Banharn and Chawolit.

"Made to order" - Krungtepturakit, October 20, 2007
Bottom left: Event at the restaurant - "(Made) to order"
PM Surayud says to Gen. Sonthi: Brother… Send the bill to that table. They are going on a huge rampage.
On the sword it reads: Chairperson of Reputation Protection
By the exaggerated nose of one of the characters at the far table, it is clear the person is People Power Party leader Samak who is known for his aggressive and public political attacks. The cartoon probably means that Samak's boldness provides an opportunity for the government to "deal with" Samak in some way to neutralize him.

New election rules - October 25, 2007
Interesting ramification of the new EC rules: CANCELLATION OF TODAY'S SPECIAL BCCT LUNCHEON * * * DUE TO NEW ELECTION COMISSION RULES * * * KHUN ABHISIT VEJJAJIVA, Leader of the Democrat Party personally telephoned the BCCT office this morning. His office has been informed by an Election Commissioner, via a journalist, that it is now illegal for him to speak at today's BCCT lunch. Khun Abhisit and the BCCT apologise to all those that had booked to attend for any inconvenience caused...

The "Central chain" - At Ban Bangkae, Manager, October 23, 2007
At left, Chawolit, dressed as a clown, thinks: This gang comes strong… they are more funny than I am.
Chawolit carries a tray that reads: Central chain - 1 baht each
Left to right: Sanoh, Prachai, Korn Tapparangsri, and Somsak (?)
This is a scene that references a typical comedic variety show. The cartoon shows Chawolit as a clown (or joker) as his boast that he will be a "central chain" to apparently merge with other political factions has come to naught. Other political performers are stealing the limelight and leaving Chawolit in the shadows.

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Political party billboard - October 12, 2007
It reads: "For the land - For the happiness of the Thai people" Motherland party [and in the smallest type] Strengthen the nation, maintain religion and respect the royal throne for the Kingdom

(Photo: Bangkok Post)

"This hall is just too big" - Bangkok Post, October 19, 2007
Left: Peua Pandin leader Suvit Khunkitti speaks to an almost empty hall at the party's first assembly yesterday at Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi. Supporters paid by canvassers to attend left straight after having lunch--without waiting for the party leader's address.

Holding the election hostage - Na Ban Bangkae, Poojadkuan, October 8, 2007
Prasong holds a gun to PM Surayud's head and Surayud holds a gun on a ballot box. Surayud says: If my brothers and sisters let this guy kill me, this box [Election box, December 23] will die with me... Will you let him do that?

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