Thailand’s upcoming election next month will be pivotal for the country. As political parties kickoff campaigns with eager policies and unprecedented boldness, the possibility of a continuation of Uncle Tu, General Prayut Chan O Cha, looms nearer!
This election will be the first major election in the reign of King Rama X and it has already proven to be one of the most unique election for the political premiere Thailand has ever seen.
Starting with the multiple shifts and changes on determining the date for the vote to the opposing views and sentiments that call for a elections asap and those that feel it should be pushed further ahead after the coronation procession of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn. Then as curt as when the latest coup happened the Election Commission popped out an election date.
Now, as parties hastily try to hog candidates for MP, we are seeing a huge wave of new faces and a lot of old faces changing places.
“The effectiveness in recruiting former members of parliament from other parties can be attributed, in part, to a desire among politicians to maximise their opportunities to serve in the cabinet — which many calculate is more likely if they join a pro-government party — and in part to pressure from the military on some influential politicians”, Channelnewsasia wrote.
General Prayut Chan O Cha has also been touring the country trying to get people to beseech him to turn back on his word that he won’t become a politician, and has been making various political stunts that ends up as material for his own political satire by his opposition.
Like the fact that you don’t hammer in roof tiles has become much more well known since Prayut was snapped holding the hammer to a roof tile in an effort to take credit for relief efforts for people affected by tropical storm Pabuk. Or how he hinted that his prayers ‘spare’ Thailand from Pabuk severity of the storm.
It gets more paradoxical. A party called Prachaniyom, which translates to Populism, whose campaign banner is “Stop Military Spending on Weapons for 10 Years” will nominate the genius whose position is responsible for the excessive spending on weapons of late. Who else? it’s uncle Tu! The method to the madness behind Prachiniyom party’s contradiction seems to be stopping the debt that its nominee for prime minister is responsible for.
Meanwhile, other less Prayut for prime minister inclined parties have their own niche.
Bhum Jai Thai Party goes green in hopes of garnering support. The Thai stick might be blazing a new path for the country as efforts for liberalising Marijuana in Thailand has been adopted by a major political party for the first time. Interestingly, the policy proposed by Bhum Jai Thai for household quotas of six plants to inject income might just be the equitable twist to a state monopoly for weed. Grab and Airbnb are also in the mix for BhumJaiThai’s policy in distributing access to income for the people. Surely, some big businesses won’t be happy as cannabis has been scientifically established as a safe alternative to many pharmaceutical products, and recreational psychotropic products already on the market.
However, no campaign policy or stunt came close in terms of gripping the nation’s attention to Thai Raksa Chart (TRC) party’s prime ministerial candidate nomination. When it became apparent that the nomination was not a hoax, and indeed it was actually Princess Ubolratana who was TRC’s sole nominee, it shook the nation. Mixed feelings would be a humongous understatement for the response of each polarisation as opposition of the current junta revel in exhilaration, and supporters of Prayut Chan O Cha gawked in disbelief. You see, not a lot of people in Thailand knew much about TRC before, and that the party is closely, if not a proxy of, ousted former prime minister and business tycoon Thaksin Shinawatra. That quickly changed within a single Friday.
The underlining importance of the upcoming election, however, will not be whether or not we will be able to blaze up a joint without prosecution, or will we stop buying submarines, or will TRC be dissolve or not. The most important thing in this upcoming election will be about whether or not the people of Thailand can resolve their differences from their decade long rift in a respectable way. It will be about letting fear and loathing continue to drive us or not.