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Senin, 04 Juli 2011

Yingluck Shinawatra: Global Elites Lose Again After Bombshell Election ...

Yingluck Shinawatra: Global Elites Lose Again After Bombshell Election ...: "What, you haven't been paying attention to the Thai election this weekend? Well, to get you up to speed, exit polls are showing a gigantic v..."

Global Elites Lose Again After Bombshell Election In Thailand

What, you haven't been paying attention to the Thai election this weekend?

Well, to get you up to speed, exit polls are showing a gigantic victory for the Pheu Thai party, a party associated with the former PM (now exiled in Dubai) Thaksin Shinawatra.

The leader of Pheu Thai? His sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, who now looks set to become the country's first female PM.

This result has been expected for awhile, much to the consternation of Bangkok's elites, the army, and the market, which performed poorly in June. Pheu Thai is the populist party of Bangkok's infamous "red shirts".

Bottom line: Like in many places around the world, Thais feel much concern about the state of the economy. Inflation just hit a 32-month high there. A turn against the party of the elites is of potentially huge significance both internally, as well as externally for investors, neighboring countries, foreign companies, etc.

Remember, last year there were huge riots in Bangkok perpetrated by Red Shirts, Pheu Thai's people.



Thai opposition to choose Thaksin's sister for PM

BANGKOK-- A sister of fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra has emerged as a possible opposition candidate for prime minister as elections loom, a party spokesman said Friday.

"Some Puea Thai members are throwing their support behind Yingluck (Shinawatra) (pictured) as one of the party candidates for prime minister but we have to consult and vote at the party's general meeting," said Pormpong Nopparit.

He said the party would pick their candidate after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the leader of the pro-establishment Democrat Party, dissolves parliament, which by law must be done sometime this year.

Thaksin, 61, lives abroad to avoid a jail term for corruption. He remains a deeply divisive figure in Thailand and is wanted on terrorism charges for allegedly inciting anti-government protests in Bangkok last year.

The telecoms tycoon-turned-premier drew wide support from Thailand's rural poor during his time in office but was deposed by a military coup in 2006 and faces allegations of corruption and abuse of power.

He still has many supporters, particularly within the "Red Shirt" opposition movement behind mass street protests in Bangkok in April and May that left more than 90 people dead in clashes between armed troops and demonstrators.

Yingluck, 43, is the youngest of Thaksin's siblings. If elected to office, she would be Thailand's first female prime minister.

She is currently executive president of Thai real estate firm SC Asset Corp.

She is also a former president of the mobile telephone unit of Shin Corp., the telecoms giant founded by Thaksin that was at the centre of a tax scandal over the sale of the family's shares in the group in 2006.

"She's very humble and has good human relations, but it's not the time to say that Yingluck would definitely be our choice," said Noppadon Pattama, a Thai-based legal adviser to Thaksin.

Earlier, local news reports said Thaksin, who is currently based in Dubai, had endorsed former commerce minister Mingkwan Saengsuwan to lead the party.

Puea Thai head Yongyuth Wichaidit, a former bureaucrat, is seen by observers as a caretaker leader lacking popular appeal, with Thaksin wielding the real power from his self-imposed exile.

Perdana Menteri terpilih Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra

Perdana Menteri terpilih Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, akan segera didaulat menjadi perdana menteri wanita pertama di Negeri Gajah Putih. Padahal, dia adalah anak kemarin sore dalam dunia perpolitikan Thailand.

Tapi itu justru yang menjadi keunggulan tersendiri bagi wanita 44 tahun ini. Harian Sin Chew bulan lalu menuliskan keluguan politik Yingluck ditambah dengan kecantikan wajahnya ibarat saling melengkapi. Dua hal ini menjadi perpaduan yang pas dalam daya tarik bagi para pemilih.

Sin Chew menuliskan Yingluck memberikan angin baru dalam peta perpolitikan Thailand yang rumit dan penuh konflik. Rakyat Thailand rindu akan kesederhanaan, bebas dari keruwetan, dan mendobrak semua norma ketat yang ada. Yingluck diharapkan dapat menyatukan dua kubu yang bertikai, Kuning dan Merah, dengan cara yang lebih bersahaja ketimbang adu otot.

Yingluck juga digambarkan sebagai perwakilan yang pas Thailand di publik internasional. Sebagaimana diketahui, untuk memasarkan sebuah produk diperlukan wanita cantik yang membawanya. Yingluck adalah sosok yang tepat untuk menyebarkan keindahan Thailand.

If Thaksin names his sister as Pheau Thai leader, where's the surprise?

The person to be named leader of Pheau Thai Party may, after all, be some one from the Shinawatra family. And the most likely choice, according to some insiders who have met Thaksin Shinawatr, is none other than Yingluck Shinawatra, his very own sister.

Yingluck has effectively been Thaksin's political shadow all along. She has kept a low profile, choosing instead to let the other politicians claiming to be closer to her brother get the limelight.

But with Pheau Thai bordering on a "leadership crisis" because none of the potential leaders has proved very effective, Thaksin appears to be set to officially name Yingluck to the top post in order to put a stop to the brewing battle within the party among a few faction leaders to vie for the top post.

An MP who met Thaksin in Dubai recently said Thaksin will make a "surprise, New Year's announcement" to name the new party leader. If that name is Yingluck, that won't be too much of a surprise. But it will irk those within the party who have been calling for a "proper distance" between Thaksin, his family and the party.

Pheau Thai will have to overcome its infighting before it can set itself ready for the upcoming election. Thaksin's remote control method doesn't seem to have been able to put an end to the confusion.
The person to be named leader of Pheau Thai Party may, after all, be some one from the Shinawatra family. And the most likely choice, according to some insiders who have met Thaksin Shinawatr, is none other than Yingluck Shinawatra, his very own sister.

Yingluck has effectively been Thaksin's political shadow all along. She has kept a low profile, choosing instead to let the other politicians claiming to be closer to her brother get the limelight.

But with Pheau Thai bordering on a "leadership crisis" because none of the potential leaders has proved very effective, Thaksin appears to be set to officially name Yingluck to the top post in order to put a stop to the brewing battle within the party among a few faction leaders to vie for the top post.

An MP who met Thaksin in Dubai recently said Thaksin will make a "surprise, New Year's announcement" to name the new party leader. If that name is Yingluck, that won't be too much of a surprise. But it will irk those within the party who have been calling for a "proper distance" between Thaksin, his family and the party.

Pheau Thai will have to overcome its infighting before it can set itself ready for the upcoming election. Thaksin's remote control method doesn't seem to have been able to put an end to the confusion.

MINGKWAN SAENGSUWAN OUSTED FOR YINGLUCK SHINAWATRA

As I predicted early in the Thai Election race Mingkwan Saengsuwan has failed to satisfy Puea Thai Party leader Thaksin Shinawatra.

The battle is now on for control of Puea Thai and that has become the most interesting contest in Thailand right now as the election will result in a strong win for Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Abhisit Vejjajiva was assured victory once Thaksin Shinawatra proclaimed to the world he was well and truly in charge at Puea Thai.

The proclamation made victory for Puea Thai an impossibility, Thaksin Shinawatra jumped bail and has been sentenced to 2 years jail, he was found guilty of corruption and about $1.4bUSD was confiscated.

Given these are the facts in the case, even if the charming and talented Yingluck Shinawatra was to perform a miracle and win the vote, that vote, the Puea Thai Party and Yingluck would face a barrage of court cases they could not win.

1. Thaksin Shinawatra is barred from local politics, his involvement with Puea Thai may make the party illegal.

2. Where is Puea Thai Party funding coming from?, any of that funding traced back to Thaksin would leave the Party facing a ban from politics.

3. What is the source of Yinglucks funds and can they be linked to Thaksin making her chance to run the nation impossible.

Abhisit’s only danger is if Mingkwan Saengsuwan is ousted and forms his own party with his supporters, unlike Puea Thai, Mingkwan Saengsuwan has an platform and policies.

Abhisit is expected to dissolve parliament in early May, paving the way for polls by either late June or early July. Preliminary opinion polls show a neck-and-neck race, though no party is expected to win an outright majority and would likely require smaller coalition partners to form a government.

Puea Thai will remain marginalized until they end their relationship with Thaksin Shinawatra.

Korbsak Sabhavasu, the Democrat’s top election strategist, predicts his party will fare better than it did in 2007, when it placed second to the Puea Thai’s Thaksin-aligned predecessor, the People’s Power Party. He believes the Puea Thai’s leadership crisis has worked to the Democrat’s and Abhisit’s electoral advantage. Recent electoral amendments that call for more party list and fewer constituency parliamentarians and ongoing gerrymandering are also expected to benefit Democrat candidates, he said.

The party is riding a high economic tide, with gross domestic product growth bouncing from -2.3% in 2009 to 7.8% last year – though rising inflation in recent months has taken much of the shine off that credential. Korbsak believes that the government’s pro-poor policies, including a rice price support scheme for farmers, monthly payments to the elderly and a raft of price caps and subsidies, will dull the appeal of Thaksin’s past populist offerings and win his party more grass-roots support.

Will Thailand have a female prime minister?

The news that Yingluck Shinawatra, younger sister of deposed Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra, is about to go head-to-head in the duel for the Thai premiership with Abhisit Vejjajiva is interesting for a few reasons. The most obvious is that Thailand has never had a female prime minister. Looking around the Western world, most countries haven't had female leaders. The one that springs to mind, for obvious reasons, is Margaret Thatcher. When one views Southeast Asia as a region, however, a slightly different story emerges, and when South Asia is also taken into account, notable patterns emerge that might help us see why having Yingluck as the top candidate on Pheu Thai's list is a shrewd move in the run up to polls on July 3.

At first glance, Yingluck doesn't appear to be prime minister material and, indeed, a recent ABAC poll was telling in this respect:

Mr Abhisit was beaten by Ms Yingluck, one of Pheu Thai Party's would-be candidates for the premiership and the younger sister of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in one area _ wealth and business achievements.

[Abhisit] outperformed Ms Yingluck in temper control (53.7%-9.7% ), politeness (50.1%-13%), domestic and international recognition (49.6%- 11.3%), good conduct (49.6%- 9.8%), kindness (48.2%-13.1%), leadership (48.1%-12.9%), ability (47.9%-10.9%), political ethics (46.9%-11%), vision (46.8%- 15.2%), sacrifice for the country (44%-11.9%), honesty (42.9%- 10.3%), fairness (41.4%-10.6%), decisiveness (40.1%-19%) and problem-solving (38.8%-14.3%).

Looking at those stats at face value, it's hard to imagine how Yingluck could make a serious bid for the top spot. But if patterns in nearby countries are anything to go by, the above stats might not make a difference, particularly as Pheu Thai's campaign unravels.

Ms Yingluck has a strength that lies in her feminine, gentle qualities, her ability to coordinate and reconcile and her image as a successful businesswoman. The party can campaign for her as the country's first female prime minister and observers feel this would draw the support of many voters. (Bangkok Post)

Thailand is going through something of a (potential) democratic transformation. The coup in 2006 was a major blow for liberal democracy in the Land of Smiles and the past five or so years have seen elite power struggles play out with little regard for Western democratic values. The forthcoming election is a major test for Thai democracy and given how undemocratic the past five years have been, this could be a turning point, and leading the charge will be Yingluck.

At this point I'm tempted to draw comparisons with Aung San Suu Kyi, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Megawati, three women who have either led their respective countries or the main opposition parties in those countries at chaotic times, acting as potential agents of change under repressive regimes. One thing they all have in common is a family connection, either with a national hero or a figure regarded as a symbol of freedom. Yingluck's brother, Thaksin, is a hero to millions in Thailand, most notably the rural poor who benefited from Thai Rak Thai's populist policies. Even Thaksin's infamous War on Drugs was extremely popular in-country. Tens of thousands of red shirt protesters have gathered at various points during the past few years in the hope of Thaksin making a return.

Suu Kyi, Wan Aziah and Megawati have overcome gender stereotypes in their respective countries by appealing to non-violence, democracy, peace and motherliness. More importantly, each of those women more or less fell into politics with no prior experience, so it therefore shouldn't be seen as a hindrance that Yingluck can't compete with Abhisit in that respect. If anything, it's an advantage, and given the violence that erupted in the streets of Bangkok last year, if ever there were a perfect time for an angel-faced symbol of non-violence to emerge, it's now.

At times of chaos, Southeast Asian voters have typically shown that they favour the moral, calming symbols of women as leaders. Yingluck is going to do near exactly the same as those before her. All four women are like non-political, non-threatening advocates of “his” cause. Yingluck is like the ultimate symbol of nostalgia for a large percentage of Thailand's population.

She fits the stereotype of the region's female leaders. She is from an elite background, she has strong feminine qualities, she is educated, she is a potential agent of change, people will listen to her because of her family ties and she will likely be a timid leader. What's unique in the Thai case is that Thailand is split roughly down the middle on whether or not to accept a Thaksin-led party leading the nation. Thaksin is still very much in the picture, unlike Aung San or Sukarno, although Anwar Ibrahim was still in the frame when Wan Aziah was opposition leader.

Other female leaders who we may wish to draw comparisons with, particularly in terms of family ties, common characteristics, backgrounds and suchlike, include Corazon Aquino, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Indira Ghandi, Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Khaleda Zia, Benazir Bhutto. I'm not saying that Yingluck is any better or worse than these women, but my point here is that I would not be surprised if Yingluck becomes incredibly popular, especially in the countryside, and goes on to play a significant role in Thailand's near future. The Bangkok population, however, will likely not welcome Yingluck with open arms.

Yingluck will portray herself as fighting to secure justice for, and upholding the honour of, self-exiled Thaksin, just as Suu Kyi did for Aung San, Megawati did for Sukarno, Wan Aziah did for Anwar and so on. I'm not for one minute suggesting that Thaksin should be compared to Aung San and the like, but the point remains that Thaksin is revered by a great many people who would welcome his return.

It's also worth noting that there is something of a collective memory of prominent female rulers in South and Southeast Asia that supports the argument that it's not unfathomable for these countries to be led by women in the modern era. We might also consider that at certain points, certain conditions in society are met that favour female leadership. Historically, as today, these female rulers act as a counterweight to the tyranny of male rulers. In this case the "tyrant" is, ironically, Abhisit, and not Thaksin. We therefore shouldn't fall into the trap of thinking that having a female leader in Thailand is excessively far out of the ordinary and that it in fact might be the most logical conclusion from this point on.

In many ways, it would be a positive for Thailand to have its first female prime minister, but we should be under no illusion that this is not simply the next move by Thaksin in his drawn-out bid to regain power and return to his home country. Furthermore, female rulers in South and Southeast Asia have not typically done much to develop women's rights in their respective countries, so don't get too excited about the prospects of gender issues being pushed forward.

Whether or not Yingluck's candidacy will be enough to overcome animosity held towards "radical United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) running on Puea Thai's party ticket" is another question, but there is certainly the potential for her presence to be a game changer not only because she is Thaksin's sister.

Also, a quick note on how the election system works:

With the constitutional amendments, the total number of members of the House of Representatives will increase from 480 to 500 in the July 3 general election. The country’s electoral system for members of the House of Representatives is also changed from a multi-seat constituency to a single-seat constituency system, with a seat apportionment formula of 375 single-constituency MPs and 125 MPs from a single nationwide proportional representation instead of multiple lists for each electoral district.