Does Abhisit have legitimacy?

I think the question of Abhisit’s legitimacy needs to be addressed, considering how often it is used by his opponents, and Hobby, too.

The world has 10 kinds of people, those who know binary and those who don’t.

But even if we accept only binary answers to the question we still get plenty of opinions and it all depends on who we ask.

Yes, if we ask 14 million who voted for Democrats
No, if we ask 14 million who voted for PTP
Yes, if we ask another 7 million who voted for neither and have their MP in government.
No, if we ask those who opposed the coup
Yes, if we ask those who agreed with it
No, if we ask those prefer Thaksin
Yes, if we ask those who abhor Thaksin

That’s enough of people. Let’s talk abstracts.

Yes, if you go by current law books
No, if you reject the current constitution as illegal

Yes, if you say he is the product of the same parliament that elected Samak and Somchai before him
No, if you say he had help from outside the parliament
Yes, if you say his opponents had outside help, too

No, if you say that after PPP dissolution a new mandate should be obtained
Yes, if you say that MPs are still the same and by-elections filled the empty seats

No, if you expect the PM to be the leader of the biggest party
Yes, if you expect the PM to get most votes in parliament

That’s getting boring. Let’s talk what is the practical meaning of “legitimacy”, beyond the binary.

Suppose the answer is “yes” and so Abhisit has the legitimacy.

Is his legitimacy equal that of Thaksin whose party once obtained some 75% of parliamentary seats? No.
Does he need an equal amount of legitimacy to the PM? No.

Suppose the answer is “no” and so Abhisit has no legitimacy.

Does it mean he has enough legitimacy to sign some paperwork related to day-to-day work of the government? Yes.
Does it mean he has enough legitimacy to negotiate with the reds on the solution to the crisis? Yes.
Does it mean he has enough legitimacy to run the country before the negotiated dissolution, if there’s a deal? Yes.
Does it mean he has enough legitimacy to represent the country in international forums like Asean? Yes.

Let’s now consider how his legitimacy changes over time for each of the above categories? Or maybe not, you get the point.

I’d just say that he has more legitimacy now, after running the country for a year and four months, than last year in the run up to Songkran. His legitimacy will grow if he survives this Songkran, and it will diminish as the election day draws nearer.

Only for some hard core opponents his legitimacy, if he ever had any in their eyes, waned even further over this period.

Ok, now how about changing opinions and perception of his legitimacy over time? Or, better yet, how about changing perception of his legitimacy in the process of a debate?

Do you see how a simple question: “Does Abhisit have legitimacy” brings out unlimited possibilities of answers, even if rounded to a yes/no choice.

To sum it up, a simple “he has no legitimacy” is a throwaway line that doesn’t deserve any attention unless the exact meaning, purpose, perspective, and usefulness to the discussion are clear. From experience and observations, most of the time it gets ignored.

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6 Responses

  1. To repeat:
    Without the military & judicial coups, PM Abhisit does not exist – he’s the illegitimate child of those coups.

  2. Brace yourself for the life of eternal frustration, ‘cos the coup can’t be undone and so nothing will ever be legitimate by this standard.

    On the other hand, I see reds being quite practical about it and demanding that the coup spawn even more children (elections under “military” constitution) instead of reforming the chapter in a public referendum.

    Makes me think – is it safe to say all they want is to be in power, doesn’t matter by democratic or military rules.

    And they certainly do not want to apply the same logic and standards they demand from Abhisit to themselves.

  3. Agree its going to be a slow process to undo the coup and all it’s babies.

    Elections are just the first step, and even then things will be very difficult when the non ‘protected’ side wins, as the ‘right’ army commander, appointed senate, judiciary etc will already all be in place.

    If this keeps up I can only see a Burma, Nth Korea or Insurgency of three fronts, future for Thailand – Abhisit could have tried to change that, but he only seemed to have learned smooth talking ruthlesness at Eton, and not integrity.

    Maybe I’m being a bit harsh on him, because to go against ‘god’and his offsiders in Thailand is an almost impossible task at the moment – if Abhisit tried he would be discarded as expendable – at least he’s smart enough to know that, I suppose:)

    The good thing about this sorry saga (that has been going on for over half a century now), is that the thai people, and the world, know more now, and old guys don’t live forever
    (but then again, we have Nth Korea & Burma as examples)

  4. Reds: “We want to overthrow Ammart”

    Abhisit: “Yes, you want to solve big, long standing problems, and I’m willing to consider it and work on them together”

    Reds: “Forget we said that, we want only elections”

    Abhisit: “How about we amend the coup installed constitution you hate so much?”

    Reds: “Nah, forget that, too, it’s fine as long as you give us elections”

    Abhisit (thinking): “Go fuck yourself”

    Abhisit (aloud): “I need at least nine months before it’s safe to dissolve the parliament”

    Abhisit (thinking): “But you should really go fuck yourself”

  5. You’ve ben drinking the Abhisit Kool Aid again Stan – Abhisit’s been in power 16 months already – where’s the evidence that he wants to work on long standing problems?
    Those ‘ngoh’ country bumpkins seem a lot smarter than you on that matter – see
    this
    Bangkok Post link (which I also included in my latest reply to you on my blog) for a more realistic assesment of what Abhisit is up to.

  6. Try
    this
    link – I also think you need to look more at the big picture stuff as all your focussing on these day to day nonsenses means you are missing the wood for the trees – or is that intentional and you are playing from the Stephen Young songbook?

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