Democracy on the line
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Democracy on the line

As voters bite their nails and wait to see poll winner Move Forward, runner-up Pheu Thai and six other parties form the next government, junta-appointed senator Jadet Insawang has rained on the parade by proposing the idea of a "national government".

Sen Jadet earned media headlines on Wednesday after floating the national government idea in the Upper House session.

Such a government, shared by all political parties from the May 14 election, would be put in place if the country faces a new political crisis.

The senator said that the constitution permits a national government when the country reaches a political crisis.

Going by the outcry, Sen Jadet has made a big faux pas, and his comments only attracted some negative feedback.

Thai politics has never been at peace, but the current situation is not remotely close to an upheaval.

Of course, the current horse trading and competition between Move Forward and Pheu Thai remind us of the ugly side of the political game.

But political games or even political gridlocks occur in every political system in the world, even in the democratic playbook countries of the West.

Yet, all bystanders -- especially junta-appointed senators, must display political etiquette and give elected MPs and winning parties their due to form the government and run the country.

Sen Jadet's remarks reflect insincerity towards democratically elected MPs who campaigned hard to win the majority. Above all, his remark shows little respect for voters.

"Indeed, our country has been trapped by democratic elections for so long," Sen Jadet also said on Channel 9's Jor Luek Thau Thai Inside Thailand on Thursday.

On the one hand, the senator's concern is well understood. After two weeks, eight coalition parties have not settled on the House Speaker seat or the quota of ministers.

Yet dark clouds are on the horizon.

Soon, the court will rule whether Pita Limjaroenrat, Move Forward leader and presumptive next prime minister, violated Section 93(8) in the charter that bans elected MPs from holding media shares.

It is feared that passionate supporters of the Move Forward Party could run riot if the ruling goes against Mr Pita's favour.

Democracy -- especially Thai democracy -- has never been easy. There are no shortcuts in seeking the services of a coup or bypassing the elected government of choice.

Instead of discounting the democratic elections, Sen Jadet should create an atmosphere conducive to reconciliatory and democratic development.

In this regard, the easiest thing for him to do is to refrain from making any more remarks that undermine democracy and deepen the rifts in society.

In the next few months, the junta-appointed 250-member Senate might have to play a crucial role in smoothing the political transition by picking the next prime minister if the current coalition parties cannot muster 376 seats.

As a part of the major pillar of the democratic institution, it is hoped that all senators will make a decision that helps move the country in a democratic direction with an increasingly open society.

But Sen Jadet's stance has people wondering whether all senators are up to the task.


Bangkok Post editorial column

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

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