Hit the books
While it's still uncertain if the widely opposed general election will take place Sunday as scheduled, social media posts have spread rumours that caretaker PM Yingluck Shinawatra has announced a postponement to Feb 30.
Of course, everybody can tell this is a joke.
Seriously though, anything could happen in the next two days. Despite the Election Commission's proposal that polls should be delayed, rumours of planned fraud and last Sunday's horrible violence near
Wat Sri Iam, which resulted in several casualties and one death, the prime minister might still go ahead with the Feb 2 elections.
Or maybe not, if Yingluck, who many believe is a puppet of her fugitive brother Thaksin, "decides" that continuing her role as the head of the caretaker government will give the Pheu Thai Party the upper hand.
We will just have to wait and see. But let's suppose the Sunday elections actually happen. What will be your decision?
While those who are determined to cast their votes may not have much to think about, many want electoral and political reform, including a new House of Representatives, which performs its duties for the benefit of the nation, not for the runaway nai yai (big boss). It is these people who are having a hard time deciding what to do.
There seem to be two main options: vote no or no vote.
Those who say they will not participate in the polling reason that they are campaigning against the so-called "Thaksinocracy", and that the upcoming election will be nothing but an official stamp of approval for continuation of the corrupt system. Others, though, consider arriving at poll venues and voting "no", because not showing up will give "ghost voters" the chance to sneak in and vote in their place.
In the end, should the total number of elected candidates fail to reach 95% of the target 500 MPs, the
House of Representatives cannot be formed. This will almost certainly be the case, due to the fact that in several Southern provinces there are no candidates registered.
This means that even if the Sunday elections in the rest of the country take place without problems, which is very unlikely, there will not be enough MPs to form the House of Representatives. And without the House, there will be no appointment of a new Prime Minister.
So what's the best option for those who want reform before an election?
Don't look to me for the answer. Should the Sunday polling take place, you'll still have the rest of today,
Friday and Saturday to weigh your options. My recommendation is to study the Constitution of the
Kingdom of Thailand and all the laws related to the electoral process therein. If you don't have time to run to a bookstore, it can be downloaded from the internet.
And that is what I plan to do. There will be a lot of reading and note-taking but I'm ready for the task. To keep myself awake during the long, tiring study, I have prepared tonnes of goodies to munch on, not to mention hundreds of MP3 music files to keep me in the mood.
Even then, I'm not sure I'll be able to finish every page and reach a decision before 3pm on Sunday, when the polling booths close.
Pongpet is the Bangkok Post travel editor.
Pongpet Mekloy is the Bangkok Post's travel editor and a mountain bike freak.