In my very first New Mandala post (from June 2006) I wrote:
Many of Thailand’s pro-democracy commentators seem to be promoting a form of democracy-lite in which democracy is embodied in bureaucratic institutions based in Bangkok. Popular election by all Thai people is an inconvenient add-on that hampers the potential for benign leadership from Bangkok, whether it be in its bureaucratic, Royal, military or even academic form.
Now, in the post-coup climate, some of the details of “democracy-lite” are starting to emerge. A few days ago we had Prawase Wasi’s proposal for downgrading the power of politicians. And today, Bangkok Pundit has a great post about the latest academic proposals for non-electoral democracy. Thank goodness Thailand is well supplied with these great academic thinkers because those silly villagers seem to have the crazy idea that “democracy is equivalent to elections.”