That’s exactly what went through my mind the first time I heard of the possibility that the People’s Alliance for Democracy would set up its own political party.
And this didn’t happen recently. It’s an idea that was floated by many inside AND outside the PAD for quite some time. When exactly? If I recall correctly, sometime after the September 19, 2006 coup de tat. At that time, I can safely say that most people in the PAD were against the idea. “Why soil ourselves with Thai politics?” we asked ourselves. “Why play a game where the rules were often distorted and misinterpreted?”
Then came the mass rallies of 2008. For 193 days, supporters of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, including myself, weathered the heat, the rain, the floods, and two different People Power party governments, losing ten lives in the process. Our accomplishments will be debated by many for years to come, but what is obvious is the resulting Thai political arena…a government comprising of the Democrats and Newin!
For someone who put her life on hold for six and a half months, you can’t blame me for being disappointed. At first, I put high hopes on the Democrats, hoping that they could at least kick start political reform, but almost six months into it, absolutely nothing! Don’t get me wrong. They’re not bad people. It’s just BAD politics…Thai politics…OLD politics!
So the question remains, do we, as the People’s Alliance for Democracy, rally and rally and rally, government after government after government for all of eternity? Do we stand by and watch politician after politician come in giving false hopes, then end up wasting our time? What a discouraging thought!
We need an official tool in the Thai political system. And I don’t use the word “tool” lightly. The new political party to be formed by the PAD will be exactly that, A TOOL…to voice the people’s concerns in Parliament, to give new politics a test spin, to start setting new standards for Thai politicians, standards that should have been set decades ago.
I still have full hopes that the people’s movement will remain strong. If it doesn’t, well then, the party won’t stand a chance in the first place. And for some who fear that the new political party will be eaten up by the decay of Thai politics, I say, HAVE NO FEAR. Members of the PAD who are interested in fielding elections, myself excluded, have the strongest of wills and the best of intentions. If anything, they will be the ones to endure the toughest tests and the highest expectations from, none other than, the PAD’s people’s movement.
As for the question of who will lead the party? Well, that’s a tough one. Will there be someone who can lead the PAD like Sondhi Limthongkul? Or will he have to go back on his word of not entering politics to ensure “change”? That’s something we will have to further explore in detail…
To be continued.
Story by: Sarosha Pornudomsak