Wind blows

Reds, unsurprisingly, decided they can’t get anything out of more talks and announced another major rally on Saturday instead. Korbsak’s efforts to keep negotiation process going have failed.

During Monday talks Dr Weng claimed that they have twenty million supporters, to which Abhisit jokingly replied that he can run a referendum on that.

Referendum on whether to dissolve the house is a silly idea, of course, but my first thought was – would opinion polls be acceptable in this situation? I was sure local pollsters thought the same, and, only two days later, the first poll is out.

Here are results in Thai and here is Google translation.

There’s a simple, though uncomfortable for some, way to look at it: 42% want Abhisit to ignore the red mob and his own offer and carry on until the end of his term, and that is the largest single group. Additionally, some 14% think he should follow his offer and dissolve the house at the end of the year. That’s 56% clearly backing the government and not making any concessions.

There are also another 14% who want the government and reds to compromise halfway – six months, and finally, only 27% think Abhisit should agree on red terms of dissolution in fifteen days.

75% want negotiations to continue.

Practically that means Abhisit can do anything he wants with the reds. He can demand more talks on his terms and, if they refuse, he can completely ignore their demands and use any means necessary to contain them. I don’t want to be the one plotting red strategies now. It doesn’t look good, and the time is running out – this is the last Saturday before Songkran and Jatuporn announced they won’t rally beyond that anyway.

With this wind blowing, reds can’t even count on public sympathy if Abhisit orders a crackdown. Respect for democracy and freedoms is one thing but respecting red rights is also very demanding on Thai psyche, people would still rather have “law and order”, and if reds get the wrong end the stick people would just say “som nam na”, “finally someone has done something about this nuisance”, and “that’s karma”.

It think this time the government even has some leeway on using arms as far as public opinion is concerned – people would forgive if soldiers don’t live up to their last year standards and shoot a few reds here and there, especially after being pushed around last weekend.

So, for reds it is the time to prepare for some serious sacrifices, or admit defeat, or frantically look for a face saving way out. There’s only one – come back to the negotiating table and get the best deal while they still have government’s attention. Meaning doing constitutional reform first, elections later, and pressuring PTP to get their act in order and work through parliament, not street politics.

Reds, of course, might come up with some other plans but nothing will work better for them in terms of public acceptance.

On a positive side – 27% support is quite an achievement for a group that has been largely written off.

Democracy, meanwhile, was spotted in Sweden, though not exactly welcome there. She then turned up in Russia, where, as we all know, democracy is always under threat. First silly question that popped up – were the Moscow blast related? It was the first time in many years, what a coincidence! Second question – what if Putin decides to trade democracy for Victor Bout? Russia is not exactly the best place in the world to rely on human rights protection and demand justice.

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8 Responses

  1. You should be wise enough now to know the only poll that counts is the real one (real election or real referendum) – the reds have been consistently winning those polls for the last decade, and I doubt things have changed much.

    Even the 2007 constitution referendum only scraped through, when you consider the only alternative was a constitution of the generals own choosing (and even the proponents of the 2007 constitution were saying ‘pass it, it can be amended later’)

  2. Why should Abhisit comply with red demands at all? Everybody wants something, why should he listen to this particular group and not to everyone else?

    Should he call elections to decide if he should call elections? Should he run a referendum every time someone wants something and they don’t believe their are in a minority?

  3. Should miltary generals stage a coup, should coups be legitimized, should constitutions be torn up, should the judiciary be partial, should a party that calls itself the ‘Democrat’ party participate in and benefit from such injustices, should …..????

    Abhisit has never won an election (not even when his opponents were decimated by you know what, due to the influence of you know whom), and he still doesn’t have the integrity to face the people, so that all parties can abide by the wishes of the majority.

    If you think Abhisit is polling so well, why is he afraid to get a mandate & indisputable legitimacy from the people?
    (Come on Stan, I think you know the answer:)

  4. Could it be because polls tell him not to bother with legitimacy issues and just get on with the job?

  5. Not likely – he is a politician after all.

    and wouldn’t he be bloody mindedly insensitive to keep the country in turmoil instead of seeking legitimacy so that protesters of all colours can go home (or to jail:)

  6. Dissolving the house now would throw country in turmoil in other areas, like implementing government policies when the economic recovery is still fragile.

    When Abhisit was explaining this point on Monday the reds kept unusually quiet.

    There’s also an issue of not giving in to “terrorists”. As a politician he cannot afford to lose this standoff while the majority of the population gives him their support.

  7. Hobby is making that old false claim we’ve seen many times before: “Abhisit has never won an election”. That’s nonsense! He has won a number of times in his constituency. Thaksin has never won that, not even governor of Bangkok! He just won as a party-list MP. Of course the PM isn’t elected directly by the people, he’s elected by the MPs. The same MPs who elected Samak and Somchai elected Abhisit .

  8. Without the coup PM Abhisit does not exist – you will recall he was afraid to even contest elections before the coup.

    Any country where military coups are legitimized has no claim to being democratic – they are trying to have their cake and eat it too, and the people and the world are slowly waking up to the charade that is Thai democracy.

    Cause & effect – Injustice one day begets terrorism, and an Abhisit showing integrity could go a long way towards avoiding that inevitability.

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