BANGKOK — Leaders of last year's anti-government "Red Shirt" protests have registered their candidacies for a July 3 general election as the politics of the street converges with the politics of the ballot in Thailand.
Thai opposition leader and member of the Pheu Thai party Yingluck Shinawatra flashes number one sign after the party-list candidates registration at Thailand-Japan Youth Centre stadium in Bangkok, Thursday, May 19, 2011. Yingluck is also a younger sister of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thailand will hold a general election on July 3, 2011.
The election campaign kicked off in earnest Thursday as party leaders drew numbers determining their position on the ballot. The Pheu Thai Party associated with deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his "Red Shirt" supporters drew the desirable No. 1 spot, while incumbent Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's Democrats drew No. 10.
"Red Shirt" leaders are standing this year as Pheu Thai candidates.
By chance, the ballot draw took place on the one-year anniversary of the army's crushing of a two-month-long "Red Shirt" protest in central Bangkok.
ABHISIT VEJJAJIVA VS THAKSIN SHINAWATRA BY PROXY
The Charming and Talented Yingluck Shinawatra, the youngest sister of fugitive Thai ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said yesterday she would stand as the main opposition party’s candidate against Abhisit Vejjajiva in Thailand’s July general election.
The move is expected to see Abhisit Vejjajiva return to power with no real debate on political issues and a lot of noise around Thaksin Shinawatra and the Red Shirt army he leads.
At another time, and away from her fugitive brother Yingluck Shinawatra would possibly have made a great opposition candidate and possible Prime Minister. The only thing in her way is history, Thaksin Shinawatra is currently a fugitive from Thailand after jumping bail and being sentenced to 2 years in Prison.
Whether or not Yingluck Shinawatra could legally form a government is also a question, Thailand has tight rules on political contributions and Thaksin is a banned person, making the parties funding and policy an easy target for a political savvy opposition.
Puea Thai and the Red Shirts have lost their wide support among the largely rural and working-class after the mass anti-government rallies turned in to terrorist acts in Bangkok last year.
Abhisit Vejjajiva and his team seized the opportunity last year introducing far reaching rural programs that have been well received in Thailand’s poorest communities, Thai’s supporting Thaksin and the Red Shirts have turned their backs on the violence and the Red Shirts position on the Thai Monarchy.
Abhisit Vejjajiva can safely prepare for his next term in Government and hopefully Yingluck can make the election a peaceful process that builds confidence in the Nation, in time if Thaksin can extract himself from his illegal involvement in Thai Poilitics, Yingluck could help improve the democratic process.
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