If what happened in the 9 September parliamentary session shows anything, it is that Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit is not a Thaksin Shinawatra nominee like so many people suspect. Their political parties can’t even work together.
The protestors are doing their utmost in the streets, demonstrating peacefully to demand democracy. But in yesterday’s parliamentary session, Move Forward and Pheu Thai, both of whom claim to stand for democracy, failed the people.
Palang Pracharat VS two bickering children
Move Forward put forth the motion to immediately hit delete on the 250 junta-appointed senators’ power to elect the prime minister. Pheu Thai’s strategy is to first push for a new charter drafting committee and amend the constitution.
Because of the differing views, Move Forward went ahead on its own, while Pheu Thai did not support the motion.
Move Forward was able to gather enough opposition MPs, including a handful of Democrat MPs, who are members of the government coalition. However, the Democrats bailed at the last minute, and so the motion failed.
Thus, went to bed with a smile were General Prayut Chan-o-cha and the 250 senators. Why? Because opposition parties couldn’t get their act together.
Both parties have their arguments on whose strategy has a better chance of succeeding. But the most critical point is, every plan has a chance to succeed or fail, however, the probability of success is guaranteed at zero if Move Forward and Pheu Thai can’t work together.
There might be much bickering and political maneuvering within Palang Pracharat, but thus far, come what may, they unite in their political aim. Meanwhile, Move Forward and Pheu Thai seem to spend more time calling each other “traitorous” than collaborating.
Sure, they also give lip service to “we support each other,” but words and actions do not match.
Move Forward: untested, untried, unproven
The Thanathorn political faction was formed during the military dictatorship regime, has been in parliament for a little over a year, and was never in any government.
Given its upstart context, there is no historical evidence to ascertain the true nature of its intention as a political force. Its leaders say the right things when it comes to democratic values, but again, they have never been in power. Hence, actions remain to be seen.
After all, it’s easy to spew valiant words of democracy in the opposition. But when you are in power, things tend to change. Why? Power corrupts. As such, we shall chalk Move Forward under the category of “we will see.”
But we might never see if they never become the government.
Pheu Thai: stand for democracy, or just benefit from it?
We have 20 years’ worth of historical evidence for the Thaksin political faction. True, it has won every national election in the 21st century. But the question is, from Thai Rak Thai to People’s Power to Thai Raksa Chart and Pheu Thai, do the MPs serve the boss [รับใช้นาย] or serve the people [รับใช้ประชาชน]?
Here are two points.
Lest we get carried away by the current democracy euphoria, Thaksin, while the most capable prime minister we have had in the 21st century, his faction has always been old school politics. A patronage network of old-school political barons, many of whom have defected to Palang Pracharat.
The likes of Paranee Kraikrupt, Thammanat Prompao, the Three Friends Gang [Suriya Juangroongruangkit, Anucha Nakasai, and Somsak Thepsuthin], and others are gone. But the point is, if they hadn’t defected, they would still be in the patronage arms of Thaksin. Meanwhile, Chalerm Yubamrung and others remain.
Old school politics does not serve democracy or the people; it serves the boss.
Understand that the protestors’ demand to separate the monarchy institution from politics is on the opposite spectrum to Thaksin’s Thai Raksa Chart party nominating Princess Ubol Ratana as its prime minister candidate for the 2019 election.
As a political move, if Thaksin had succeeded, it would have been brilliant. Since it failed, it was a disaster. But success or disaster, it was a political move that undermines democratic values.
There’s a very thick and visible line between standing for democracy and just benefiting from democracy. The burden is on Pheu Thai to prove the former.
Be that as it may, get your act together
Regardless of past actions by both the Thanathorn and Thaksin factions, Thailand is at a crossroads. When (if) Thailand is under a democratic framework, they and their supporters can fight and bicker 25 hours a day and eight days a week.
But understand that the battle now is democracy VS Thai-style sort of, somewhat, not quite a democracy of 250 junta-appointed senators preceded by five years of military dictatorship, all made possible by a military coup.
Stop blaming Palang Pracharat; its purpose is to serve the boss. Stop blaming Bhumjaitai or the Democrats; their purpose is to go with whoever in power.
Both Move Forward and Pheu Thai must put the blame and the burden on themselves if they want to prove true in their claims to stand for democracy and the people. Now isn’t the time to try to upstage each other, flush your egos down the toilet.
The people are doing their part. Move Forward and Pheu Thai need to get their act together and do their part.