CRES, Abhisit, You, Me and Democracy
Andrew Spooner just wrote a piece on Asian Corespondent on this situation.
Abhisit's conundrum - how to appear democratic AND stay in power
Way back in July, I wrote a guest post while Bangkok Pundit was on sabbatical entitled Thailand: CRES has decided, again
At that time I wanted to draw attention to the fact that CRES had, for the most part, replaced the civilian government that according to the Constitution, pick any version, is in fact their employer.
The situation appears to have worsened since them and it's important that we seriously all look at the repercussions of the situation, not just on Thailand, but on everyone in the country.
I feel very uneasy having an appointed military dominated council, CRES, decreeing the rules we all have to live by, not only to me but the Prime Minister. I don't like it that much when a government in Parliament passes a law I'm not crazy about but at least it's gone through the democratic process and I can live with that.
As I see it, the problem is self replicating. In that I mean, the military gained control through the old army chief who was wishy washy at best. Then they appointed someone in the reshuffle that appears to be somewhat of a megalomaniac, or at least fanatical. My feeling is that this was a ringer pushed upon the PM as the military knew he wouldn't have the backbone to stand up to the reshuffle list. In fact Abhisit is not PM material, he's proving that by not tasking a firm stand on anything in a year.
What happens next? That's one tough question. If there is an election it's almost ensured that the PTP will win the most seats and have the highest percentage of the popular vote. The military won't like that outcome because the only platform the PTP has announced is they WILL bring back the '97 constitution. Personally I favor that, just for the record. What that also means is that the immunity the Generals of the last coup gave themselves will fly out the window. Three things can happen in my view. The military could overthrow yet another elected government making Thailand a Burmaesque country and draw the wrath of the rest of the world. The PTP could clean house fire the generals and charge the former coup makers with the overthrow of the government, very popular worldwide lately. Or the PTP and the Military could form an agreement where both sides back off a bit, this would be the best alternative.
My feeling is a lot of what will happen will hinge on the By-elections that are coming up shortly. If the PTP cleans up it will send a very strong message to everyone that the present government is looked at as illegitimate and we will see MPs from smaller parties moving in the direction of the PTP. If it's split PTP and BJT then there will be talks between then shortly (in secret) about forming the next government. And if by some chance the Democrats manage a win in Khon Kaen well everything is up for grabs; but, if they lose there and if their big gun in Bangkok just happens to get knocked off or even if the race is very close it won't auger well for the Democrats in early 2011.
I've even hears some scuttlebutt, some time ago from a source, that a high profile Democrat has been approached by PTP to lead the PTP party but the timing was not right. Anything can happen over the next few months, anything.