Thai protesters run their own, informal no-confidence poll

Thailand’s anti-government protesters are gathering support again as the country’s restrictions allow them to gather in groups and protest against the Prayut government. Now they’re running their own mock no-confidence poll as a real no-confidence debate is about to start in the Thai parliament tomorrow.

Yesterday, the Ratsadon (The People) group started collecting ‘votes’ for its own, informal no-confidence motion against Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. A formal no convince debate will be held, starting tomorrow, in the Thai parliament, led by the opposition Move Forward and Pheu Thai political parties.

The Ratsadon group announced is collecting signatures in 140 venues in 34 Thai provinces “to give people a chance to vote out the Thai PM”.

“We may lose faith in the votes in Parliament and lose hope in the coalition, the Constitution, and in the justice system, but we can’t lose hope in our own voices.”

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The Ratsadon group includes students (both secondary and university), academics, and members of the Thai general public. It kicked off in 2020, just as the Thai government lifted its first series of lockdowns in August that year, to campaign against PM Prayut, and his government, and to support reforms of the Thai constitution, including the role of the Head of State.

At the time, the references to the Thai Monarchy and a direct public attack on the highest institution in Thailand had never before been uttered in a public space. The Prayut government cracked down on the groups, arresting the leaders using the blunt tools of Thailand’s Lese Majeste rules and the Covid-19 rules about the “assembly of groups,” to limit their activities.

At its peak, the group, by then enlisting other disenfranchised interest groups from around the country, held a mass rally outside Government House on October 14, 2020. The ‘sit in’ followed a march involving thousands of participants from the Democracy Monument to the Government House property.

The rally was violently dispersed the following morning, with riot police using tear gas and rubber bullets. The protest leaders were arrested, including Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panasaya “Rung” Sittijirawattanakul, and human-rights lawyer Arnon Nampa.

Speaking about the latest protest, and collecting signatures for their informal no-confidence vote, the group said they will count and submit their votes from around the country on Friday and submit them to the MPs before the actual no-confidence vote which is scheduled to take place on Saturday.

But a government spokesman, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, says he believes the protesters and the opposition MPs’ votes of no-confidence will back-fire, saying that the Thai people think that the opposition parties are just adding confusion and not presenting any concrete evidence.

“I think opposition MPs stand to lose the next election because they will be seen by voters as causing confusion instead of supporting the country’s development.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tim Newton

Tim joined The Thaiger as one of its first employees in 2018 as an English news writer/editor and then began to present The Thaiger's Daily news show in 2020, Thailand News Today (or TNT for short). He has lived in Thailand since 2011, having relocated from Australia.

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