Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thailand: Court Voids February's Sham Elections

Rigged one-party elections that were boycotted by over half the voting population have finally been voided by Thailand's Constitution Court. The regime of Thaksin Shinawatra now has neither a democratic mandate, nor any legal ground to continue holding power. 

March 22, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci - ATN) - After facing months of growing protests in the streets, Thailand's Constitution Court ruled on Friday that February 2, 2014's elections were invalid since the elections were not completed in one day, as required under law, marking yet another setback for the embattled regime of US-backed billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra. Bangkok Post in its article, "Court voids Feb 2 general election," reported:
According to the charter court, the poll breached the law because it was not completed in one day. Twenty-eight constituencies of 375 nationwide were unable to hold voting because no candidates were registered amid anti-government protests. Under the law, a general election must be held on a single day nationwide. 
"The 2013 royal decree on the House of Representatives dissolution stated that the general election must be held on Feb 2, 2014. But on that date, no election was held in 28 constituencies," the court said in a statement. 
"Re-elections for the 28 constituencies after Feb 2 are therefore impossible because it would mean the elections were not held on the same date throughout the kingdom."

The Constitution Court hearing was held at the request of the Office of the Ombudsman following a complaint lodged by Kittipong Kamolthammawong, a law lecturer at Thammasat University.
The regime responded to the anticipated ruling by launching a grenade attack against one of the judges' residences the night before the ruling, as well as denouncing the ruling immediately after it was read. The regime claims that the court has no authority to rule on the validity of the elections, but failed to suggest what agency - if any - did. It also claimed that the decision penalized the "20 million" who came out to vote.

It should be noted, however, that the elections were boycotted by over half of eligible voters, and out of those that did vote, many elected to deface their ballots or mark "no vote" in protest of both the regime and the democratic process it has hijacked and hid behind for now nearly a decade of political turmoil.

While new elections are expected to be announced within the next 60 days, the opposition has already made it clear it will once again boycott them.

The Court's Decision Was a Technicality Amid Much Broader Illegitimacy 

While the elections were invalidated on the technical grounds that the process was not carried out within a day as required under law, much larger inconsistencies existed that would have voided them had they been carried out in any other nation.

The current regime in Thailand is led by Thaksin Shianwatra, a convicted criminal, living as a fugitive abroad, evading multiple arrest warrants, a 2 year jail sentence, and a long list of pending court cases. He is also an accused mass murderer with by far the worst human rights record in Thai history. 

Despite this, he - by his and his party's own admission - openly runs the current regime, with his sister Yingluck Shinawatra serving merely as his nepotist-appointed placeholder. The election campaign slogan for the general election in 2011 was literally, "Thaksin Thinks, Puea Thai Does," Puea Thai being his political party. 

Forbes would report in their article, "Thaksin in Exile: Advising Sister, Digging for Gold," that: 

Regarding his behind-the-scenes role in the party and policy, he is not shy: “I am the one who thinks. Like our slogan during the campaign, Thaksin thinks, Pheu Thai acts.”
The New York Times admitted in an early 2013 article titled, "In Thailand, Power Comes With Help From Skype," that: 
For the past year and a half, by the party’s own admission, the most important political decisions in this country of 65 million people have been made from abroad, by a former prime minister who has been in self-imposed exile since 2008 to escape corruption charges. 
The country’s most famous fugitive,Thaksin Shinawatra, circles the globe in his private jet, chatting with ministers over his dozen cellphones, texting over various social media platforms and reading government documents e-mailed to him from civil servants, party officials say.

ImageThe New York Times openly admits that Thailand is currently run by unelected convicted criminal/fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra. Clearly any proxy government or elections in which it participates in are illegitimate by both Thai and international standards. Thaksin's foreign ties are what have afforded him impunity regarding an otherwise cartoonish, 3rd world dictatorship. 

There is no question then that Thaksin Shianwatra is illegally running Thailand by proxy. Being unelected, Thaksin Shinawatra is by all accounts a dictator, and his "government" a regime, however cleverly they try to dress it up 

This would be unimaginable in many of the countries lending support to the current regime in Thailand, including the United States. Still, editorial boards of papers like the Washington Post, and even US Congressmen have been weighing in on the side of Thaksin - calling those standing up to this poorly disguised dictatorship "anti-democratic militants." 

With Thaksin's Puea Thai Party running in any election, protesters will continue to protest, opposition parties will continue boycotting the elections, and the courts will continue ruling against the overt criminality carried out by the regime while it clings to power. 

While some may wonder why the courts hadn't ruled Thaksin's Puea Thai Party ineligible to run for office back in 2011, the answer is quite simple. Impunity. Thaksin Shinawatra is a multi-billionaire backed by some of the largest lobbying firms on Earth - he himself serving the corporate-financier interests of Wall Street and London for well over a decade. However, with the current massive and protracted protests, this impunity has been whittled away - thus giving the courts a rare window of opportunity to apply the rule of law and hold accountable an otherwise unaccountable, authoritarian dictatorship. 

The Waiting Game

While the regime claims the court's rulings constitute a "judicial coup," this is no different than a criminal hollering at a judge as they're dragged away to a well-deserved jail sentence. Washington's lobbyists will continue spinning the news to suit the regime, but on the ground in Thailand, the regime has no support base left and further alienates the Thai people with each and everyday it insists on clinging to power. 

It has utterly failed to cobble together any sort of substantial counter-rally. Many of its once stalwart supporters - particularly rice farmers - are in fact joining the anti-regime protests. While the regime is threatening the prospect of a "civil war," demographic statistics taken over the years have definitively proven that at best, the regime is only capable of carrying out large-scale, but manageable, terrorism.

The only factor that is keeping the regime in power is the fact that it is being driven by Thaksin Shinawatra from abroad along with his foreign backers - none of whom face any real danger as they direct the chaos unfolding in Thailand from afar. They believe there is nothing to lose, no matter how small the odds are of winning may. 

For Thailand's protesters, the battle is already won. Time is necessary to wait for the regime's residual impunity to crumble away before the courts and law enforcement can finally sweep it from the pages of Thai history. In the meantime, the protesters must continue building the framework for real political reform and pragmatic programs to address the myriad of political, social, and economic crises created by over a decade of national mismanagement under Thaksin Shinawatra. 

Massive one-day rallies will also be carried out by the protesters to remind both the regime and the people it has wronged that the protesters have not gone anywhere, and are simply waiting for the regime to collapse under its own weight. Unlike in Kiev, Ukraine, where armed Neo-Nazis seized the capital, Thailand's protesters have remained peaceful and patient and must continue to do so.