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Rule for Isaan: don't condemn Thaksin
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  1. #1
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    Rule for Isaan: don't condemn Thaksin

    Rule for Isaan: don't condemn Thaksin

    Ex-Thai Rak Thai MPs cannot afford to abandon 'attractive' populist policies of former ruling party.

    There are two things election candidates aspiring to win in the Northeast should keep in mind. First, do not think about attacking ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Second, do not announce an alliance with the Democrat Party.

    Instead candidates should cling to and propagate the "attractive" populist policies of the former ruling Thai Rak Thai Party in their campaigns.

    The Northeast is one of the most important election areas. The region has the most constituency seats - about one-third of the 400, or 135. Parties which sweep most seats in this region normally win the majority of House seats and can become the core party in forming a government.

    In the 2001 and 2005 elections Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai swept most seats there. Obviously, voters were attracted to and satisfied with its populist policies. For the first time in Thai political history, Thai Rak Thai proved a party could deliver its policies. The region became its stronghold.

    When the party was banned, some of its former MPs in the Isaan area fled to other parties. But no matter which party they now belong to - People Power (PPP), which is the incarnation of Thai Rak Thai, or Puea Pandin, Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana or Matchima Thipataya - they cannot abandon the populist policies in their campaigns.

    Some even have photos of Thaksin with the candidates and tell voters that "they are the real Thai Rak Thai".

    Kuthep Saikrajang, the PPP spokesman, said the election campaign in the Northeast was not really an ideological battle against the Democrats to become the next government.

    He said when allies of the Democrats campaign there they do not attack the PPP but tactically ride on his party's favoured policies to gain an edge.

    "Such a tactic makes voters confused. They don't know what is real and what is not. We are now fighting alone," Kuthep said.

    He said some candidates of Puea Pandin in Maha Sarakham were using Thaksin's photo in their campaigns.

    Matchima Thipataya has clung to populist policies in its campaign, said Chuchai Mung-jaroenporn, a close aide of Somsak Thepsuthin and associate of the party.

    "We cannot deny that we have developed the populist policies of the defunct Thai Rak Thai for our campaign, such as debt moratorium or rice price insurance. I think it's OK as every party [which broke away from the defunct Thai Rak Thai] is doing the same," he said.

    Wichai Chaijitwanichkul, one of the 111 banned Thai Rak Thai executives who advises Puea Pandin, said he was not concerned that the party had to fight candidates who used to be comrades at Thai Rak Thai.

    "The real politician will realise there are no true friends or permanent foes in politics. We might today break up but we could reunite in the future," he said.

    However, Wichai said the battle in the Northeast in this election was a battle of individual candidates, not a party's name.

    "It's not that the PPP or the transformation of Thai Rak Thai has a better chance to win the election. That's because Isaan people don't like Samak [Sundaravej, the PPP leader]. They know that if they elect Samak, Thaksin will not become PM," he said.

    Even Chart Thai leader Banharn Silapa-archa is desperate to win a few MP seats in PPP's stronghold.

    Last week he went to campaign in the Northeast. Not only did he not attack Thaksin but also backed off from promising to join with the Democrats to form the next coalition.

    Banharn realises the Democrats are regarded by voters in the Northeast as a party for southern people, so it would not be his party's advantage to tie up with the Democrats.

    Moreover, when he addressed the crowd in Khon Kaen he let there be no doubt he and Thaksin were friends. He has helped Thaksin ever since the deposed premier began his telecom business.

    Premsak Piayura, a new Chart Thai candidate, pleaded for Khon Kaen voters not to judge him as a betrayer of Thaksin.

    It had been alleged he was involved in a plot to overthrow Thaksin when he quit Thai Rak Thai shortly before the April 2 poll last year in order to enter the monkhood. The move left Thai Rak Thai in a position of being unable to replace him, as the deadline for registration had passed.

    Premsak said he did not leave Thaksin to go somewhere else. Instead, the ex-premier had left him to go to London and he could not follow him to such a faraway place.

    The Democrats have rarely campaigned in Thai Rak Thai's heartland as they are aware that they cannot refrain from attacking their fierce rivals, the PPP.

    Democrat secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban, an outspoken politician and a key Democrat member, once said he did not want to campaign in the Northeast "because Isaan people don't like kaeng tai pla [a traditional southern-style curry dish]".

    Budsarakham Sinlapalavan,

    Kesinee Jaikawang

    The Nation

  2. #2
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    Re: Rule for Isaan: don't condemn Thaksin

    My mom hates him. LOL So, we cannot talk politics in da house. lol Wonder if that was the reason she moved. lol
    Don't just love him, but show him

  3. #3
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    Re: Rule for Isaan: don't condemn Thaksin

    I hope she did not move to this area, he ie a local 'lad'!
    Having said that, family divisions are jusr as pronounced in our household, my nephew being a devoted 'Taxinite', while his wife is very much anti!
    One of the first warnings the children gave uncle when he moved in, "Don't talk politics at home!"
    To be happy with where you are, first be happy with who you are.

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