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06BANGKOK1475 THAI SNAP ELECTION REGISTRATION ENDS; A PREVIEW OF THE CONTEST

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“55884”,”3/9/2006 10:33″,”06BANGKOK1475″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,”06BANGKOK1301″,

“This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

091033Z Mar 06

“,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 001475

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/09/2016

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, TH, SNAP Elections, Political Parties, Thai Prime Minister, TRT – Thai Rak Thai

SUBJECT: THAI SNAP ELECTION REGISTRATION ENDS; A PREVIEW OF

THE CONTEST

 

REF: BANGKOK 001301

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR RALPH L. BOYCE. REASON 1.4 (B,D)

 

1. (C) Summary. Candidate registration for the April 2 snap

election has ended. Despite the three major opposition

parties\’ boycott, seventeen smaller, unknown parties joined

Prime Minister Thaksin\’s Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party in

registering. More importantly, these smaller parties have

registered candidates to run against TRT in traditional

opposition strongholds, which means that TRT candidates in

those races will not have to win 20 percent of all eligible

voters on election day–a scenario which threatens to block

formation of a new government. That said, the main

opposition parties that are boycotting the election are now

challenging the credentials of the smaller parties and their

candidates. The battle of the election lawyers begins now.

End Summary.

 

NOT SO-LATE REGISTRATION

————————

 

2. (SBU) Registration for the April 2 snap elections ended

March 8. Eighteen parties, including Thaksin\’s Thai Rak Thai

(TRT) party, registered candidates (a full list follows

comment below) for the 500 member House race. Only eight

parties registered candidates for the 100 party list seats at

stake; 938 candidates registered for the other 400

constituency seats at stake. Thai Rak Thai was the only

party to register for all 100 party list and 400 constituency

seats. The Democrat, Mahachon and Chat Thai parties (the

only parties besides TRT in the just-disbanded parliament)

held to their boycott and did not register any candidates.

 

3. (SBU) So who are these other parties? None held seats in

the previous parliament. Only one other outfit–former

Bangkok governor Samak\’s Prachakorn Thai–has any real

history or reputation. The rest are personal parties for

political gadflies or fringe causes. Most are running no

more than a handful of candidates. Five parties that did not

compete in the February 2005 elections are running

candidates: Thamma Thippatai (Moral Democracy), Chiwit

Thidikwa (Better Life), Sayam (Siam), Pracha Tippatai Kaona

(Progressive Democratic), and Phoen Kasettakon Thai (Friends

of Thai Agriculture). Of these, Pracha Tippatai Kaona and

Sayam are the only two with more than a handful of

candidates, with 37 and 28 candidates, respectively.

 

THAI RAK THAI TRIES TO DODGE A BULLET

————————————-

 

4. (C) As reftel noted, Thai Rak Thai\’s dominance in the

April 2 vote is a foregone conclusion. The key variable is

the presence of non-TRT candidates in the 38 constituencies

where TRT received less than 20 percent of the vote in the

February 2005 election. To recap: in the case of at least

two candidates running for a constituent seat, a simple

plurality wins. If a candidate runs unopposed in an

electoral district, however, he or she must win at least 20

percent of eligible voters in that district. In the 2005

election, TRT drew less than 20 percent of the vote in 38

constituencies. But with the major opposition parties

boycotting the contest, TRT will either have to beat their

results in all 38 of those districts, or get one of the minor

parties to run a candidate in those districts (thus making

the 20 percent rule inapplicable). If even one constituency

does not produce a valid winner, it would be impossible to

seat the House and form a new government. If that were the

case, a special by-election for the unfilled seats would be

held a week later, and repeated ad infinitum until the seat

is filled. (Note. In 2001, two rounds of back-to-back voting

had to be held before a government could be formed. End Note)

Throughout this process, Thaksin would remain caretaker

Prime Minister, but any delay in forming a new government

would only add to the political uncertainty.

 

5. (C) TRT is trying to sidestep this problem. Thai Rak Thai

candidates will run unopposed in 131 out of the 400

constituencies, but our initial analysis indicates that these

are \”safe\” districts, where the PM\’s party will easily get

more than 20 percent of eligible voters. In fact–whether

the product of TRT direction and funding or not–the small

parties participating in the snap election seem to have more

candidates in areas more difficult for Thaksin and TRT. In

the Democrat party stronghold of the South, 225 candidates

are running for 59 seats. In the central region (including

Bangkok), 360 candidates are competing for 130 seats. In

Thaksin\’s home region in the North, however, only 115

candidates are running for 75 seats.

 

BUT THE ELECTION DROPOUTS CRY FOUL

———————————-

 

6. (C) The boycott bloc is trying to derail an easy TRT

victory by challenging the small party candidates\’

qualifications. Some politicians are alleging that TRT has

recruited unqualified people (either not members of their

party for 90 days prior to registration or not tied to the

province as the law requires) to run against them as

strawmen. Democrat Party executive member Pichet

Phanvichartkul delivered a letter to the Election Commission

(EC) yesterday asking for an investigation of several parties

and their candidates. EC Chairman Wassana Permlarp told

reporters that he had ordered local election officials to

conduct a thorough examination of all candidates. Septel

will detail further Democrat Party allegations of TRT and

small party collusion.

 

COMMENT–WHEN LAWYERS ATTACK

—————————-

 

7. (C) TRT is trying to avoid a painful series of run-off

elections, but the boycott bloc\’s lawyers are pushing back.

If the Democrat Party and their cohorts can disqualify even a

handful of candidates in the South or Bangkok, they could

prolong the voting process, resulting in prolongation of the

stalemate. That said, this scenario supposes that TRT (and

the smaller parties) have indeed cut corners with their

candidates and registration documents. We can expect a

number of technical legal challenges in the ensuing days.

 

Parties Registered for the April 2, 2006 snap election:

 

Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais)

100 party list, 400 constituency candidates

Kasettakon Thai (Thai Agriculture)

7 party list, 20 constituency candidates

Phalang Prachahon (Force of the People)

5 party list, 9 constituency candidates

Prachakon Thai (Thai Citizens)

27 party list, 82 constituency candidates

Phaen Din Thai (Land of Thai)

5 party list, 120 constituency candidates

Thai Chuay Thai (Thais Help Thais)

13 party list, 66 constituency candidates

Phattana Chatthai (Thai National Development)

5 party list, 30 constituency candidates

Thamma Thippatai (Moral Democracy)

5 party list, 4 constituency candidates

Kasikon Thai (Thai Farmers)

0 party list, 1 constituency candidates

Kritthai Mangkhong (Thai Solidarity Might)

0 party list, 2 constituency candidates

Chiwit Thidikwa (Better Life)

0 part list, 2 constituency candidates

Sayam (Siam)

0 party list, 28 constituency candidates

Kit Sangkhom (Social Action)

0 party list, 9 constituency candidates

Pracha Thippatai Kaona (Progressive Democracy)

0 party list, 37 constituency candidates

Khon Kho Plot Ni (Debt-Relief Seekers)

0 party list, 113 constituency candidates

Phoen Kasettakon Thai (Friends of Thai Agriculture)

0 party list, 8 constituency candidates

Phalang Tham (Force of Dharma)

0 party list, 3 constituency candidates

Rak Phaen Din Thai (Thai Land Conservation)

0 party list, 3 constituency candidates

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 10, 2011 at 4:40 am

Posted in Confidential, Election

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