Thai academics have renewed efforts to push Thaksin out of office to end the political stalemate.
The Bangkok Post reported that about 50 lecturers from more than 10 universities met “to discuss the political conflict and decided the solution was Mr Thaksin's resignation and that the so-called Thaksin system must be destroyed.” The tactics would include the boycott of Thaksin's initiatives and to campaign with “other groups to encourage people to exercise the "vote-no-vote" right in the April 2 election”, as well as “educating people about the law, civic movements, and the role of the free media, local administrative bodies and independent organisations.”
Banjerd Sinthudecha (Thammasat University, faculty of law) went so far as to describe Thaksin as a dictator who was worse than Adolf Hitler. "What makes Mr Thaksin different from Adolf Hitler was that Hitler did not do things for his own benefit… Hitler killed Jews but he did several things for his country. He was more useful for the country than Mr Thaksin was… [Moreover] the Thaksin system could bring the country to an end.”
Things are worsening now that the Democrat party has accused Thai Rak Thai Party of electoral fraud. “The prime minister has 24 hours to do something [about the wrongdoing]. Otherwise, I will expose other deputy [Thai Rak Thai] party leaders who have committed similar misdeeds,” said Democrat secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban.
A witness for the alleged fraud, Chawakan Tosawat (leader of a group of entrepreneurs and a member of the Pattana Chart Thai party), was reported by the Bangkok Post that “a man claiming to represent Gen. Thammarak gave him bundles of cash amounting to 900,000 baht to cover the cost of fielding 86 candidates under Pattana Chart Thai”. Chawakan said, “We were told not to conduct campaigning until the final 10 days before April 2. Senior people would get things done and ensure some of us became MPs… Personally, I was offered the chair of a House Committee.”
In any case, while the Election Commission has yet to confirm whether to postpone the snap election because of the dubious status of the potential candidates, Thaksin seems adamant that it will go on as planned. Despite the latest Abac poll showing that almost 40 per cent of the 1552 respondents wanted a postponement of the poll, at least 48 per cent have said they would vote. Additionally, 37 per cent said they were uncertain while 15 per cent would stay away. About 47 per cent disagreed with the opposition's electoral boycott of the election and 44.7 per cent believed the election would be fair.
The political crisis may be impeding the handling of the southern conflict. Deputy Commissioner of the Ninth Police Region Maj.-General Thani Thawidsri said “Bermudor” (“Youth” in Malay) was behind the recent attack on a local government building in Pattani, killing six people. The Nation reported Thai intelligence officials as saying that most Bermudor members were a new generation of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), a grass-roots separatist group that emerged in the late 1960s.
TRT given ultimatum (Bangkok Post, 20 March 2006)
Academics agree on plan to oust PM (Bangkok Post, 20 March 2006)
PM seems unshaken by possible problems (Bangkok Post, 20 March 2006)
48 per cent of Bangkokians would vote: survey (The Nation, 20 March 2006)
Middle class has paid for PM's popularity (The Nation, 20 March 2006)
Police in South think attack on office in Pattani was by insurgent youth wing (The Nation, 20 March 2006)
Down South they're pretty rabid as well (The Nation, 20 March 2006)
Thaksin loses royal duty (The Nation, 20 March 2006)