The American media has been in a spin because wealthy businessman Donald Trump claims the election is rigged and that he may not accept the results. He’s also highly critical of “politicians” and the corruption he says they preside over. Of course, we at PPT don’t know anything much about U.S. politics but we do throw bags of salt around when listening to this particular Republican.
We do know that, in Thailand, the elite has essentially never accepted election results they don’t like. Its claims about vote-buying and policy corruption are a way of saying free elections are rigged. And, its allegations against elected politicians as evil and corrupt are repeated daily.
Thailand’s Election Commission is very much enveloped by this royalist perspective on politics. Essentially anti-election, it is composed of anti-democrats who do their best to prevent elected politicians actually being able to govern while working to deprive the people of their sovereignty.
In an interesting report at the Bangkok Post the EC has joined the junta bandwagon using the dead king to justify its anti-politics. In this case, they have a point.
The EC claims to have adopted one of the late king’s “famous speech” from 1969 when he spoke at the 6th National Scout Jamboree, and “which specifically calls for Thais to ‘strip bad people of power’.”
At the time, the king strongly supported the dictatorial and corrupt Thanom Kittikachorn regime. That’s Thanom in the picture, between the king and prince.
The speech, the EC claims, “provides a guide to five strategies aimed to prevent election fraud next year.” The genuflection to the king’s authoritarian anti-politics fits neatly with the current military dictatorship’s approach to a “controlled election.”
The EC’s “five strategies” for that election involve mobilising “well-trained people” – they mean indoctrinated anti-democrats – “to help the EC organise and look out for irregularities in the general election” and said to “match the King’s 1969 speech that emphasises a key principle of the government’s administration — to support good people and ‘keep away bad ones’…”.
The EC is committed to “help screen out bad election candidates.” As part of this, the “EC is training hundreds of people who will learn how to prepare accusation documents and file petitions with the court…”.
So much for any democratic notions of representation and popular sovereignty. As the EC states, “All of these strategies are aimed at achieving the late King and the nation’s goal — to have ‘only good people’ rule the country.” No prizes for guessing who might be “good.”