Friday, September 20, 2019

Thai election impasse? Look to Europe for inspiration

May 12. 2019
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Imagine a national football league in which all games have been played, all wins, losses, goals for and against have been recorded, and yet no one can work out who came top.

Or imagine you have just beaten your boxing opponent to a pulp, then knocked him out, and the referee lifts the arm of the unconscious bloodied heap on the canvas and tells you, “Oh, he got a lot of points in the previous rounds, so he wins the prize belt, not you. Sod off.” 

Thailand has completed a general election and it beggars belief that now, weeks after the event, there is an undignified squabble to determine what the ground rules were. I may be going out on a limb here, but, er, why did no one think of finalising and establishing the seat allocation formula BEFORE the vote? Did no one conduct any “what-if” spreadsheet scenarios to ensure that the chosen system was robust?

To get out of its hole and engineer a result that satisfies the junta, I suggest the Election Commission look for inspiration overseas. Europe’s democracy has developed over almost three millennia, and England’s “mother of parliaments” is esteemed as a beacon of global excellence. It works like this. You run an election over and over again until you get the answer you want. If you don’t manage to get it because the ignorant, filthy, unwashed electorate obstinately cling to a perverse alternative view, you whistle loudly, look the other way, ignore the entire exercise, and carry on regardless. It works for UK, so why not give it a try here?

Nigel Pike

Phang Nga

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