There seems to be a lot of political decisions pending on the outcome of a relatively minor by-election. This by-election certainly looks to be a weathervane for Thailand’s immediate political direction simply because of where it is.
The by-election in question will be on June 21 in the heart of pro Thaksin country in Sakhon Nakhon. It will mostly be between the pro Thaksin party Pheu Thai Party (PTP) and a party that follows one of Thaksin’s former supporters the Bhum Jai Thai Party (BJTP).
Looking at the dots that make this part of the picture, you first must take into consideration two groups of people. There are those that are lesser educated and who care and understand little about what actually goes on in Bangkok. And there are those that are more educated and do know what is going on. In this case the focus will be on what the lesser educated do.
In April 2009, all of Thailand witnessed a Thaksin induced riot in the streets of Bangkok. It did not take much of an education to see that the red shirts who support thaksin were indeed the bad guys. Looking at the violent images on tv went past the educational attainment line that seems to separate pro and anti Thaksin people. It is the fallout of that April event that will be seen in the June 21 by-elections.
Add to that the apparent state of the PTP that are lacking any type of leadership, and dozens of Mps waiting to jump ship, and there is even less reason to want to vote for them. Considering that it is the ‘C’ team that is running the party, there is a big lack of confidence in ability. That too will play some roll in the by-elections.
All of these situational conditions will be put to the test on June 21. If the PTP win then Thailand can expect more of the same that has happened this year. If the PTP lose, then there will likely be a huge number of PTP members jumping to other parties with the BJTP being the most likely destination. If that happens, it will have a significant negative impact on Thaksin’s political influence in Thailand.
There are other factors that may also be considered, but they are likely to elude the judgment of the lesser educated Thais who will vote on June 21. Some of those factors have to do with Thaksin himself. Bad press about him sneaking into Germany has shown the world that Thaksin cares nothing about laws, and will violate the laws of any country. Then there is the even more unbelievable spin saying that Thaksin is still meeting leaders of countries, and can still freely travel around the European Union. There is even significant doubt about Thaksin’s alleged six passports. At most he may have 3 and one is already Dead On Arrival being the one from Thailand. This all plays a roll in the confidence of voters.
To sun this up, This minor election will be seen as the pulse of Isaan as a whole being the heart of Thaksin country, and not like just the Provencal election it actually is.