According to one of the latest polls, Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit does not get out to meet the people and it has caused him to slip in the polls. But then again what should be a casual meet and greet is target practice for Thaksin’s red shirt army.
Effectively Thaksin is keeping any political opponent away from his voter base in the north and north east of Thailand. For someone from the government to attempt to go and hear the people’s issues requires hundreds of police and security to keep the red shirts away.
This is not campaigning but in actuality the government trying to fulfil its obligation to be servants of the people, and this clearly has Thaksin worried. It is very clear one of Thaksin’s attempted comebacks is by popularity and the man that can. However Abhisit is just as capable as Thaksin so every attempt to show that is thwarted by Thaksin’s red shirts.
However admittedly Abhisit does spend a lot of time with the Thai elite but that seems to be part of the job to get Thailand back on it’s feet. The connection with international companies and local Thai Business is part of that formula.
It is clear Abhisit needs to be seen in Thaksin country and have multiple meetings with the village heads. So If Abhisit can not go there without issues from the red shirts, then the answer is bring the village heads to Bangkok. Doing this on a monthly basis will leave the red shirts out of the loop. It certainly would look good across the board to hear their grievances and perhaps sort a few out on the spot.
The fallout is once the village heads return home, they will need to confront the red shirts. As the red shirts are prone to violence, who is to say what will come of those after the fact meetings.
Once the meetings start to become regular and there is fruit resulting from the meetings, Thaksin’s power base will start to dwindle. As long as Abhisit can provide reasonable and acceptable outcomes to match what Thaksin may promise, it will be like putting water on Thaksin’s fire.
Without a voter base Thaksin’s party the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) will simply become a very minor party and the politicians that have aligned with Thaksin will see the dead end road sign and seek to find greener pastures.