Change Happens / Thailand

After street demonstrations by more than 5 million people in Bangkok during the past five months, it is encouraging to see more involvement of people from business communities, lawyers’ associations, and the academic institutions to make political change happens. Meeting, seminars and discussion groups were organised trying to find solutions to the present problem in the country without parliament or legitimate government. After closing down the Parliament,Yingluck has then become a caretaker prime minister. When millions of people asked her to resign, she made a public announcement that since she came into office via an election process, she was prepare to die in a “democracy” battle. Despite warnings from many quarters, her caretaker government insisted in holding a national election on February 2, 2014, which later was nullified by the Constitution Court.The anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) declared that they will not participate in any election until there is a political reform. At the nightly public rallies, the PDRC leaders insisted that Yingluck and other politicians who did not accept the decision of the Constitution Court must resign. Not only that, many of those who faced corruption charges but also that they do not have legitimacy to govern the country. They declared that Yingluck government is illegitimate. Getting rid of an illegitimate and corrupted government is key issue in this struggle to eliminate corruption and bring in change of the way the country is organised and run. This is the first time in Thailand that millions of people have become aware that corruption is ruining the country. They want to end corrupted practices of government officials and their crony capitalists, called “Thaksinomic”. Anti-government demonstrators want the National Anti-Corruption Commission to hurry-up the investigation of cases against key cabinet members and politicians whose verdict are still pending.They were concern about the deterioration of Thailand’s international image which ranked 102 out of 177 countries in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index. The ranking got worst two years after Yingluck took over the office as Prime Minister (from 88 down to 102). Medical societies and student action groups have set up mechanism to effectively monitor future corruption by politicians, owners of political parties together with corrupted corporate leaders and business people. To the students, reform before national election include a revised regulation of elections in a bid to create a “fair election”. The military leaders had announced at their meeting with representatives of the PDRC that they wanted to see the country quickly return to peace through negotiations by different factions as soon as possible. The military will be out in the street, not to make a coup d’tat, but to keep the people safe from violence and arms attack. Contrary to report by many of the Western media, the PDRC are not against election as such, but they want it to be organised under a neutral and legitimate government with a new reformed election law to prevent vote-buying possibilities. They want to see political parties give commitment to people’s interest and not to their own business interest. The conflict in Thailand will end only when political parties and politicians agree to political reforms to ensure free and fair election without corruption. Future quick election, without the reform, is not going to happen any time soon. Because millions of people don’t want them and they will come out to the street again to prevent a return of the cycle of corrupted regimes. As citizens, they have a right, guaranteed by the Constitution, to get rid of corrupted government that does not respect the rule of law and the verdict of the judges of the Constitution Court.

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