In the past, even up until now, most Thais do not trust the electoral process. They even look down upon it. They believe that the electoral process can be easily exploited by vote buying through the patronage system. They view the democracy as nothing more than money politics.
But the outside world looking into Thailand narrowly focuses on the electoral process as the barometer. Increasingly, electoral process has come to represent the cornerstone of democracy, even though democracy, to function appropriately, needs a good system of check and balance.
A system of democracy needs other institutional machineries for it to function properly. Protesters against Thaksin view that Thaksin has hijacked democracy with money politics, but his supporters or outsiders look at the protesters as sore losers.
Foreign media, foreign governments and international community liked Thaksin because they viewed that he came from the electoral process. They also viewed that the rural voters’ political view should be respected by the whole country.
The world’s opinion on Thailand now is tilting toward the rural voters, who now have come to the forefront of democracy in Thailand through their majority votes. Any political opposition against their aspirations or wishes is branded as undemocratic. The rural voters look at democracy as what they can get from the politicians.The Politicians
The politicians are the main problem or the liabilities of democracy. They buy votes and hope to form government and run the public office. Once in power, they try to recoup their investment from the election. The Thai politicians have yet to reform to better standard to keep in touch with the private sector development.
The old faces still come back to power time and again. Since they control Parliament, they issue law to serve their interest. Since they control the public office, they appoint their own people to serve their interest. Since they control the budget process, they disburse the money to their own constituencies. Since they have control over government concessions, they award the concessions to their cronies or those who pay the kickbacks.
Thai politics as we know it can’t go on with these politicians, who have refused to die.
The Tyranny of the Minority vs the Tyranny of the Majority
Posted by: Thanong Khanthong , The Nation, October 8 , 2008