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> Thailand election results
Paul
post Dec 23 2007, 09:12 AM
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Looks like PPP has won a majority in the election and will be able to form government without any other party.

PPP is the party that is representing Mr Thaksin, the corrupt businessman who was ousted as Prime Minister by the coup last year.

Surprising result - not sure what to make of it or what will happen now. One of my initial thoughts was that there was a lot of vote buying and from most reports it was the PPP who was spending up biggest to buy the votes. So that may mean that the election in many eyes is seen as unfair and the results invalid. Thailand will remain divided??? But at the same time, obviously a large majority of people were happy to sell their votes to the PPP, and so this is what Thailand has asked for.

We shall see.
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thellie
post Dec 23 2007, 11:24 AM
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i asked my girlfriend how she voted, and fairly predictably, it was for the PPP. she's a taksin supporter so was almost certainly going to vote this way.

whenever politicians come onto the tv, she'll be found swearing away in her northern thai dialect, with the occasional english 'corrupt, corrupt' thrown in for good measure. not that she's naive enough to think that taksin, and now his stooges in the PPP, are not corrupt. her argument is that although taksin was corrupt as all the others, he at least did something for the poor t'up north.

whether this is true or just a perception of the truth, is academic. it is a widely held belief, which is why the PPP have gained as many seats as they have.

there are definitely interesting days ahead - things would possibly be more clearcut if the PPP had stormed the election, but with 13 seats less than necessary for an overall majority the military may well feel they have to keep their powder dry. for now at least.
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Paul
post Dec 24 2007, 12:36 AM
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Hmmm???

Yeah, the results this morning were 228 to PPP, not quite enough to have more than half of the 480 seats. But two of the smaller parties will join with them to form a coalition govt. Not with a large majority though - so parliament will be a bit unstable and perhaps likely won't last a full term - maybe???

For sure PPP has a large support base due to the popularity of Thaksin and the TRT policies that saw some money being handed out to the people that normally receive nothing from politicians.

Added to that PPP used many celebrities and well known and popular people in many constituencies. Kanchana suggests (and she was a former TRT/Thaksin was sitti supporter) that many people weren't really voting for PPP or a return of Thaksin - they simply choose the most popular person on offer. So we'll have movie stars sitting in parliament presumably acting as puppets for others. And then PPP spent up big. Thaksin (who is of Chinese ethnicity) was sitting in Hong Kong for the election - reportedly huge sums of money were coming in from Hong Kong during the election campaign and there was wide spread reports of vote buying- from all parties but mainly for PPP from what I understand.

To be fair to the PPP and its support also - it should be mentioned that the Army without doubt worked to make things harder for PPP.

Anyway - so now we shall probably have a PPP government - there will be some cases of election fraud investigated and maybe some by elections will be called, which will drag on the uncertainty for a bit longer as the results could be enough to swing the govt to the Democrats and their coalition partners - but more likely it will be PPP.

More to come...
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Paul
post Dec 24 2007, 01:12 AM
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So what happens next???

Well for most of you who are tourists - nothing - it is just business as usual. So don't worry.

Will there be another coup? I doubt it in the short term. There were massive protests and division in Thai society leading up to the last coup and then an election in which the other parties didn't participate. The Army was largely welcomed during that coup as the way to cease the division and protests. Many people were also quite annoyed at Thaksin's tax free sale of his telecommunications business to Singapore - which is now largely forgotten. Those issues currently don't exist. The Army has set up a constitution and held an election at a date it choose. They would find it hard to think up an excuse for a coup right now and they would not be popularly supported.

If Thaksin comes back he should have to face court hearings regarding his alleged corruption. Will he? Will the court case be free and fair? Are they ever? We shall have to see.

Clearly the new government and the Army aren't going to be the best of friends. But in the short term there is little either of them can do about that. The Army has approved a huge budget and new equipment and has set some new rules in place to stop a government promoting its supporters. So they'll just have to work together.

In the South where Thaksin isn't popular and there is an insurgency occurring, I imagine the Army will run the counter insurgency the way it chooses with as little interference from the government as possible. But bearing in mind that the government will need to approve some things and some budgets. Largely keeping the new PPP govt away from the Southern problems is a good idea and the Thai army is quite capable of handling the situation wisely if it so chooses to put its energy into that instead of playing politics.

Thaksin has supporters in the police force and I imagine that we'll see a rise in power of the police and a larger budget going to them. Not in order to stop crime - in order to secure the PPP govt.

Protests???? Will there be protests against this new govt??? I think very minor ones at first. Whether or not they grow into something bigger will depend on the actions of the govt and who they choose to annoy or suck up to.

Anyway, largely we'll see a govt that now will suck up to its overseas backers - more of Thailand will be sold off to foreign investors, big business will do well, the rich will become richer, the poor will get a little bit, but will be comparatively left behind, the environment will suffer, the culture will suffer....etc. But whoever got into govt, these same results were going to happen, perhaps just to different degrees.
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Paul
post Jan 29 2008, 09:52 AM
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The new Prime Minister was elected yesterday. It is Samak Sundaravej. I unfortunately at the moment have nothing good to say about this man. He is Mr Thaksin's lackey. He was known in the past for his broadcasting against pro democracy protesters and then his show of support for the massacre of them. Now when he is interviewed he speaks rudely and arrogantly and simply refuses to answer questions on topics he doesn't like. I think he still has some corruption charges or some other legal matters pending against him.

Hang on - we're in for a bumpy ride.
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