Thursday, March 28, 2019

Giving the finger to dictatorship

Thais went to the polls over the weekend in the first elections since 2014's military coup. The elections were supposed to be a way for the dictatorship to legitimise its rule, Fiji-style. But despite censoring the media, banning a major opposition party, wheeling out the king to support the junta, having soldiers check the ballots of people voting, and the electoral commission refuse to finalise the results, the opposition still managed to win a majority on provisional results. And now, they've united to form a majority coalition to throw out the dictatorship:

Seven pro-democracy political parties in Thailand have united to form a coalition large enough to claim a parliamentary majority and declared their intention to form a government, ousting the military from power.

The announcement came amid concerns about potential irregularities in Sunday’s vote and before a full preliminary vote count has been released. Official results are not due until May.

Thailand’s Pheu Thai party said on Wednesday that it had formed a “democratic front” with six other parties after the disputed election, claiming the opposition alliance had won a majority in the lower house of parliament and the right to try to form a government.

The coalition, led by Thaksin-aligned party Pheu Thai which won the most seats in Sunday’s election, said they intended to “bring back democracy and stop the power of the NCPO [military junta]”.

Whether they'll actually get to do that will depend on whether the results stand, or whether the military "adjusts" them to give themselves power. But even if they do, the elected parliament will be battling against an entirely military-appointed Senate, which absurdly gets a voice in deciding the Prime Minister. OTOH, if they don't, then they will be able to prevent the dictatorship from passing any legislation whatsoever - a power they should use to the fullest until the Senate is abolished and democracy is restored.