Bhumjaithai's decision not totally unexpected
- Published: 9/11/2012 at 01:11 PM
- Online news:
The decision by the Bhumjaithai Party to opt out of the Democrat-initiated censure debate against the government scheduled on Nov 25-27 should not come as a total surprise.
The party has been politically inactive in the parliament and has assumed the role of a reluctant opposition since its de-facto leader, Newin Chidchob, turned his back on politics and focused his attention on nurturing his football team, Buriram United.
The party’s recently elected new leader, Anuthin Charnveerakul, has reportedly approached former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra about mending fences with the ultimate hope of joining the government.
Informed political sources said Mr Anuthin had met Mr Thaksin at an undisclosed venue abroad. The two men managed to break the ice and came to a certain level of understanding. Although Bhumjaithai was not offered a single seat in the recent cabinet reshuffle for its switch of allegiance, the sources noted that the Charnveerakul family’s construction business arm, Sino-Thai, was recently awarded a contract to upgrade Phuket international airport.
As a matter of fact, the government does not need the votes of the Bhumjaithai MPs or those of Somsak Thepsuthin’s faction, which broke away from Bhumjaithai, in order to survive the censure debate because it holds a clear majority in the House anyway. However, it will be interesting to see if the Bhumjaithai MPs abstain from voting to censure the government or even vote in support of the government.
The shifting of allegiance, the bending to changing political winds by individual politicians or political parties seems to be accepted in Thai society as normal. That perhaps is one reason why Thai politics has never developed, never matured, despite all the talk about political reform.
But back to the censure debate. This will be a chance for the Democrats and Chuvit Kamolvisit of the Rak Thailand Party to prove their worth in exposing the faults, shortcomings or whatever of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the ministers targeted for the censure.
So, they should make sure they do a good job and remain focused on key issues of public interest, such as the rice pledging scheme and flood prevention mega-projects. Also, there is a good opportunity for the prime minister to defend herself and her government against the opposition’s allegations and, above all, to show her leadership.
Allegations and counter-allegations are normal in a censure debate and if the opposing parties play by the rules it will be just fine and acceptable. There is no need for supporters of either side to flex their muscle by showing up at the parliament to give their moral support to either the opposition or the government.
And it will be encouraging if our prime minister stands tall and faces her critics head-on, as a real leader, with as little help as possible from all her guardians.
About the author
- Writer: Veera Prateepchaikul
Position: Former Editor