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Electoral system is Thailand's best way forward

Failure to settle the current political stalemate by electoral means could plunge the South-east Asian country into an even more serious crisis.

Published on May 14, 2014 5:16 PM

In the aftermath of the Constitutional Court's ouster of Ms Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand stands at a crossroads marked by three avenues: a military coup, an appointed government, or an election.

As the Thai military has repeatedly declined coup opportunities in recent months, the outcome is likely to be either an appointed prime minister and government, as the street-based People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) is demanding, or another election, which is planned for July 20.

The risk of political turmoil and violence will mount if an unelected government takes power. Despite its shortcomings, the best way ahead for Thailand remains the electoral system.

At issue now is whether Ms Yingluck's successor Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan will be allowed, as acting premier, to steer the caretaker government to election day. The Constitutional Court's verdict against Ms Yingluck for malfeasance was merely a power play. True, it involved nepotism. Ms Yingluck indirectly oversaw the transfer of a senior official to enable her brother Thaksin Shinawatra's brother- in-law, Police General Priewpan Damapong, to become the national police chief. It was an insider deal that was typical of Thaksin. It was also routine in Thai bureaucratic rotations, where favouritism is rife.

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