Thailand is a wonderful country filled with marvelous sights, beautiful women, and some very corrupt politicians. For the typical tourist the political scene is all but invisible, but to people that live in Thailand, the reality of political corruption is all too real. Where political correctness should be reserved for politicians, there are a few political parties in Thailand that shun being politically correct all together.
There has always been corruption in Thailand but between 2004 and 2006 it has been taken to an entirely new level. Thaksin Shinawatra and his government came into power on a popular vote in 2001. The voter base for Thaksin’s party the Thai Rak Thai ( TRT) is based in the northeast part of Thailand. The northeast is the home of many poor Thais with very limited education. Thaksin saw a way to harvest the votes from this rural part of Thailand that was neglected by others. This huge block of voters was enough to sway the elections.
Once in power the TRT started a systematic removal of the checks and balances of democracy thus allowing corruption to flourish. As time went on it became more and more difficult for Thaksin and his cronies to keep their misdeeds out of public view. It was common for Thaksin to simply change laws that were in his way then proceed later claiming he broke no law. Each day Thaksin was making more and more enemies but also getting more powerful. Each day the balance of power was shifting to be more completely Thaksin. The final move that would have given Thaksin the status of dictator would be to secure the Thai military under his banner. Those orders were given by Thaksin shortly before he left the country in September 2006 to visit the United Nations in New York. The order was to place his people in key military posts. That would have insured that Thaksin was unstoppable. A few days later before the change a successful coup was staged ousting Thaksin from power.
During the time the military was in power a new constitution was written that has a distinctly western flavor. The new constitution cane equipped with laws that come down hard on corrupt politicians. The penalties included the dissolving of entire political parties and a ban from politics if they were found to be in violation. Although that was also in the previous constitution, the number of things that would invoke such a penalty was increased.
To honest politicians the rules were of no concern. To corrupt politicians the new rules were political death and they proceeded to cry foul. In December 2006 a new government was elected with many of the same old faces from Thailand’s corrupt past. Several of the corrupt parties broke the rules during that election and are now facing their fate of being dissolved.
So seeing is the corrupt politicians cant follow the rules that make all the sense in the world, they are now setting about ripping up the new constitution and weakening it to allow them to stay in power. Essentially it is like giving a prisoner the keys to the jail. They have no morals and are openly denying they are doing this for self serving reasons.
There are however good politicians in Thailand and many of them are in the Democratic party. Although the democrats did not win a majority, they did have no problems with the new constitution.
This story is to only to set the base for future posts as Thailand politics will provide plenty to talk about.