by Surasak Tumcharoen
BANGKOK, April 30 (Xinhua) -- A fresh proposal for top Thai political figures to take a leave from politics for a year or two in order for the "national reform" measures to be put in place to solve the ongoing political crisis in the country has been met with criticisms by some sectors as being improper and undemocratic.
Undersecretary for Justice Kittipong Kitayarak recently proposed that major politicians, including acting premier Yingluck Shinawatra, former premier Abhisit Vejjajiva and former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban, should temporarily retire from the political arena for a period of one year or one year and a half during which time the "national reforms" that the anti-government protesters have been demanding could be instituted and that they all can return to politics after that.
Kittipong claimed that his proposal was entirely his own and does not reflect the views of the ruling party or any other political groups.
He said that opposing figures from the ruling party and the opposition should skip from running in the next election, which, according to the Election Commission, could be held in July, following the Feb. 2 polls which the Constitutional Court ruled as "null and void."
During the interim period when they will be out of office, these top leaders can devote themselves in crafting and implementing the "national reforms" which might last a year or a year and a half, after which parliament will be dissolved and a new election held.
After that, the "hibernating" politicians could come back to the political arena, according Kittipong.
But Thammasat University political scientist Virote Ali contended that such initiatives are not only counterproductive but also undemocratic and that the political conflict would not end only because these figures gave up their political roles, albeit only for a year or a year and a half.
"Such initiatives are utterly absurd and not a way out from the political conflict. It is improper because the conflict is not only about one person being at odds with another person. It is also undemocratic because such approaches by no means call for the participation of the people in any effort to solve the conflict," Virote Ali said.
He said that if the proposal is adopted, all politicians would have to call it quits from politics every time there is a political crisis or a conflict with each other. "The political arena would only keep changing faces but the problem would remain unsolved," he said.
Nationwide polls are an essential part of democratic rule under which the people are empowered to decide who are the most qualified to run the country, the academic said.
The leading figures who represent the people in parliament through the electoral process should be allowed to continue to do so no matter how critical their opposing views could be, according to the political scientist.
"It is the conflict of opinion which should be handled under peaceful, democratic process. The leading figures should not be barred from contesting the election so that they could still take part in the resolving of the conflict," he said.
A post-election government should do things in the interests of the people and country other than make "national reforms" as though it were top-priority agenda, the academic said.
Yingluck has remained non-committal on whether or not she will run in the new election but only said that she would rather leave it to the people to decide, but without elaborating on her real intention.
"I have not been attached to any position in government. I will not set preconditions in anything... Let the people decide for themselves," Yingluck said.
In the meantime, Abhisit, leader of the Democrat Party, is currently calling on the caretaker government and Election Commission to see to it that no more turbulence would occur to constituents and electoral candidates throughout the country in the new election as what happened in the annulled election which his party has boycotted.
The former premier has indicated that his party would join in the new election, which would put him at odds with Suthep, another opposition stalwart and former party secretary general, who has consistently said he will not participate in any electoral process for as long as a member of the Shinawatra family would run.