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What if Pheu Thai Wins?


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Interesting posts by Belgian Boy, Coss and Faustian.


For my part, I want to start with a clear account of where matters stand today before guessing on what happens down the road. In an article under the headline “Pheu Thai canvasser shot dead†there is a graphic depicting Pheu Thai's clear lead.. Those are the exact words - "Clear Lead" - above the poll results. And its evident when you see the poll results.


I am not sure why the Bangkok Post put the poll results in this article or why it’s buried on buried on page 3, but that is where you will find the latest Nida poll showing a clear Pheu Thai lead. Those elections are less than two weeks away.


Polls of course are not 100% reliable, but every poll I have seen shows Pheu Thai ahead of the Democrats and recent polls show Pheu Thai gaining an even greater lead. This is true even in Bangkok. I have not seen even one showing the Democrats with a lead or even gaining, but if there is one out there, please free to post.


This is relevant to what the major players are saying and dong now. And we need to look at what the major players are saying and doing now to get some sense of what might happen after the elections.


The Army is an obvious place to start. And the top brass don’t like what they see. In a not so subtle article on page two of Sunday’s (today’s) Bangkok Post under the headline, “The Big Issue: Nothing to See Hear…Yetâ€, we read the Army Chief saying “‘The voters should use their judgment to choose the best candidate’…or else†[added by the generally conservative Post] and then, again from the Post: “So now there are now two good reasons for a 19th coup, plus a promise there will be no coup.†The begins the next paragraph with: “Yingluck Shinawatra, the chief suspect in any military lecture about bad voters,…â€


Pheu Thai says its trying to make amends with the military and they do seem to be trying to avoid any response in kind to the military. Yingluk seems to be going out of her way not to antagonize the top brass. This may not work with the top brass, but what it will make it harder for them to move directly against her. And what about lower commanders?


If there is a 19th coup, my hunch is that it will be much messier and meet with much more resistance than the last one. Those signals on this are pretty clear from a wide swath of Thailand.


The Democrats seem frustrated. The PM was quoted as recently saying the Democrats were only a few percentage points behind the Pheu Thai, but Finance Minister and leading Democrat Korn, in an interview with the Financial Times, said the Democrats were trailing far behind the results were disastrous. Korn was always the realist.


Vorian Vabijaka of the Bangkok Post summed up the situation this way:


Thaksin is a salesman. Abhisit is an academic. Selling isn't his forte. Democracy is a popularity contest, so the salesman often wins, because he has the human touch. As for the academic, more learned and intelligent though he may be, students tend to doze off in class.


The Democrats have been two years in power, with the red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, Pheu Thai Party and Thaksin tumbling and stumbling, making one strategic mistake after another. Any competent political machine should have buried them in the history books.


And yet here we are, two weeks before the general election and Pheu Thai still manages to lead in the polls.


He’s made some very astute comments on Thailand here, and this one seems particularly good.


PAD and the Democrats are at daggers drawn. There political affiliate is pressing voters not to vote. This will only harm the Democrats since they share a similar base. And Abbhist told a Thai newspaper to ask ask Sondhi "if he is now in the Thaksin camp or not?â€


Bear in mind that most of the big PAD leaders were originally the most ardent Thaksin supporters. And some became strong Thaksin foes for some rather questionable (financial) reasons. People seem to forget this, but not everyone.


My takeaway hunch, the PAD, in its current form, will not oppose a Peu Thai in favor of the Democrats. Nor can those inclined to cancel the election results by non-democratic means really trust the PAD leadership, which means they can’t be used in their current form to occupy airports or otherwise agitate for the fall of a Peu Thai government.


This means that either a new civilian opposition group needs to be cobbled together as a front or some other non-democratice means must be used to keep Peu Thai out of government by those who simply won’t accept a Peu Thai victory. And many powerful people will have a hard time with Peu Thai coming into power no matter what the vast majority of Thais say. Although times have changed, there are still many here that simply don't accept democracy and are blind to the changes.


Samak was removed from office by a judicial decision for running a cooking show, but I just don’t see that working now. There was talk of perjury charges against Yingluck, but she doesn’t carry the baggage that Samak had and doing something like this twice, particularly in the current environment, is going to be much harder. Lightening generally doesn’t strike twice, and when it does, it looks even more suspicious.


It’s going to be harder to oust Peu Thai by non-democratic means, but that doesn’t mean there will not be a try. And if there is a try, I think it will lead to even more violence than what we saw in in May of last year.


With all of the polls indicating that Pheu Thai enjoys a substantial lead, my guess is that all sorts of deals are trying to be arranged now to avoid a major confrontation after the election. My hunch: we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg now.

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MyWiMee and all her friends went off to the temple in Auckland here yesterday and voted.


Unofficially' date=' given the predominantly Isaan origin of the voters here, I can confidently predict that the seat of Auckland has been won by Pheu Thai.


Your correspondent, on the front lines, Coss.[/quote']

That is a surprise....

Yesterday my wife also went to vote at the local temple, and there is also a large Isaan majority here, however the sentiment is definitely anti-red shirt.....



That's because you are in Belgiumburi, whereas we are in Aucklandistan. :)

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@Gadfly ... A retired archan, Chula grad and real foreign degrees, said to me the other day: "So many people support the red shirts now. I don't understand it." She was talking about educated people too, not Issan farmer.


The first time Takky ran, I asked my students whom they planned vote for. About 70% said Takky. The universal reason? "We've tried everyone else, so we may as well try him." I suspect there is a lot of that going on right now ... "We haven't tried Yingluck, so let's give her a chance." Also there is the "we've never had a woman PM" logic, just as there was for Obama being Black.


Can't they see that voting for Yingluck is like voting for Eva Braun? Takky cloes along with Yingluck just as much as Adolf would have with Eva Braun. :p



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Voters deserve a candidates debate




With only two weeks to go before the general election, many people have their minds made up on who to vote for, and in fact most of them probably decided long ago. Undecided voters who might be inclined to base their decisions more on the issues involved than party loyalties must be thinking that something has been lacking. What is missing is a clear explanation of policy from the major candidates themselves, rather than merely soundbites from the campaign trail. There is no better way to bring this about than a well organised debate between the two major candidates.


[color:red]Since the fifth century BC when the Council of Five Hundred met in Athens, and a few hundred years later at the Forum in Rome, debates have been synonymous with democracy, and today they are considered a necessary step in political contests in most democratic nations.[/color]


Soon after the Pheu Thai Party announced that Yingluck Shinawatra was its choice for prime minister, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and other high-ranking Democrats proposed a debate to help voters make their decisions. The offer was quickly rejected, with most people assuming it was partly because of Mr Abhisit's reputation as an excellent orator and partly because Ms Yingluck needed sheltering, as if she would be likely to fall apart in a debate or at the least be easily flustered. But given her performance these past weeks on the campaign trail - speaking several times a day to large crowds and the media with perfect composure and a winning personality - that doesn't appear likely.


The advantage still has to go to Mr Abhisit, not only for his debating experience but also because he should be much more familiar with policy questions after a lifetime in politics and holding the prime minister's post since December 2008.


Most voters will be aware of this and make some allowances for style. What people are really looking at are differences in substance and whether the candidate is able to think on his or her feet.


[color:red]In rejecting the debate proposal Pheu Thai deputy leader Plodprasop Suraswadi said it was unwarranted because the two rival parties had already outlined their respective policies. This is missing the point. If there is a clear choice between the Democrats and Pheu Thai - other than on the amnesty issue, which is a must topic for debate - the leaders of the respective parties should be able to articulate their visions and answer challenges to their positions from the other side in real time.[/color]



Bangkok Post

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Yes, educated people are also supporting Yingluck. I think there are a variety of reasons people are supporting Pheu Thai, and Vorani Vanjika does a good job of setting out why many of the less fortunate in Thailand support Pheu Thai.


I am trying to avoid making a judgment about whether the reasons are good or bad, and focus on what happens if Pheu Thai comes out as far ahead of the Democrats as the polls (and even some Democrats) now predict. Everyone seems to think they will get the most votes, and the question now seems to be whether the get an absolute majority.


Since it seems credible, let's ask the next question: what happens if Pheu Thai gets an absolute majority? I have only seen one poll suggesting that outcome, but their lead seems to be gaining and this outcome is not unrealistic.


Even those who fear a Pheu Thai government must be asking that question (not everyone can be in denial) and thinking about how best to deal with that outcome. Right now, it appears they will get more votes than the Democrats, so there must be some back room negotiations going on now to deal with that outcome or even the possibility of an absolute majority.


Notice that Pheu Thai hasn't ruled out a coalition? Notice that some of the smaller parties seem to be signaling that they would join in a Pheu Thai coalition?


It might be impossible for some at the top to reach any sort of compromise with Pheu Thai, but that doesn't mean their subordinates are prevented from striking a deal. My guess is that this what is happening now.

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