In Thailand, where protesters in the capital are demanding the ouster of the kingdom’s elected leaders, people today took the day off to celebrate, of all things, Constitution Day. How much longer Thailand’s constitution lasts is anyone’s guess.
On Monday, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the parliament and called new elections. Since the opposition hasn’t won an election in decades, the latest move isn’t likely to satisfy Yingluck’s critics, who see her as a proxy for her exiled brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
“They no longer have any hope or faith in the electoral system,” Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Chulalongkorn University director, told Bloomberg Television on Tuesday. “They keep losing and they think the electoral system only produces corrupt politicians based on money politics under Thaksin’s influence, led by Yingluck, so they are rejecting that system.”
For now, Yingluck’s move is likely to embolden the opposition Democrat Party and its supporters, who think Thai democracy is rigged in favor of her populist brother and the poor rural voters who support him.
“The Democrats clearly smell blood,” Michael Montesano, visiting research fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, told Bloomberg News. “Without some sort of outside pressure on them to calm down, there is every reason to expect them to continue to agitate for a very different political system.”