Updated: “It is completely rigged”

20 12 2018

There’s been a lot of commentary on the junta’s “election.”

Reuters has an interesting commentary on the junta’s election. It begins with a rather weak claim that “many hope the vote will return Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy to democracy.” The rest of the story appears to demolish the idea that there is any reason for hope.

It notes that “critics say the junta has taken several steps to remain in power after the vote, casting doubt on how credible the poll will be.”

The usually conservative commentator Thitinan Pongsudhirak, not often seen as an overly critical observer states:

We have seen a systematic manipulation and distortion of the electoral process, of the will of the people, starting from the constitution…. The reason this (election) has a crooked feel more than others is because it pretends to be democratic, clean and fair when it is completely rigged….

He’s right.

Other critics add that the “regime has tried to influence everything from electoral boundaries in favor of pro-junta parties and hand-picking the entire upper house of parliament, down to plans to re-design ballot papers to remove party names and symbols attached to candidates – which will be likely to confuse voters.” [It seems the junta may have backed down on the latter.]

Reuters is clear about Palang Pracharath: “Prime Minister [Gen] Prayuth Chan-ocha has made his long-term political ambitions clear, even going so far as to set up a party with four cabinet ministers, the Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP).”

Khaosod reports that the junta is getting worried about Reuter-like observations that show the “election” is meant to be a sham. There’s a bit of backwards and forwarding on “observers, although the Deputy Dictator, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan seems to have knocked that notion back again. He prefers to emphasize that the military and police will monitor “security” for the election. Will they also engage in electoral fraud for the junta?

Veteran election observer Pongsak Chanon ridiculed Foreign Minister and junta slitherer Don Pramudwinai and his “suggestion” that “foreign diplomats and embassy staff” can “monitor” the election. Pongsak pointed out the obvious: they can’t; they aren’t trained; and its not their job.

Worried about its election being seen as a fraud, the Election Commission is reported at Khaosod as being permitted to “kill … a proposal to strip them [ballots] of party logos and names following widespread opposition and ridicule.” The notion that the EC is “independent” was done damage in even “making” this “decision.” An official said the EC “voted unanimously to drop the plan…”. Makes no sense, really. It was the EC that claimed the “idea” as theirs. Now every single one of them dumps their bright idea. How on earth can anyone believe anything from this bunch of dolts.

Meanwhile, as the National News Bureau reports the junta’s Pracharath schemes for farmers continue to expand. Pracharat = Palang Pracharath = using the state’s agencies to rig the election.

Update: The EC continues to struggle under the junta’s yoke. One reader suggests that there is a struggle going on, with the EC president Ittiporn Boonpracong trying to have his agency be allowed to do something of its job without the continual interference by the junta. We have no idea. All we see is a junta that is lame, cowed and dutiful and which operates with zero transparency. The most recent kerfuffle is the ongoing election observer stuff. Now Ittiporn says, ” international observers were welcome to monitor the upcoming election, provided they follow procedures and respect the law.” He says “that this practice has been common since 2003, when the EC allowed foreigners to observe the voting.” We are not at all sure which election was observed in 2003…. There was one in 2001 and another in 2004. Maybe the conversion from Thai dates to Western dates has stumped the EC or reporters. Better hope they can count accurately when the election comes around. Anyway, Prawit would seem to be the boss in this, and he says the junta can do without international observers.


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