Thai PM's lack of leadership blamed for political crisis

THAILAND - Institute of Public Policy Studies chairman Chai-anan Samudavanija said he attributed the resumption of political turbulence to a lack of leadership on the part of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

"The prevailing political crisis has occurred because the country has a leader with low intellect who is a puppet of another," he said.

Separately, Future Innovative Thailand Institute chairman Surin Pitsuwan yesterday proposed that voters push for national reform via voting in the next general election. Surin, a former ASEAN secretary-general, said political parties should announce their stance related to national reform during the election campaign.

Speaking at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Political Science, Chai-anan reminded relevant parties of the need to reflect on the crisis.

Past protests erupted to oppose military dictatorship, he said, adding that this time around protests persist despite the existence of democratic rule and an elected government.

He called for a rethink of the political system, arguing that elections do not guarantee a government's legitimacy, due to rampant vote buying.

"The elected government's credibility is at its lowest ebb; protesters carry on their activities despite the [government's] pledge to abandon the push for amnesty," Chai-anan said.

The Democrats might pour into the streets for their own political reasons, but the point was that large crowds joined them in order to voice dissatisfaction with the government, which they believe is geared to serve vested interests, he said.

The push for the amnesty bill was an example of the use of majority rule to favour one group of individuals, he said.

Chai-anan said this was why political polarisation had deepened and turned into a fierce rivalry centring on one individual, Thaksin Shinawatra.

He went on to point out that amid the crisis, the fabric of society was being torn asunder by an unprecedented movement to attack the monarchy.

The country is facing a precarious dilemma, he said, as loyalty to the King, once seen as the nation's unifying force, is being undermined while the government leader is being propped up as a puppet, he said.