One more stand for Thailand’s rule of law

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Dissolution of three ruling parties may alleviate tensions but all Thais must set sense to end crisis

We hope that the Constitutional Court’s decision to dissolve the People Power Party as well as the Chart Thai and Machima Thipataya parties will be the beginning of a peaceful solution to resolve the ongoing political crisis. With the situation deadlocked, the Constitutional Court yesterday played its part in providing a way out through the rule of law. The court’s president Chat Chalavorn said the court had decided to dissolve all three parties “to set a political standard and an example”.

The current political crisis has largely stemmed from the public’s distrust of politicians; the allegations that certain institutions had been meddled with by corrupt politicians; and the now pervasive money politics. The public disrespects the results of elections, which are often marred by vote-buying allegations, many of which have now been proved in court. Unfortunately, few people bother to pursue these alleged cases through the justice system to a final conclusion.

Yesterday’s dissolution of the top three ruling parties for electoral fraud showed that the rule of law in Thailand is still functional in spite of the fact that various political factions have worked hard to undermine it. This is what happens when “dishonest political parties undermine Thailand’s democratic system,” the court ruling read.

The supporters of the affected parties must respect the unanimous decision of the court and accept the punishment that comes their way. If anything, this verdict should be a moment for all sides to contemplate, to put the interests of the country first and foremost, and to begin to move on as one nation.

Thailand has been greatly damaged by this political crisis, which has escalated to the point where the country will be left with the scars of deep divisions. The closure of Suvarnabhumi Airport is almost certain to lead to massive economic losses in the long run because it will take time for international businesses and travellers to regain their confidence in Thailand.

While the economic losses might eventually be recovered, the current division among the factions in Thai society may have incurable consequences. Can Thailand emerge from this crisis and at the same time preserve the soul of the nation? Thais used to place a very high value on peace, tranquillity, tolerance and the ability to co-exist with people who held different points of view.

Given the fact that so much damage has been inflicted on the country, everyone must learn to compromise if the Thai nation is to endure. There are no winners in this crisis. All sides are responsible for the escalation of the political stalemate, which has recently turned more and more violent. Everyone has blood on their hands: the yellow-shirted People’s Alliance for Democracy and the pro-government red-shirts.

Yesterday’s ruling should set the stage for the thousands of PAD protestors to end their siege of the country’s two main airports.

The People’s Alliance for Democracy had no reason to further block Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports. If the PAD insisted on keeping the airports under its control and stubbornly demanded the instalment of a new political regime, it could have provided the reason for the red-shirted pro-government movement to stage further protests of its own. If that proves to be the case, it could lead to further violent clashes among Thais.

At the very least, yesterday’s ruling should provide a reason for the PAD to retreat and leave the matter in the hands of the court. While it may not work as fast as many of us want it to, the judiciary has shown that it has the courage to deliver due justice. All members of society should now urge the PAD leaders to reflect upon their actions because their decision to occupy the airports has gone too far; they have violated the law.

Given the chance, the justice system can serve as a guiding light – as it should – and take us out of this political darkness. That’s why it is important for all sides to respect yesterday’s outcome.

 In an ideal world, embattled former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat would have displayed political courage and resigned from his post and returned the mandate to the people. After all, his administration was unable to deliver the goods and services to the people; it therefore should have resigned and let others do the job. Instead, the Somchai government operated behind a fence, behind a narrow definition of democracy. It insisted that its MPs were democratically elected and therefore nothing else mattered.

Yesterday, Somchai finally did the decent thing by announcing he would accept the verdict of the court. In fact, he should have had the courage to dissolve Parliament earlier to help end the crisis.

Now that the court has made its ruling, people of different political affiliations should come to their senses. We are entering an auspicious time of the year and we should take the opportunity to show our natural compassion, the spirit that has helped our nation’s resilience through many difficult times in the past.

Thailand may not emerge from this crisis as the same nation it once was. Standing amid the ruins, Thais nonetheless should re-learn how to live peacefully with people of different affiliations and viewpoints. On yesterday’s evidence, everyone can rest assured that justice will prevail.

No one should resort to violence. The court’s ruling has showed that the gathering storm can be diverted.

The Nation

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