Thailand - Security and politics

…and can announce that New Mandala‘s inaugural Thai political theory competition was a very close run thing. In the end, there was only one vote between the top three theories. When polling closed at 5 pm (Canberra time) on Thursday, 14 November, the tallies were:

1. Veerayooth Kanchoochat – 29 votes in favour

2. Patrick Jory – 28 votes in favour

2. Tom Hoy – 28 votes in favour

That’s about as close a race as it’s possible to imagine. The late run by Khun Nuat Namman won’t impact the final results although I note that if the competition had closed today, rather than at 5 pm on Thursday, he would have enjoyed a lead of one vote.

A copy of Thailand’s Political Peasants will be winging its way to Veerayooth shortly.

Given the quality of submissions we quite like the idea of running further competitions. If you’d like to suggest a topic for such a contest of ideas please feel free to leave a comment here or write directly to the usual place.

For 2013 New Mandala‘s winning theory about what’s going on in Thai politics is:

Banharn had it 16, Chavalit 12, Samak 8, and Somchai 3. Aside from Thaksin, the duration of months Bangkokians could bear elected prime ministers has never been high. Yet, I put the Democrat leaders in a different category for a reason. And if you want to know, Chuan survived 33 and 39 for his two spells, while Abhisit, despite all the chaos, inherited 32 months.

From this numerical perspective, Yingluck has done quite well as she is now approaching her 28th month. But then it is getting closer to another milestone, the 31st month during which Chatichai was toppled by the coup in 1991

Leaving all political-economic rationales behind, I like to propose my half-baked argument: the “monthly threshold” of Bangkokians for elected prime ministers. In the post-1980 period, the average duration of administrations led by traditional elites, including the Democrats, is approximately 30 months (Prem, Anand I and II, Suchinda, Chuan I and II, Surayud, and Abhisit) , one-and-a-half times the 20 months of the “normally elected” governments (Chatichai, Banharn, Chavalit, Thaksin I and II, Samak, and Somchai).

Veerayooth Kanchoochat