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Loser Take All: The Democrats' Playbook to Steal the Election

Loser Take All: The Democrats' Playbook to Steal the Election

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Published by Robert Amsterdam
The fifth and final installment in the Thailand 2011 General Election Series focuses on the unlawful and undemocratic forced dissolutions of political parties by the current Thai leadership.
The fifth and final installment in the Thailand 2011 General Election Series focuses on the unlawful and undemocratic forced dissolutions of political parties by the current Thai leadership.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Robert Amsterdam on Jun 21, 2011
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10/18/2011

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LOSER TAKE ALL
THE DEMOCRATS’ PLAYBOOK TO STEAL THE ELECTION
AMSTERDAM & PEROFF LLP
TH A I L A N D
2011 GENERAL ELECTION REPORT SERIES, NO. 5
 
One year ago, the Royal Thai Government massacred al-most ninety people to avoid an early election it feared itmight lose. Finally, the early general elections for whichdozens of Red Shirts gave their lives are scheduled to takeplace on July 3, 2011. While it is hoped that the electionswill be free of outright fraud and ballot stuffing, the com-petitiveness and fairness of the process are being under-mined in many other ways.The upcoming elections will take place in a context of in-timidation and repression, coupled with the continuingefforts by most of the institutions of the Thai state tosecure a victory for the Democrat Party. Aside from com-peting against a hobbled opposition under rules designto artificially boost its seat share, the Democrat Party willonce again avail itself of the assistance of the military,the bureaucracy, the judiciary, and the royalist establish-ment. These institutions stand ready to commit whatevermoney, administrative resources, and television airtimemight be necessary to haul the otherwise unelectableMark Abhisit over the hump.In this series of reports, Amsterdam & Peroff details theattempts by Thailand’s Establishment to fix the results of the upcoming general elections. This report — the fifth inthe series — focuses on the effort underway to manufac-ture an electoral victory for the Democrats through votersuppression and fraud. Evidence of electoral irregularitiesis also being fabricated against the opposition, should theDemocrat Party need an excuse to remain in office againstthe wishes of Thailand’s recalcitrant electorate.
 
AMSTERDAM & PEROFF | 
2011 GENERAL ELECTION REPORT SERIES, NO. 5 1
 1. INTRODUCTION
The Democrat Party and its allies have made a habit out of rationalizing electiondefeats by accusing the opposition of “fraud” and “vote buying.” Given thatthe Democrats have lost every election in the last decade, the explanationhas had to be proffered repeatedly. Aside from excusing their own poorperformance, the “vote buying” narrative has served important purposes forthe Democrats and the Thai Establishment. Accusations of systemic fraud have been used to devalue the outcomes of free elections, and with that underminethe legitimacy of elected governments and the entire democratic process. Themilitary coup of September 19, 2006 was explicitly justified on that basis,as was the subsequent dissolution of Thai Rak Thai in 2007. Weakening thepublic’s confidence in electoral democracy, moreover, allowed the generalsto write a new constitution that allowed the judiciary to intervene and makesweeping corrections to composition of parliament. It was through thesenew rules, introduced after the coup, that the Constitutional Court dissolvedthe then governing People Power Party and two of its coalition partners in2008. Some portions of Thailand’s Establishment, like the People’s Alliancefor Democracy, have gone so far as to demand that electoral democracy besuspended, based on the idea that electoral and legislative politics is taintedirreparably by corruption and fraud.Aside from justifying authoritarian measures to nullify the outcomes of elections, and limit the electorate’s freedom to vote for candidates of theirchoice, the Democrat Party has used the “vote-buying” narrative to set itself apart from the opposition, elevate itself to a higher moral position, and therefore justify to the country and the international community why a perennial loserof competitive elections should nonetheless be entitled to govern Thailand.Pressed hard by a BBC interviewer about his lack of an electoral mandate,Abhisit Vejjajiva volunteered this explanation for the event that made itpossible for him to rise to the office of Prime Minister— the dissolution of thePeople Power Party and two of its coalition partners:It was a hung parliament, they put together a majority, but theparty that had the biggest number of votes were involved inelection fraud, and therefore they were punished by law, lawsand rules that they were aware of when they actually signed onto take part in the election.
1
1. BBC, “Hardtalk,” April 27, 2010.

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