11 July 2024

The March-24 general election sees not only a huge number of first-time voters but also a large number of young politicians making their political debut.

Representatives of five political parties, having thrown their hat into the political ring for the first time, took part in a forum organized by Thai PBS Friday night to share their views on Thailand’s political future.  Most agreed that there is a need to learn from past political conflicts and that they shouldn’t be treated merely as a “political decoration.”

Tida Yingcharoen of Pheu Thai Party insisted that no single group of people should bear all the blame for what happened in the past.    Tida said there were several factors that contributed to the conflicts.

“One factor is that people in power didn’t listen to the voice of the people. And another factor is that each of the competing sides was bent on beating the others without considering the interest of the society,” Tida said.

Chris Potranandana from Future Forward party stated that it is impossible to resolve the lingering conflicts without looking back to see what actually happened. “ We have lived with the political conflicts for over 10 years because the democratic concept that all citizens are equal has been forgotten,” Chris said.

He also added that though everyone wants to move forward, there is a need not to overlook previous mistakes.

Tete Techapatsiri of Ruampalang Prachachart Thai party noted that Thai people had enjoyed democracy since the enactment of the 1997 constitution, generally known as “People’s Constitution,” until the advent of the so-called parliamentary dictatorship – an apparent reference to the Thaksin government.  Tete declared that one of his party’s platforms is to eliminate capitalist cronyism which was responsible for the economic ills and social inequality in the country.

Parit Wacharasindhu of the Democrat party, reasoned that he joined the country’s oldest political party because of its stance toward liberal democracy.   “Election process is only part of the democratic system.  But what is also crucial for liberal democracy is effective check-and-balance mechanisms”, Parit said.

Thanikan Pornpongsaroj, a representative from Palang Pracharat party, said that the reason she decided to jump into politics is because she is fed up with the colour-coded politics.   “But merely criticizing what is going on is not enough,” she said.