Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) has made it loud and clear that the elections will not continue until disputes between the Thaksin proxy Government and the Anti-Thaksin protesters are resolved. This new twist may force Thaksin out of power as it looks to become a test of wills.
According the the EC, they have the authority to postpone the remainder of the election up to 180 days. They say that the elections will not move forward until the differences are resolved so the remainder of the election will go smoothly. This means that something must give and that something is reform before elections.
Needless to say this only applies to the remainder of this election. If this election becomes nullified by the court, it will be the court that will decide what happens next. Because of that there is no real way to make a prediction as this is the first test of these EC laws and procedures.
However knowing how Thaksin will respond to this is already known, and that is he will look to crush and eliminate the Anti-Thaksin protesters and not even consider complying with reform first. In his mind if they are not there, then the conflict has ended and the EC can go forward with the elections. That will be done in his usual style of escalating violence against those who oppose him. He has already demonstrated he will attack the rice farmers that he owes money to because the now oppose him. Thaksin displays no loyalty or comradery to rice farmers. To him farmers are just vote buffalo that can be discarded once they become useless to him.
However this does put excessive pressure on the Government as the clock is ticking on other things that look to spell ‘Game Over’ for them. Summarily everything is driving the Government to comply with the Anti-Thaksin protesters wishes. In all the events that have unfolded since the protests started around the end of October, events have pushed towards that goal by reducing option after option for the Government.
So it comes down to Thaksin’s stubborn arrogance against the will of the people. Thaksin knows that once the reforms are in place, he essentially will become impotent when it comes to being corrupt. So in his mind he has everything to lose and nothing to gain by allowing the reforms to take place before the elections. So his logic will be that if he must comply with reforms first, he will do his best to make them toothless.
By most accounts the reforms will act swiftly and decisively in dealing with corrupt politicians. There will be no more dragging it out for months on end. Once indicted they will be removed from their position of influence without delay. This single change will quickly make the corrupt think several times before taking a chance to line their pockets with tax payer’s money. It will be much like a mouse trap, both quick and unforgiving.
But the real question is what will happen between now and the elections. Thaksin has shown there is no bottom as to how low he is willing to go to get his way. That will tend to make Thailand a bit of a dangerous place until the reforms are in place. We dare say in some cases it may start to look like the Mexico drug wars with people working on the reforms being targeted as in the cross hairs of a rifle’s scope. That falls well within Thaksin’s past behavior, so we have no reason to doubt he will not employ that tactic again.