Why wake a sleeping tiger?
- Published: 21/12/2012 at 10:57 AM
- Online news:
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has always been the odd man out in the ruling Pheu Thai Party. His recent, sensible advice to drop the plan to rewrite the constitution for the sake of ensuring the government's political stability has been foolishly shot down.
I could not agree more with Mr Chalerm's reservations about the government’s move to hold a referendum to pave the way for its ultimate aim to rewrite the current constitution in its entirety.
Unfortunately though, the maverick politician may be just a lone but sensible voice in Pheu Thai, while the majority of party members and leading red-shirt figures are eagerly pushing for a charter rewrite at all costs, regardless of foreseeable political consequences.
More importantly, the charter amendment move appears to have the blessing of the "Man in Dubai". So it should not be surprising that Mr Chalerm’s voice was completely drowned out.
Mr Chalerm had solid points to back up his standpoint. He strongly believes that the government can comfortably ride through all the political storms and complete its four-year term in office, and may also be able to return to power in the next general election without having to bother with amending or rewriting the charter.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, left, and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (Photo by Taweechai Tawatpakorn)
Also, attempting to amend or overhaul the charter will needlessly invite trouble, and will galvanise all the anti-government forces to confront the government.
To put it short, Mr Chalerm’s logic is simple and straightforward - why wake up a sleeping tiger?
Repeating his argument on this matter once again, the lone wolf deputy prime minister bluntly told the proponents for a charter rewrite to "stop fantasizing and be realistic". He said it would be very difficult for the government to muster the 25 million votes or so needed in a referendum to endorse the charter rewrite.
The same opinion was shared by Peerapan Palusuk, a Pheu Thai MP for Yasothon and a member of the government’s panel tasked with studying the possibility of rewriting the charter.
Mr Peerapan admitted that even convincing half of the eligible voters, 23 million by Mr Peerapan’s estimate or 26 million by Mr Chalerm’s estimate, to cast their votes in a referendum is an uphill task. The referendum will lapse if less than half of the eligible voters turn out.
The Yasothon MP said some 30 million voters cast ballots in the last general election, but he was not sure they would come out in force to vote in a referendum.
Again, these sensible minority voices in the ruling party will likely be ignored by the party’s majority, determined to walk the dangerous political tightrope to rewrite the charter. But for whose benefit – the people in general, or just certain individuals?
About the author
- Writer: Veera Prateepchaikul
Position: Former Editor