I have a theory that the key to success in the current national elections in Thailand lies in the billboards. The number of billboards candidates murder the scenery with is directly proportional to the number of votes those candidates will receive.
Everywhere you go, there are billboards and posters with images of the various candidates and their numbers. Are people supposed to just choose the person whom they think looks the most worthy? There certainly isn’t much policy to judge the candidates on.
In Phuket, we covered each of the parties running in the election in a two-page spread. Aside from generic policies and wild promises, such as making it high season every day in Phuket, none of the candidates said anything about their parties that made them look different to each other. There is no political ideology to get behind.
When people talk about who they will vote for, it’s usually based on whom their parents voted for or else something to do with Thaksin.
This weekend, 1.5 million people turned up to vote in advance of the main voting day on December 23. This gem came from The Nation today:
Former junta-leader General Sonthi Boonyaratkalin was one of those who voted yesterday. At a poll booth in Lop Buri province, Sonthi was heckled by a man shouting: “I won't vote for a dictator, and I won't vote for you!”
Plainclothes security officers muzzled Preecha's mouth with their hands, gave him threatening looks and tried to drag him away before Sonthi fled in a limousine.
Voting appears to have gone smoothly for the most part. It’s unclear whether people being unable to drink alcohol has had anything to do with this. Patong last night was a town full of desperate people. In the end, we had a small gathering at the beach.