Stalemate cannot go on

Stalemate cannot go on

Members of parliament must fulfil their democratic duty and lead the way towards a solution to the ongoing student-led anti-government protests.

Failure to show their mettle during this time -- when courage and honesty are most needed from the people's representatives -- would result in doubts about their ability to do their jobs.

The cabinet yesterday proposed a special parliamentary session next week from Oct 26 to 27.

It's hoped that the session will serve as an open forum for all sides to discuss the situation in earnest -- to separate facts from fear, and to let wisdom prevail over sensation.

A stalemate is currently in play.

The protesters insist on their three demands for Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha's resignation, an amendment to the charter and monarchy reform and the government has rejected them all.

The state of severe emergency will be in place until next month but it is being contested rigorously by the Free Youth group calling for flash rallies on a daily basis.

Tension is building up as the protests swell and more leaders and supporters are arrested.

The government's attempt to gag online media and take action against social media users accused of posting messages that "instigate disorder" or "threaten national security'' is likely to fuel the discontent and aggravate the conflict even further.

It's clear the conflict being played out on the streets should also be brought into the fold and discussed in the democratic channels of parliament.

It's crucial for the representatives both on the government and opposition sides to set aside their party line, as well as personal biases, for once, and come together in their best effort to find a solution for the country.

Tolerance, foresight and open-mindedness will be much needed as the conflict at hand is both acute and delicate.

The usual belligerence and insensible wrangling that have marked many parliamentary sessions in the past should not resurface.

Members of parliament should take note that one of the reasons thousands of people have taken to the streets is to show their disapproval of the constitution and their desire to have it rewritten.

Part of the disapproval can be attributed to disappointment with representatives, many of whom had expressed support for amendments initially but then voted to set up a study committee instead, which essentially stalled the amendment process.

While the current bout of protests is largely driven by youngsters, it is no doubt a culmination of the decades-long political strife born out of the country's extremely unequal social structure and failures in its justice system.

There should be no illusion that an extraordinary parliamentary session will instantly wipe away the discontent which is only the visible part of the many deep-seated problems in the country.

Still, the MPs should speak for the people and review whether the state of emergency and all the actions taken by the state in association with the special law can be justified while searching for a possible compromise that will allow the country to move forward in peace.

This stalemate cannot go on.

Without constructive mediation, the situation could tip over the edge anytime. Considering the sensitivity of the issues involved, violence can't be ruled out.

It's a testing time for democracy, which is exactly why the representatives must prove their worth.

Editorial

Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

Email : ploenpotea@bangkokpost.co.th



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