The PPP or People's Power Party (Phak Palang Prachachon) is leading the tally in Thailand in the first elections after the coup in September 2006. PPP is considered by many as the reincarnation of the Thai Rak Thai party of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The party was disbanded after the coup and Thaksin who lives outside Thailand was barred from participating in the Elections but his presence was felt all over as blogger Thaizer writes
The figure of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shiniwatra still looms large on the Thai political scene despite his self-imposed exile from Thailand. In the months after the coup, Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party was banned by the courts and there has been continuing threats of legal action against Thaksin and his family who stand accused of corruption. Although Thaksin and TRT were banned, there seems little doubt to most observers that the PPP is a newly formed version of Thai Rak Thai. The PPP’s policies are the same populist policies that won Thakisn such huge support in the north and north-east of Thailand and it is these voters that have voted for the PPP.
Image from Colodio's Flickr page
Many commentators believe that is only a matter of time that Thaksin returns to Thailand and resume political activity. The New Mandala blog are celebrating the return of democracy in Thailand.
The coup of September 2006 was a bold roll of the dice. It was based on the hope that what has been termed the “network monarchy” could displace the electoral appeal of Thaksin Shinawatra. The coup was followed by a concerted ideological campaign that sought to contrast the disinterested virtue of the king’s “sufficiency economy” with the profligate populism of Thaksin’s path to economic development.
But the gamble has not paid off. Thaksin’s proxy party, People Power, will form Thailand’s next government (unless the military wants to chance its hand on an even more reckless gamble). People Power will not command a parliamentary majority, but its electoral authority in the parliament will be considerably greater than the drafters of the post-coup constitution would have hoped. A deal with just one other minor party may be enough to achieve a workable majority.
The Democrat Party have only themselves to blame for their disappointing poll result. They have been given every assistance to win. Their nemesis, Thaksin, was removed by military force. Their opposition, the Thai Rak Thai Party, was dissolved. And in the campaign leading up to this election they received not-so-subtle backing from the palace and the military. But, even with all this extra-electoral support, they still seem incapable of putting together a convincing electoral performance.
Bangkok Pundit, who was running a live blog covering the elections feels that the Democrats have actually done well.
New Mandala has some analysis. It starts with “The Democrat Party have only themselves to blame for their disappointing poll result”. Actually, most polls predicted they would get around 120-130 seats so I don't think it is a disappointing poll result for them. They won less than 100 seats at the 2005 election so around the 160 amount is a good figure for them. Their problem is their coalition partners have done very badly. Actually, I would say there is greater support by the military for Puea Paendin than for the Democrats. Yet this support for Puea Paendin doesn't seem to have helped them. If the military had really supported the Democrats I wonder what that would have done for their poll numbers. The military can control or limit the information that people receive, but they can't make people vote for their candidates. The elite should take notice.
Colonel Jeru (via New Mandala) feels it was the Thai Voters who won.
Thai democracy won in this election. The Thai voters came out in droves to express their will.
The clear winners in this election: The Thai voters first, then, the People Power Party second, and, The Democrat Party third. The clear losers: the military coup makers. The Thai voters delivered a stinging slap in the generals’ faces and said in a clear message . . . we don’t need you generals telling us what is good for us.
The blogger however wants Thaksin to return and face all that awaits him.
This time Thaksin has no more excuses to chicken, he should return immediately to the applause of his hardcore supporters (and courtiers). And Thaksin should return to face all the criminal allegations against him to put closure to all questions of his innocence or guilt once and for all.
While everyone was trying to get to grips with the election figures, the bloggers had to keep going back to mainstream media or Thai government sites. Thai blogger Isriya Paireepairit suggests an internet based “Long Tail” election reporting system.
There is no sophisticated online election reporting system available. The primary source for election result is still TV and reported by centralized government body or media empire.
This project proposes an election reporting system which:
* gather data by massive volunteers, “wisdom of the crowds” aka “long tail” method via proper communication channels
* represent the election result in online visualized format, which enables more accessibility, comparability and accountability
* guarantee acceptable level of accuracy
* highly customizable for various kinds of election, can be easily reuse in different environment