It is hard to imagine Abhisit Vejjajiva remaining PM for long – and not just because of the astrological predictions made about his career.
The Democrat-led coalition has a very small majority and this is likely to be reduced further by a series of by-elections in the early part of next year. Further, the now-opposition Phuea Thai party is likely to try some of the tactics used by the Democrats in their rather inglorious period of opposition. This will include trying the get the party dissolved and subject it to various votes of no confidence. Despite the nonsense being talked about the Democrats as being ‘pure’ politicians, the reality is that their brand of politics has disfigured Thai politics for decades and it is not long before the first scandals break out either by their own MPs or some of their new coalition allies. Abhisit himself will have eventually to explain what the truth is about all of those draft-dodging allegations and the legitimacy of the process by which the army orchestrated the silent coup which brought him to power is being seriously questioned. There will presumably be a fair amount of street demonstrations by pro-democracy supporters outraged by this latest coup and it could well become personal. Sooner or later, people are surely going to start asking whether Abhisit really thinks it is justifiable to have leading members of the fascist PAD movement as senior Democrat MPs.
There is, of course, precious little expectation that Abhisit will suddenly discover a taste for policy formulation and deep thinking such as will be required for a Prime Minister during the economic crisis now affecting us all. It is to be hoped that some of the senior Democrats likely to be given important cabinet positions have the sense to realize that their usual free market ideology is wholly inappropriate for the current situation and that what is required is a high level of spending on policies badly needed to improve the lot of the Thai people as a whole: low-cost universal health care, village-level investment funds, regional development to deter labour migration and reduce the vulnerability of the economy to external environmental shocks – strange, I seem to have heard this somewhere before.