Trying to fix an election, part II

12 02 2011

Jailing opponents, engaging in massive censorship, killing protesters, being backed by the military, judiciary and palace (that banned hundreds of politicians who would oppose the royalists), and getting an already rigged constitution fixed again seems not enough for the Abhisit Vejjajiva-led government as it sets about trying to “prove” its legitimacy by way of the ballot box.

The Bangkok Post reports that the government has decided to “extend the subsidy on diesel until April to keep pump prices below 30 baht a litre, amid criticism from businesses that the move had no purpose other than increasing its popularity with voters.” That’s estimated to be at a cost to taxpayers of  13 billion baht.

Throw that not insubstantial sum in with all of the government’s other schemes such as the 9-10 billion on Pracha Wiwat giveaways that are also meant to increase popularity through throwing money at voters and the taxpayer is being saddled with a hefty bill for the Democrat Party’s need to appear legitimate.

Dr Somsak Vivatpanachart of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said: “It’s an obvious effort by the government that aims at political gains…”. Usually the Chamber is a big supporter of this government. Somsak added that “squandering the Oil Fund was tantamount to taking public money to promote waste and prodigality.”

Together with the cost of keeping this coalition together for another election and for seeking defections from the post-Thaksin Shinawatra parties, all of this spending means that we are probably looking at the most expensive election in Thailand’s history.



3 responses

18 02 2011
Trying to fix an election, part III | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] have previously posted on how jailing opponents, engaging in massive censorship, killing protesters, being backed by the […]

3 03 2011
Wishing away murder, election fixing and policy corruption | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] again, but we urge readers to look again at our posts on “fixing the election,” here, here and here. These actions, ranging from huge budget handouts to salary increases for officials and […]

6 03 2011
Kasit at the U.N. Human Rights Council | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] seek to fix an election. Kasit might have also have trumpeted the current regimes huge efforts to pour funds into the electorate – at least this might have some impact on short-term income inequality – but he […]

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