Monday, December 15, 2008

Abhisit Vejjajiva declared PM of Thailand, red shirts protest

BBC reports that Abhisit Vejjajiva will be the new PM of Thailand.

Abhist, leader of Thailand's Democratic Party was born in Newcastle to Thai parents, and educated at Eton and Oxford. Abhist was awarded the position after winning a parliamentary vote. "Abhisit won 235 votes to 198 for ex-police chief Pracha Promnog, who had been proposed by the former ruling party and its allies" according to The Times.

Nirmal Ghosh of the Straights Times Live-blogged the announcement:
Minutes after Abhisit Vejjajiva won the vote & became 27th PM of Thailand the few hundred red shirts outside the gates flew into a frustrated rage, crashing yellow street barriers against the gates of parliament and hurling debris at police inside the fence. MPs began exiting in cars thru a side gate at 11.30pm and cars were pelted with chunks of concrete as police struggled 2 clear a path. . . . It's lucky there are not more red shirts here.
It has to be said that the "yellow shirts" led the way. They showed people that if you don't like what parliament is doing, you act-out your frustrations on the streets, taking over whatever facilities you please.

The Guardian
reflects on the choice, noting that Abhisit
may not get a chance to prove himself. Abhisit's slender majority may become thinner when byelections to choose 29 new MPs - to replace those sacked by the court ruling that brought down the government - are held on 11 January. That will leave him even more at the mercy of his minor party supporters.
Others I have spoke to raise questions about Abhisit's political acumen, though he is widely regarded as non-corrupt. Can Abhisit connect to the rural voter?

Abhisit's mode of speaking is the opposite of Samak, who was PM of Thailand throughout the first half of 2008. Whereas Samak shot off his mouth at every turn, Abhisit seems to error in the other direction. Abhisit may be prudent to a fault, often hesitating to say anything at all.

Is Abhisit discrete like Obama, or simply fearful of leading? Time will tell.

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