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Democrat leader sees change in political atmosphere


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Democrat leader sees change in political atmosphere
By The Nation

 

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Nation Multimedia Group’s digital journalist Suthichai Yoon, left, interviews Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva in a recent Facebook Live broadcast.

 

BANGKOK: -- Almost three years after the 2014 coup, Thailand’s constitution was finally promulgated last week. While the charter spells out a timeframe for legislation to pave the way for elections, the exact date of the poll has not been decided by the ruling junta government.

 

The Nation Multimedia Group’s digital journalist Suthichai Yoon recently talked with Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva in a Facebook Live interview about political uncertainties and his party’s plans.

 

As the charter is now in effect and the [political] road map is now proceeding, do you and Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha have the same version of the road map?

 

To me, the National Council for Peace and Order’s (NCPO) roadmap was relatively flexible, given that the 2014 interim charter went through some amendments. While Prayut always says that the road map has always remained the same, the timeline has occasionally shifted. The first shift was when the first charter draft was rejected in 2015, and the second time was when the NCPO wanted to hold a referendum to approve the charter.

 

The implementation of the charter can ensure certainty to some extent. But still, the charter may be amended. Even if not, the timeframe is still unspecified. For instance, while the charter says that the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) must forward 10 essential organic laws within 240 days to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), the drafters, in fact, can do so faster than that. 

 

For instance, two organic law drafts on political parties and the Election Commission (EC) will be forwarded to the NLA on April 18, to be followed by another drafts on the Upper House and Lower House. Once the four laws are enacted, elections must be held within 150 days.

 

There are concerns that the charter seems to skip some likely scenarios, such as what happens if the NLA rejects those organic law drafts.

 

That’s one of related procedures this charter doesn’t talk about. The CDC itself, however, is quite clear on the timeline on drafting organic laws. The CDC chairman Meechai Ruchupan said that to get elections started, political parties and the EC should be ready. He also said that those two need time to adjust to the new laws.

 

From your point of view, how much could the road map be delayed at most?

 

Nobody knows. But I believe that the government wants everything to go smoothly. The charter’s implementation, for instance, renders the Thai political landscape more clear to foreign eyes. Some Western countries may have restricted relations with Thailand since the coup. However, at the end of the day, their geopolitics and trade ties with us can’t be cut. Another concern is when the parties will be allowed to move. I think that once the organic law on political parties is in place, we are obliged to hold a meeting. How could the NCPO ban us then? To me, nobody wants to take to the public stage and make loud speeches now. No one wants to break public sentiment during the mourning to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. 

 

There is also speculation on how the next elected government will look. Many feel it could be a coalition government that would allow military power to stay in one way or another.

 

Everything is possible. We are convinced by the charter’s stipulations that a single party could hardly gain a parliamentary majority. There could consequently be negotiations that lead to the selection of the PM. The atmosphere will change once the country enters election mode and we have to closely watch movements of each party then.

 

But I look further beyond the election date. I focus on how the country’s problems can be solved, especially in regards to disappearing economic growth and equality. This government can sustain the economy for now but I don’t expect them to free the country from economic struggles.

 

The current government is trying to sort out equality via reforms but, so far, we don’t see any tangible outcomes.

 

The National Reform Steering Assembly does have reform ideas but they might contrast with what society thinks. Their thoughts on local administration are opposite to what reforms ought to be, while the government’s moves on education are criticised for being outdated. This stems from the public’s feelings that the government does not provides them with answers.

 

How would the Democrat Party propose to solve those problems?

 

Frankly speaking, people focus on how their children will be able to use English rather than on structural things. Our “English for All” project is one tangible policy. 

 

Another is the economy and the well-being of people, for example, how we could increase the bargaining power of farmers. I believe populism isn’t the only solution to that.

 

We may have weak spots regarding political strongholds. However, after the absence of political clashes, I have had some talks with the local residents in the North and Northeast. I expect more understanding could make them confident in us.

 

What about foreign policy? Do you think that political parties should do more? My observation says that Thai people are really keen on foreign affairs in this social media era.

 

Yes, there is a saying that “all politics is local”. Foreign policies, while progressing continually, should be noted by all parties. They must be able to address Thailand’s stance and strategy in the global arena. 

 

This could be one agenda on party debates and a handy application like Facebook Live can make it all more accessible.

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30312247

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2017-04-14
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Is this wet blanket wannabe, Abhisit, still relevant....it's him and these types of people that need to step aside, and it's really no wonder that without desperately needed new and intelligent blood, (a decidedly rare commodity), coming into politics, Thailand will remain a pretty hopeless pit of ineptness.

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1 hour ago, jesimps said:

Now let's have an interview with the red side of the spectrum to balance things up, or is that not allowed? Rhetorical question.

Highly unlikely. Also most posters on here seem to dislike the Red Shirt or their party. 

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2 hours ago, ChrisY1 said:

Is this wet blanket wannabe, Abhisit, still relevant....it's him and these types of people that need to step aside, and it's really no wonder that without desperately needed new and intelligent blood, (a decidedly rare commodity), coming into politics, Thailand will remain a pretty hopeless pit of ineptness.

I have this idea Mr Abhisit is a whole lot more intelligent as you think he is.

 

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13 minutes ago, hansnl said:

I have this idea Mr Abhisit is a whole lot more intelligent as you think he is.

 

I think Abhisit and Korn are the best politicians that there are far more honest than the rest. There is none on the red side that comes even close (YL is a pretty face but no brain at all just a puppet). I can't think of any good PTP politicians, granted I can't say much about the rest of the democrats and I am happy that suthep is gone. But on the red side, don''t see any MP that stands out.. we got the Plopsodrop.. with his boats and Charlem with his ear medicine and threats to the protesters, Surapong with his passports and golem impression. 

 

But ChrisY1 made a good comment new and intelligent blood is needed.. but I doubt they will be allowed to come because of the vested interests.

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3 hours ago, ChrisY1 said:

Is this wet blanket wannabe, Abhisit, still relevant....it's him and these types of people that need to step aside, and it's really no wonder that without desperately needed new and intelligent blood, (a decidedly rare commodity), coming into politics, Thailand will remain a pretty hopeless pit of ineptness.

I don't agree. Abhisit was/is one of the few politicians to think outside of the Thai 'box' - which is a strait-jacket imposed by the Thais' cultural norms. I have often argued that what we see in Thailand is a nation of free spirits: whatever laws are enacted, are ignored; corruption is endemic and unlikely to change; education does not educate but reinforces the cultural norms (especially the hierarchical nature of the teacher/pupil relationship). One of the reasons that I like Abhisit is that he knows the world and he has experienced democracy at work in the UK. He fully understands that his hands are tied - he opposed corruption within his own ranks but was left unable to do much about it. For those who continue their sloganeering "Bring back Democracy" they miss one essential point: There has never been democracy in Thailand. Democracy can only exist within the context of the rule of law and we all know how sadly lacking that is here. The education system, where kids are taught not to question, means that this attitude is carried on throughout the average working life. You don't question your boss however ridiculous his suggestions and this applies throughout society which is why you get these strange and unworkable directives here. The constitution does emphasize ending corruption and establishing the rule of law, but I can't see that happening. So Thailand will stumble from one crisis to the next - whoever the leader and whatever the party. It won't change until the education system and the system of family hierarchy changes. And I can't see that happening in a long while.

Edited by ianf
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6 minutes ago, ianf said:

I don't agree. Abhisit was/is one of the few politicians to think outside of the Thai 'box' - which is a strait-jacket imposed by the Thais' cultural norms. I have often argued that what we see in Thailand is a nation of free spirits: whatever laws are enacted, are ignored; corruption is endemic and unlikely to change; education does not educate but reinforces the cultural norms (especially the hierarchical nature of the teacher/pupil relationship). One of the reasons that I like Abhisit is that he knows the world and he has experienced democracy at work in the UK. He fully understands that his hands are tied - he opposed corruption within his own ranks but was left unable to do much about it. For those who continue their sloganeering "Bring back Democracy" they miss one essential point: There has never been democracy in Thailand. Democracy can only exist within the context of the rule of law and we all know how sadly lacking that is here. The education system, where kids are taught not to question, means that this attitude is carried on throughout the average working life. You don't question your boss however ridiculous his suggestions and this applies throughout society which is why you cant these strange and unworkable directives here. The constitution does emphasize ending corruption and establishing the rule of law, but I can't see that happening. So Thailand will stumble from one crisis to the next - whoever the leader and whatever the party. It won't change until the education system and the system of family hierarchy changes. And I can't see that happening in a long while.

 

 "...Bring back Democracy" they miss one essential point: There has never been democracy in Thailand. Democracy can only exist within the context of the rule of law and we all know how sadly lacking that is here. ..."

 

Well said, and just look back one government and see a perfect example of this point.

Edited by scorecard
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Abhisit is a contemporary of Cameron and Boris at Eton, though not part of their "group". He is fighting a tough battle to live up to his party name. He has always struck me as being a thoughtful, decent and honest man. His ineffectiveness is more about Thailand's political environment as a whole rather than any personal failings. Infact, by shunning the dirtier aspects of Thai politics he has probably failed to develop enough political allies and garner enough votes at election time.

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4 hours ago, ChrisY1 said:

Is this wet blanket wannabe, Abhisit, still relevant....it's him and these types of people that need to step aside, and it's really no wonder that without desperately needed new and intelligent blood, (a decidedly rare commodity), coming into politics, Thailand will remain a pretty hopeless pit of ineptness.

 

How does that work? Because he doesn't get into open massive corruption, because he doesn't intimidate the press and others, because he doesn't own a 'yes sir political party' and a thug gang, he's therefore a wet blanket?

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2 minutes ago, scorecard said:

 

How does that work? Because he doesn't get into open massive corruption, because he doesn't intimidate the press and others, because he doesn't own a 'yes sir political party' and a thug gang, he's therefore a wet blanket?

He's hardly what could be called a dynamic leader....great education and not a fool.......

He's never won or been close to winning an election for the DP.

His time as PM was as a stooge of the elite, and during his tenure, was almost pretty much useless in getting any issues passed through the house.....he was impotent almost in his role...then came an election and he faded once again into insignificance remaining the DP leader....but granted, they had no other candidate suitable....and likely still don't.

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11 minutes ago, scorecard said:

 

How does that work? Because he doesn't get into open massive corruption, because he doesn't intimidate the press and others, because he doesn't own a 'yes sir political party' and a thug gang, he's therefore a wet blanket?

  I think you will find that he left those aspects to his deputy, Mr. Suthep.

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14 minutes ago, ChrisY1 said:

He's hardly what could be called a dynamic leader....great education and not a fool.......

He's never won or been close to winning an election for the DP.

His time as PM was as a stooge of the elite, and during his tenure, was almost pretty much useless in getting any issues passed through the house.....he was impotent almost in his role...then came an election and he faded once again into insignificance remaining the DP leader....but granted, they had no other candidate suitable....and likely still don't.

It is incorrect to say that he "is a stooge of the elite". Shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the political situation here. But if you make statements like this, please produce your reasoning.

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3 hours ago, Godang said:

Highly unlikely. Also most posters on here seem to dislike the Red Shirt or their party. 

I believe you're right. But I also think that most posters dislike the junta even more.

But that of course is no argument for not allowing the opposition to speak up.

But as we all know how the junta feels about critizism it is, as you say, highly unlikely they will let anyone except the pliant ones speak up .

Edited by Becker
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9 hours ago, webfact said:

He also said that those two need time to adjust to the new laws.

You also need time to hit the hustings with all the great and wonderful promises to the people to buy their vote. After the election its like the song goes "So Long Its Been Good To Know You"

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1 hour ago, ianf said:

It is incorrect to say that he "is a stooge of the elite". Shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the political situation here. But if you make statements like this, please produce your reasoning.

My wife's mother's witch doctor confirms this sooo its true. Does a gut feeling count. There I have produced my reasoning can I have my sucker now. 

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3 hours ago, Godang said:

Yes he is intelligent, educated in England I think Eton and a top uni.

So what?

Dictator Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is the most educated African leader with seven university degrees besides 14 honorary degrees from both local and international universities. But he is the third worst leader in the African continent.

http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-zimbabwe-president-robert-mugabe-3rd-worst-african-dictator-but-most-educated-study/

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Abhisit's interview is just so much trash talking, political double speak.

But overall he seems cautiously comfortable with the junta's performance and direction (whatever it be!).

9 hours ago, webfact said:

The implementation of the charter can ensure certainty to some extent.

"Some extent" limited by Article 44 and an unelected government - massive understatement.

10 hours ago, webfact said:

Many feel it could be a coalition government that would allow military power to stay in one way or another.

Everything is possible.

Not a problem for Abhisit. But I'm sure he'd like to be at least the military's figurehead PM.

10 hours ago, webfact said:

This stems from the public’s feelings that the government does not provides them with answers.

Maybe the answer is because none of the military government was elected as representatives of The Thai People.

10 hours ago, webfact said:

I have had some talks with the local residents in the North and Northeast. I expect more understanding could make them confident in us.

Because of my pro-military support, my party is immune from illegal politicking and recruitment.

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18 hours ago, robblok said:

Do explain Yingluck then.. .. or oh she is a puppet.. they have no use of a brain.

She is also not stupid, although to marginalize her, people pretend that she is. It could also nominally be related to her being female - you might recall she was subjected to some rather crude insinuations. 

 

No, it is just an observation, in general, that Mark has been allowed to talk, rather docilely, and he keeps coming up for comment - rather periodically at least. And that is OK for the junta because it gives them a chance to pretend that there is still some kind of normal political situation and that we are not all living under a government that was foisted upon us by force.  

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20 hours ago, hansnl said:

I have this idea Mr Abhisit is a whole lot more intelligent as you think he is.

 

Who are you talking about not the guy who had it (by family money) at the top Eaton and Cambridge just to show he is a ????????????? Bum sorry m

 

The UK hates people who are like this. just like diving with SHARKS

Edited by wakeupplease
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2 hours ago, tbthailand said:

She is also not stupid, although to marginalize her, people pretend that she is. It could also nominally be related to her being female - you might recall she was subjected to some rather crude insinuations. 

 

No, it is just an observation, in general, that Mark has been allowed to talk, rather docilely, and he keeps coming up for comment - rather periodically at least. And that is OK for the junta because it gives them a chance to pretend that there is still some kind of normal political situation and that we are not all living under a government that was foisted upon us by force.  

Not stupid, maybe not but she is supposed to have a university degree from an US university. But with her English its highly unlikely that it was acquired the regular normal way. Also.. never attended one of the rice program meetings while she was the chairwoman .. if that is not stupid.. then its dereliction of duty exactly what they are prosecuting her for.  She might not be stupid.. don't know her personally but it certainly appears that way. Mark on the other hand...  did a real university higher that 99% of us. 

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