Thailand: Court Voids February’s Sham Elections

Rigged one-party elections that were boycotted by over
half the voting population have finally been voided by Thailand’s
Constitution Court. The regime of Thaksin Shinawatra now has neither a
democratic mandate, nor any legal ground to continue holding power. 

March 22, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – ATN) – After facing months of growing protests in the streets, Thailand’s Constitution Court ruled on Friday that February 2, 2014’s elections were invalid
since the elections were not completed in one day, as required under
law, marking yet another setback for the embattled regime of US-backed billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra. Bangkok Post in its article, “Court voids Feb 2 general election,” reported:

According
to the charter court, the poll breached the law because it was not
completed in one day. Twenty-eight constituencies of 375 nationwide were
unable to hold voting because no candidates were registered amid
anti-government protests. Under the law, a general election must be held
on a single day nationwide. 

“The
2013 royal decree on the House of Representatives dissolution stated
that the general election must be held on Feb 2, 2014. But on that date,
no election was held in 28 constituencies,” the court said in a
statement. 

“Re-elections
for the 28 constituencies after Feb 2 are therefore impossible because
it would mean the elections were not held on the same date throughout
the kingdom.”

The Constitution Court hearing was held
at the request of the Office of the Ombudsman following a complaint
lodged by Kittipong Kamolthammawong, a law lecturer at Thammasat
University.

The regime responded to the anticipated ruling by launching a grenade attack against one of the judges’ residences the night before the ruling, as well as denouncing the ruling immediately after it was read.
The regime claims that the court has no authority to rule on the
validity of the elections, but failed to suggest what agency – if any –
did. It also claimed that the decision penalized the “20 million” who
came out to vote.

It should be noted, however, that the elections were boycotted by over half of eligible voters,
and out of those that did vote, many elected to deface their ballots or
mark “no vote” in protest of both the regime and the democratic process
it has hijacked and hid behind for now nearly a decade of political
turmoil.

While new elections are expected to be announced within the next 60 days, the opposition has already made it clear it will once again boycott them.

The Court’s Decision Was a Technicality Amid Much Broader Illegitimacy 

While
the elections were invalidated on the technical grounds that the
process was not carried out within a day as required under law, much
larger inconsistencies existed that would have voided them had they been
carried out in any other nation.

The current regime in Thailand is led by Thaksin Shianwatra, a convicted criminal,
living as a fugitive abroad, evading multiple arrest warrants, a 2 year
jail sentence, and a long list of pending court cases. He is also an
accused mass murderer with by far the worst human rights record in Thai
history. 

Despite this, he – by his and his
party’s own admission – openly runs the current regime, with his sister
Yingluck Shinawatra serving merely as his nepotist-appointed placeholder. The
election campaign slogan for the general election in 2011 was
literally, “Thaksin Thinks, Puea Thai Does,” Puea Thai being his
political party. 



Forbes would report in their article, “Thaksin in Exile: Advising Sister, Digging for Gold,” that: 

Regarding his behind-the-scenes role
in the party and policy, he is not shy: “I am the one who thinks. Like
our slogan during the campaign, Thaksin thinks, Pheu Thai acts.”

The New York Times admitted in an early 2013 article titled, “In Thailand, Power Comes With Help From Skype,” that: 

For the past year and a half, by the
party’s own admission, the most important political decisions in this
country of 65 million people have been made from abroad, by a former
prime minister who has been in self-imposed exile since 2008 to escape
corruption charges. 

The country’s most famous
fugitive,Thaksin Shinawatra, circles the globe in his private jet,
chatting with ministers over his dozen cellphones, texting over various
social media platforms and reading government documents e-mailed to him
from civil servants, party officials say.

ImageThe New York Times openly admits that
Thailand is currently run by unelected convicted criminal/fugitive
Thaksin Shinawatra. Clearly any proxy government or elections in which
it participates in are illegitimate by both Thai and international
standards. Thaksin’s foreign ties are what have afforded him impunity regarding an otherwise cartoonish, 3rd world dictatorship. 

….

There
is no question then that Thaksin Shianwatra is illegally running
Thailand by proxy. Being unelected, Thaksin Shinawatra is by all
accounts a dictator, and his “government” a regime, 
however cleverly they try to dress it up 

This would be unimaginable in many
of the countries lending support to the current regime in Thailand,
including the United States. Still, editorial boards of papers like the Washington Post, and even US Congressmen
have been weighing in on the side of Thaksin – calling those standing
up to this poorly disguised dictatorship “anti-democratic militants.” 

WithThaksin’s
Puea Thai Party running in any election, protesters will continue to
protest, opposition parties will continue boycotting the elections, and
the courts will continue ruling against the overt criminality carried
out by the regime while it clings to power. 



While
some may wonder why the courts hadn’t ruled Thaksin’s Puea Thai Party
ineligible to run for office back in 2011, the answer is quite simple.
Impunity. Thaksin Shinawatra is a multi-billionaire backed by some of
the largest lobbying firms on Earth – he himself serving the
corporate-financier interests of Wall Street and London for well over a
decade. However, with the current massive and protracted protests, this
impunity has been whittled away – thus giving the courts a rare window
of opportunity to apply the rule of law and hold accountable an
otherwise unaccountable, authoritarian dictatorship. 



The Waiting Game



While
the regime claims the court’s rulings constitute a “judicial coup,”
this is no different than a criminal hollering at a judge as they’re
dragged away to a well-deserved jail sentence. Washington’s lobbyists
will continue spinning the news to suit the regime, but on the ground in
Thailand, the regime has no support base left and further alienates the
Thai people with each and everyday it insists on clinging to power. 



It
has utterly failed to cobble together any sort of substantial
counter-rally. Many of its once stalwart supporters – particularly rice
farmers – are in fact joining the anti-regime protests. While the regime is threatening the prospect of a “civil war,”
demographic statistics taken over the years have definitively proven
that at best, the regime is only capable of carrying out large-scale,
but manageable, terrorism.

The
only factor that is keeping the regime in power is the fact that it is
being driven by Thaksin Shinawatra from abroad along with his foreign
backers – none of whom face any real danger as they direct the chaos
unfolding in Thailand from afar. They believe there is nothing to lose,
no matter how small the odds are of winning may. 


For
Thailand’s protesters, the battle is already won. Time is necessary to
wait for the regime’s residual impunity to crumble away before the
courts and law enforcement can finally sweep it from the pages of Thai
history. In the meantime, the protesters must continue building the
framework for real political reform and pragmatic programs
to address the myriad of political, social, and economic crises created
by over a decade of national mismanagement under Thaksin Shinawatra. 

Massive
one-day rallies will also be carried out by the protesters to remind
both the regime and the people it has wronged that the protesters have
not gone anywhere, and are simply waiting for the regime to collapse
under its own weight. Unlike in Kiev, Ukraine, where armed Neo-Nazis seized the capital, Thailand’s protesters have remained peaceful and patient and must continue to do so.