Thailand: Small minority seeks to hold nation to ransom

Saturday, February 15, 2014

In the general elections held on February 2, 44.7 million people were eligible to vote. On the day, 20.4 million cast their vote.

Kasian Tejapira, a lecturer at Thammasat University, has estimated that there were about 12 million people who could not vote due to the right-wing thugs blocking polling stations and using violence to disrupt the election. This indicates there were about 32 million in total who wanted to vote. This compares to 35 million people who voted in 2011.

It is absolutely clear that most Thai people disagree with the demands of Suthep Thaugsuban and his Democrat Party thugs to scrap the elections. Yet Suthep and the Democrats continue to lie that the majority are against elections.

If we analyse the 20.4 million votes cast, there were 3.4 million “No Votes”. This is where the electorate can place a cross in a special “no vote” box. Another 2.5 million ballot papers were “spoilt ballots”. These could be mistakes or protest votes.

If we generously assume that most of these spoilt papers were in fact no votes, it means that 14.5 million people voted for parties that were taking part. Remember that the Democrats boycotted the election.

The likelihood is that most voted for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai Party, but we do not know the exact results yet. What about Suthep’s supporters?

People who wanted to pursue Suthep’s solution of rejecting the elections made up only 5 million. They are a clear minority in the country.

What is happening now? The result of the vote has been distorted, especially by academics and elite figures who are on Suthep’s side. The plain facts above show us that most people in Thailand support the election and want democracy.

Most people do not want the election rules to be fixed in favour of the Democrat Party before holding elections. But no doubt, many are in favour of further political reforms to improve democracy. But should a tiny minority be allowed to hold the country to ransom and seek to destroy Thailand’s democratic space?

[Reprinted from Red Thai Socialist.]

From GLW issue 997