Final Throes

The conflict is coming to an end, it just can’t go on like this for much longer. The question is – whose final throes?

News were coming fast and hard in the past couple of days with sentiment swinging wildly from one side to another in a matter of hours, and then the hell broke lose.

Reds have abandoned all pretense of civility and resorted to raw force, openly defying and confronting security forces. The city is entirely at their mercy and they abide no laws and show no respect to anybody.

On Monday they broke into EC building, I was in a taxi at the time and heard Arisaman inciting the crowds on the radio, calling on EC Chairman, Apichart, to come and meet them in person or they would go to his house themselves. Tulsathit tweeted another of his lines: “If you don’t dissolve Democrats, we’ll dissolve your lives”.

How on earth is it possible to run free elections when the EC is under such attack from a side that thinks it’s entitled to win?

Then reds marched to Democrat’s HQ and shortly after a grenade explosion injured two people.

Who in his right mind believes reds would allow Democrats run a free, unhindered campaign?

Then reds broke into the parliament compound, forcing MPs to flee over the fence in the back, with Suthep airlifted by a helicopter.

One red leader demanded House dissolution immediately.

At this point this movement needs to be dispersed and forced to abide by the rule of law, it’s beyond talks and negotiations, only, perhaps, on the terms of their dismantling.

In reality, however, Abhisit might not have the resources to enforce the laws. Anupong is against it, at least for now, and it’s currently Bangkok Post’s lead story on their website. Thanong goes even further, claiming that Anupong issued an ultimatum to Abhisit – 48 hours or we’ll announce a new governing coalition.

The problem with this plan is that Abhisit can dissolve the House anytime he wants regardless of generals plan. The only thing that can stop him is a no-confidence motion which would be impossible to start under red assault.

The other problem is that public opinion among the non-reds is quickly shifting towards crackdown rather than capitulation.

Tulsathit ran a tweet poll on this and, among govt supporters, crackdown is leading by 3 to 1 margin. There were only 500+ votes but all other pro-government posted opinions at the Nation are shaping in exactly the same way.

At this point it’s difficult to say what’s holding Abhisit back. Perhaps it’s Anupong’s refusal, perhaps it’s the fact that they started their operations at 9AM on public holiday when reds can mobilize tens of thousands of people in half an hour.

Shutting down this rally, which is now constantly on the move, is a huge challenge for either police or the army, even if Abhisit makes up his mind he’d still need to wait for a working plan and an opportunity.

In the meantime, Banharn is going on TV in a couple of hours, and if he capitulates we can start looking at a quite gloomy prospect of Zimbabwe style elections, run by reds with total impunity in many areas of the country, according to the law of the jungle, and against the wishes of the majority.

Post elections politics will be extremely vicious and, should Democrats form a new coalition, we’ll see return of the reds, and should reds win and try to push pro-Thaksin agenda, return of the yellows and pinks.

Or Abhisit could persevere, get police and the army on board, subdue the reds, and keep on running the country until the reds regroup and start their protests again. The difference would be that the scheduled elections will be already close and reds would be forced to actually campaign for something rather than against everything.

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6 Responses

  1. Even if Abhisit & Prem pull off another Songkran trick, the red’s are not going away, and wont be scared off for long.
    (unless you think its possible to kill off half the population?)

    When will the old dinosaurs realize they are on the wrong side of history? They are just making things more difficult for themselves, and their legacies, in the long run.

  2. They don’t have to kill half the population.

    Abhisit is trying to corral reds into mainstream politics and civil society activism.

    Reds should have taken the clue last week, when 75% of the population wanted negotiations to continue.

    Now another “Songkran trick” is inevitable, Abhisit has no other choice, even though it might end bloodier than last year.

  3. The beneficiaries of military & judicial coups should not be the ones calling the shots – bottom line is there needs to be a new election ASAP because Abhisit does not have legitimacy (no matter what way you try to spin it:)

    btw, what happened to the Democrat dissolution case?
    Answer: DOUBLE STANDARD again!

    • There never was a “Democrat dissolution” case. The allegedly illegal donations had no links to the party whatsoever, only to relatives of individual MPs. Last I heard the chair of the EC investigative committee decided to drop the case but was pressured into seeking more evidence. Maybe if they discovered that party executives were involved you could start talking about possible dissolution, if you apply 2007 laws to 2005 elections.

  4. Next you will be telling me there’s no double standard in Thailand!
    (which will be on top of your continued support/justification of military coups, and your continued dismissal of genuine democracy as a viable alternative for Thailand)

    Fortunately most are on to the methods you & fellow ‘useful idiots’ like Stephen Young, Ahkbar Kahn etc use.

    The WSJ article ‘Thailands New Normal’ is a more realistic assesment of the Thai political situation, or you could try try looking at the article by the sensible Vejjajiva in today’s Bkk Post to broaden your yellow tinged vision of the world.

    • There’s no double standard in a way you imply.

      Long ago I told you there’s only one standard – if you can prove you deserve a special treatment, you get it. Thaksin lost his privileges, that’s all.

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