The rigged election and the coup

23 10 2018

Atiya Achakulwisut at the Bangkok Post asks the obvious question: “What is the point of holding a general election when a military coup is lurking just around the corner?”

Army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong making headlines by “saying another coup is possible if political unrest returns” is topic of the week, as the junta expected and wanted.

Atiya says Gen Apirat’s threat “has dimmed the light of a return to democracy after four years under military rule but because it suggested that authoritarianism will always be the answer for Thai society.”

We get the point, but anyone who reads anything about Thailand’s politics knows that the military has long been the enemy of electoral democracy.

Gen Apirat’s statement is only a little more threatening than Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s exhortation just prior to the 2011 election for voters to reject Yingluck Shinawatra and the Puea Thai Party. The implication of his “advice” to voters was that if they didn’t elect the other side, then expect the military to eventually intervene. And so he did via the creation of the anti-democrat movement.

Atiya suggests that the “new army chief made the coup threat public to send a message to politicians not to stray so far as to instigate violence ahead of the poll.” That’s wrong. His threat is to voters, just as Prayuth’s threat was to voters.

When Atiya says that “hopes are still high that the next election will be free and fair and the results will be accepted by all sides,” she’s grasping at straws and misreading what the junta means the “election” to be.

She’s right on a lot more about the nature of the military dictatorship. What matters for the junta is keeping political power in the hands of the anti-democrats, whether by rigged election or military coup.


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24 01 2019
On making a silk purse | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] The Post’s final word is also worrying. It declares that a return to “normalcy” will be achieved if “all stakeholders agree to give democracy a chance and are willing to do their best to ensure the election is fair, the goal is within reach.” That is all but impossible. And, it says nothing of post-election rigging of the rules and the coup threats made by the current military boss. […]

24 01 2019
On making a silk purse | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] The Post’s final word is also worrying. It declares that a return to “normalcy” will be achieved if “all stakeholders agree to give democracy a chance and are willing to do their best to ensure the election is fair, the goal is within reach.” That is all but impossible. And, it says nothing of post-election rigging of the rules and the coup threats made by the current military boss. […]




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