Giles Ji Ungpakorn
Finally we can see the end result of the March 2019 Thai election. As predicted, the junta and its servants have fixed it so that Generalissimo Prayut can continue to be Prime Minister, extending the life of the military junta under a veneer of “democracy”. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this is a system of “Guided Democracy under the Junta’s Jackboots”.
Generalissimo Prayut has taken a lesson from the brutal General Sisi of Egypt. He can now pretend to have been a “democratically elected Prime Minister”, despite the fact that he is not even an elected member of parliament.
Most of us could see this coming for years before the actual election was held.
Prayut’s first act was to stage a military coup, overthrowing a democratically elected government in 2014. Before and after the coup, Prayut’s team brutally suppressed opposition to his regime. The junta then set about designing their “Guided Democracy” system by drawing up the military Constitution, the 20 year National Strategy and the warped election rules. As the election approached, the junta used the Constitutional Court to dissolve one of Taksin’s parties. The junta appointed all 250 of its people to the Senate. It then delayed the count after the election. This allowed the Electoral Commission to take seats from the Future Forward Party and give them to a number of small parties which had won miniscule numbers of votes. This helped to reduce the number of anti-junta seats.
On 5th May, the entire senate obediently raised their hands for Prayut and together with pro-junta parties he was able to claim the post of Prime Minister. He had previously changed the rules so that an unelected figure could become Prime Minister and the Senate and Lower House would sit together to elect the Prime Minister.
This is despite the fact that anti-junta parties had won more popular votes and constituency parliamentary seats than the pro-junta parties. Generalissimo Prayut lost the election, but is now claiming to be a democratically elected leader. No doubt Western governments will use this fig-leaf to restore full and friendly relations with the Thai government and sell it more arms.
Needless to say, the idiotic and nasty King Wachiralongkorn had nothing to do with any of the plans for Guided Democracy or the outcome of this election. To claim that the King is behind all this is to divert attention from the real gangsters in the military. [See https://bit.ly/2EOjsNL ].
Democrat Party prostitutes itself to enter the government
As usual, the mis-named Democrat Party prostituted itself to enter the junta’s government. The party has never won an election and even lied to the electorate before this election that it would not support Prayut, but eventually it showed its true colours and got into bed with the bloody dictatorship. This is the second time that the party has loved up to the military. In 2010, it was part of a military installed regime that shot down a hundred pro-democracy demonstrators in cold blood.
Future Forward and Pua Thai Parties obsessed with playing by the rules
The leadership of the Future Forward and Pua Thai Parties remain obsessed with playing by the junta’s rules. Before the election they promised that merely voting in the junta’s election would result in the end of military rule and an end to the military’s Constitution. When they felt they had been treated unfairly they only resorted to the junta’s kangaroo courts. This strategy has reached a dead-end.
The leadership of the Future Forward and Pua Thai Parties threw away the golden opportunity to use the legitimacy of winning the popular vote to organise a broad-based social movement against the dictatorship. Even now they are refusing to consider building such a movement.
Lessons from Thailand and all over the world show that entrenched dictatorial regimes can only be overthrown by mass movements outside parliament. [See https://bit.ly/2aDzest ]. It will be up to grass-roots activists to build such a movement, independent from the politicians of mainstream parties. This is what I am advocating in my Thai language blog “Turn Left Thailand”.
Flawed Thai elections. https://bit.ly/2RIIvrD
The Thai Junta’s Road Map to “Guided Democracy”. https://bit.ly/2QMrGf9
Thai Politics after the 2019 Election. https://bit.ly/2UsA30a