Thursday, December 05, 2013

Thailand, Ukraine, ... Egypt

A bad example can be dangerous.

Kasit Piromya, a former Foreign Minister, who also makes his anti-government views clear here, on Al Jazeera English (2/12 13:33), or Tunisia, and speaks of what The Economist calls "zombie democracy" or majoritarianism. The Economist did indeed have a piece, 22/6, called Zombie democracy, but it references not or Tunisia (let alone ), but Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey.

On the BBC's  "World Have Your Say" somebody says that he is more an expert on rather than , but he sees striking parallels between the two: "you have to make up your mind, do you want democracy or not?" (podcast, 2/12 listen).

In  the protests aim to replace the government with an unelected "People's Council" (  , ). One protester said, "We don't want to dissolve parliament, we don't want new elections because we will lose anyway. We want [the Shinawatra family] to leave the country."

The case against the Shinawatras (Yingluck and Thaksin) seems to boil down to this: that they enacted populist policies to "buy votes". One commenter on Piromya's piece responded, "please, stop insulting your fellow Thai rural poor that they are so stupid and so cheap that they can be so easily bought off with Thaksin money."

seems to be a similar case, he opposition not only have a stronger cause for complaint - President Yanukovych promised to take the country closer to the European Union and then backed away from a trade deal under pressure from Vladimir Putin; they also seemed willing to enter into talks proposed by the speaker of parliament and sought a no-confidence vote against the government (now lost). Their aim seems to be to get the government and president to resign, to be followed by early elections which they are confident of winning. Even if that does not happen, reports indicate that Yanukovych has lost support, which would lessen his chances of reelection in 2015. But the "Orange revolution" opposition is notoriously divided and has rapidly lost popularity once in office.

Not much has been heard so far in this crisis of Viktor Yuschenko. Wikipedia reminds us that Yushchenko gained 5.45% of the vote in the 2010 presidential election and his  party won 1.11% of the vote in the 2012 parliamentary elections; In 2008 his popularity as president plunged to less than 10%.

Yuschenko, along with 2 other former presidents, has now backed the anti-government protests (4/12).

 Updated 6 Dec 2013.


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