The most basic political right, is the right to vote. People all around the world protest for their right to vote. What happens when protestors are blocking the right to vote?
In Thailand that very thing is happening, thousands of anti-government people took to the streets on Sunday to obstruct voting polls in Bangkok. In their effort block the voting, voters became impatient and violent. According to Bangkok's emergency services 1 person was killed and several others wounded. In response the Prime Minister had to shut down the polling places.
“This is the day when Thailand and the rest of the world saw the true face of the protest movement,” said Sunai Phasuk, a researcher in Thailand with Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group based in New York. “They are using thuggery to disrupt the voting process.”
The protestor's aim was to stop the election, and replace the parliament and put in it's place, an unelected people's council. By doing this they are hoping to oust the corrupted government and replace it with another.
“I consider myself a very tolerant person,” Mr. Pruettha said after being turned away from a polling place where protesters were blocking the entrance. “But this is very unfair. They violated my political rights.”
Sounds like their going about it the wrong way though, you cannot force people to not vote, that is their right, that is a democracy.
Blocking the vote of an election is bound to raise suspicion, on who the leader is and what they are really their to accomplish.
The protestors are backed by Mr. Suthep, a former deputy prime minister and veteran politician, who he himself was riddled with corruption when he was in power. The government is very suspicious of his actions and thinks that he is using these protests to regain power. And since he can't win elections he feels like this is the only other option he has.
According to the New York Times, the protestors are not the only thing the government has to worry about, the government also faces significant opposition from within government agencies, including the Election Commission, which it accuses of dragging its feet.
The commission has repeatedly asked the government to postpone the voting and at the commission’s urging, the country’s Constitutional Court ruled Friday that it could be delayed if the commission and the government agreed on a new date, a decision that legal scholars say appears to contradict a mandate in the Constitution to hold the elections within 60 days of Parliament’s dissolution.
Surapong Tovichakchaikul, a deputy prime minister, on Sunday accused the election commission of “playing tricks” and said the elections would be held as scheduled.
He questioned why the commission had not called on security forces to guard the polling places and ensure that voting went ahead.
Even if the elections proceed, the new Parliament will not reach the required minimum number of members because protesters blocked the registration of candidates in many provinces in southern Thailand. More than two dozen by-elections will need to be held before Parliament can elect a new government.