From Manager, July 14, 2019
Left: The election has already been conducted… Then, what information do you have to indicate that Thailand is not democratic?
Right: I’m not the PM.
[Refers to the Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn and party spokesperson Pannika who visited EU countries to lobby for support for legal and political battles they are facing back in Thailand.
This cartoon reflects a traditional Thai view of democracy–that democracy is elections. This means that once elections take place democracy is achieved and there is no room for complaint anymore no matter what the behavior of the government afterwards.
The cartoonist thus jokes that Thailand, by completing an election, has achieved democracy so Thanathorn’s complaints to Western nations only reflects ego.
The cartoon also perhaps the betrays fears of the Thai establishment of the inevitability of a Thanathorn rise to power. He achieved a stunning victory, if only that many of his party’s winning MPs were political novices–not longstanding political bosses that normally hold posts while switching parties from time to time.
Westerners still laud Thaksin for displaying some sort of organic popularity due to his elections wins. However, his majority was gained by merely buying out existing parties and being supported by the same rural kingpins who would always be in power one way or another.
Thanathorn’s party seems to have displayed a new kind of truly organic success and represents a wildcard to the otherwise triumphant junta that has managed to live on in a new government.]