No elections for the “sensible”

6 05 2014

The anti-democrats are crowding out Suthep Thaugsuban. Abhisit Vejjajiva came up with a 9-point plan which essentially wanted “reform” before an election and an appointed premier – yep, the standard anti-democrat demands.

Abhisit’s proposals were not received all that well for their obvious lack of originality and lack of even a nod in the direction of democracy.

So another senior member of the Democrat Party has proposed an allegedly sensible reform plan in the Bangkok Post yesterday. Surin Pitsuwan swans about with a handful of monikers: former secretary-general of ASEAN, professor emeritus at Thammasat University, visiting professor at GRIPS in Tokyo, adjunct professor at the University of Malaya and the Tun Abdul Razak Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, and a distinguished fellow at the royalist King Prachathipok’s Institute.

Despite all of this attributed greatness, he begins with a bit of disingenuous whining:

For the past seven years, since the coup of 2006, Thailand has seen governments come and go with increasing frequency and the divisiveness in the country has deteriorated to the point of political paralysis.

Well, perhaps, but that frequency owes much to actions of his fellow anti-democrats. So does the “political paralysis.” If his lot followed the political rules, the popular vote and got over their elitist political laziness, perhaps there would be political development rather than paralysis.

Apart from this whining, Surin comes up with a 7-point reform plan. He claims that the “seven steps are being carefully considered within the prevailing political situation and existing constitutional and democratic framework and the collective sense of urgency that the Thai people have been articulating.”

Well, the anti-democrats are the ones who are clamoring for “reform” before elections.

So what are his main points?  One is that “Thailand’s reform process must proceed within the existing constitutional framework, in its letter and spirit.” What does this mean for Surin? First, that any political situation not covered by the constitution, then the king is free to use Section 7. That’s what the People’s Alliance for Democracy claimed first time around and the king rejected it.

Second, Surin argues that the senate “can serve as a Pillar of Legitimacy, acting as parliament in the absence of the elected House of Representatives (Section 132), to any agreed reform and its necessary legislative action.” Is this correct? No. This is what the constitution states:

Section 132. During the expiration of the term or the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the Senate shall not hold its sitting except in the following cases:

(1) a sitting at which the Senate shall act as the National Assembly under section 19, section 21, section 22, section 23 and section 189, and the votes taken shall be based on the number of senators;

(2) a sitting at which the Senator shall consider of a person for holding office under the provision of this Constitution;

(3) a sitting at which the Senate shall consider and pass a resolution removing a person from office.

None of this applies to the situation Surin is on about; he’s making it up.

And, yes, he wants “reform” before elections and some kind of appointed, “national government.” If this sounds like Abhisit, then that’s because the essential points are the same anti-democratic nonsense.

This “reform” would be “paving a way for a New Politics that everybody expressly desires.” That term is the PAD call from several years ago and implies anti-democracy.

Thankfully, several commentators have rejected Surin/Abhisit. At the Bangkok Post, a “small group of scholars has warned” against this anti-democratic push.

They argue that “caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra should remain the leader, unless the Constitutional Court says otherwise, until the July 20 election is held and the results finalised.”

Kasian Tejapira, a political scientist at Thammasat University, “said all the proposals were basically the same, … [and are] a violation of the letters and spirit of the constitution and democratic principles.” He adds:

The two versions, be it Abhisit’s or Surin’s, are based on a PDRC mob-engineered political crisis and power vacuum as a result of their illegal obstruction of the [Feb 2] general election….

In the end, they are similarly positing the crisis, vacuum, and unconstitutional measures as a fait accompli and necessity, so as to ride roughshod over the people’s will that should be respected and complied with as expressed in a general election….

Kasian warned that there is a growing coalition amongst the so-called independent institutions to smash constitutional and legal politics. He stated:

One can’t suspend electoral democracy for the sake of reform, for the only way to make reform stick and endure is to involve the people in the process through peaceful legal means such as an election….

He’s right.

 


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7 05 2014
Another plan | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Almost a week ago PPT posted on chatter about a backroom deal being done to end the current political crisis and move beyond the impasse. We have also posted on Abhisit Vejjajiva’s “plan” and the very similar “plan” proposed by another Democrat Party premiership hopeful, Surin Pitsuwan. […]

14 07 2015
In campaign mode | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Surin Pitsuwan gets into the public spotlight it is a pretty good bet that he is in campaign mode. Last time he surfaced in domestic politics, he was campaigning for leadership in the (anti)Democrat Party and for prime minister, hoping that […]

14 07 2015
In campaign mode | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Surin Pitsuwan gets into the public spotlight it is a pretty good bet that he is in campaign mode. Last time he surfaced in domestic politics, he was campaigning for leadership in the (anti)Democrat Party and for prime minister, hoping that […]

4 09 2017
A sham democracy | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Perhaps the reason for Leterme’s democracy clanger has to do with his Board of Advisers, where the chair is none other than the (anti)Democrat Party’s Surin Pitsuwan, who joined campaigns to bring down elected governments. […]

4 09 2017
A sham democracy | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Perhaps the reason for Leterme’s democracy clanger has to do with his Board of Advisers, where the chair is none other than the (anti)Democrat Party’s Surin Pitsuwan, who joined campaigns to bring down elected governments. […]




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