Respect the people's vote

Respect the people's vote

If parliament completes its term on March 23, the nation's next election will take place on May 7, as set by the Election Commission. If not, it will come even sooner.

Over the past several weeks, public curiosity has risen about Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's political future. Having been in power since 2014, Gen Prayut has survived challenges regarding his eight-year tenure after the Constitutional Court gave a ruling in his favour last September. Yet the question remains, will voters give the ex-junta leader another mandate?

Without question, 2023 will be a difficult year for Gen Prayut and his two other brothers-in-arms -- Gen Prawit Wongsuwon and Gen Anupong Paojinda, who all served together in the army. As the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) experiences a major rift, the trio have to go separate ways.

Gen Prayut will join Ruam Thai Sang Chart or United Thai Nation (UTN), a new party founded by PPRP's breakaway faction, as its sole candidate for the premiership.

Gen Prawit, meanwhile, will continue at the helm of the PPRP, becoming the party's PM candidate, while Gen Anupong has announced he would turn his back on politics.

A series of poll surveys have suggested Pheu Thai, which hopes for a landslide, will become a big winner, followed by Bhumjaithai. It's believed that Gen Prayut's UTN party will have to join the PPRP and the Democrat Party, which is now a medium-sized party, in any governing coalition.

But like it or not, the 250-strong Senate will remain key in choosing the next prime minister, a controversial mandate stipulated under the junta-sponsored 2017 charter.

It's this provisional clause that enabled Gen Prayut and the PPRP to take office, leaving Pheu Thai, the real winner according to the 2019 election results, in the cold.

Inarguably, it is a major cause of political strife and a question of democratic principles, given that it allows non-elected elements to bypass voters' choices in what is clearly an unfair political game.

However, the stance of Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichit­cholchai over how the Upper House is to make its choice over the premiership candidacy for the next election is a matter of grave concern.

In a media interview, Mr Pornpetch said the Senate would take into consideration parliamentary stability as a factor in endorsing a particular candidate.

He claimed the Senate, like the lower house, is patriotic, and to ensure that democracy makes progress, the Senate must give high regard to stability, or dissolution will follow. Such claims are ridiculous.

The Senate speaker must realise that dissolution is a democratic process and there should be no concerns.

Needless to say, after years of political strife, most voters just want an end to political conflicts.

They want a capable government that deals efficiently with chronic problems like inequality while improving the economy, enabling the country to move forward.

It's time the Senate put its priorities right, respect the people's choice in the next election and allow democracy to run its course.

Editorial

Bangkok Post editorial column

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

Email : anchaleek@bangkokpost.co.th


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