Stepping back and taking a look at the suggested changes for Thailand’s Constitution, we see traps being set for slow learners. Although the new Constitution has been in effect for several election cycles, it seems some political candidates are just not catching on that the playing field has changed.
There have been dozens of elections under the new Constitution, some big and some small. Observing those elections there is a very clear pattern emerging. That pattern is many politicians will still try to buy votes. The difference now is the Election Commission is handing out yellow or red cards like candy on Halloween.
According to the people that took the time to sit down and compose the 2007 Thai Constitution, one of the things they considered was the chronic vote buying in Thailand. To put a damper on that, they structured the Constitution so that there would be more than one member of Parliament for each constituency. That consideration is now on the chopping block.
What this does is open the doors to temptation to buy votes again, or in short bait the bad boy politicians into making self inflicted politically fatal wounds. For the most part this plays into the hands of the democratic party. Although there are no perfectly clean politicians or political parties, the democrats offer the lightest shade of grey.
Looking back and doing some fuzzy math, about 50% of the pro Thaksin politicians from the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) have been caught and subsequently disqualified and fined for buying votes or other disqualifying considerations.
The democratic party has also felt the sting of the Election Commission, but with very few violations. So with these statistics, we can simply expect much more to come when and if the Constitution is finally amended. So after a few cycles in the wash, the number of democrats in Parliament is likely to be higher, and that simply is a benefit to Thailand as a whole.
The arguments about changing or not changing this provision have changed slightly from 2007. The effectiveness of the Election Commission to perform its job allows this change to be more palatable. In 2007, the Election Commission was still new and had yet to prove itself. Seeing that the last bunch of commissioners had a chance to see the inside of a jail and were in Thaksin’s pocket, this does show that Thailand is moving in the right direction ever so slowly.
However the down side to this is it does place the Election Commission in a situation that they will be handed more power and also subject to more politicians wanting to put them in their pocket just as Thaksin did.