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Young Thai Want Democracy Not Elitist Family Rule



Young Thai Want Democracy Not Elitist Family Rule

Thailand’s former Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Somkid Jatusripitak says young Thais want a representative democracy founded on public dialogue, not one that follows edicts from elite families.

In a keynote speech marking the 88th anniversary of Thammasat University on Monday, Mr. Somkid revealed that he has accepted the nomination to be the prime ministerial candidate for the Sang Anakhot Thai Party.

He told alumni that as a student at Thammasat University, he was involved in social and political issues, which motivated him to pursue a career in public service.

He continued on to say that events during the 1973-1976 student pro-democracy protests influenced Thammasat students very much. He believed that in the current climate the public is willing and ready to hear what students have to say.

There is a great deal of mistrust in the university today because it was founded in the context of fighting for democracy. Today, people cannot believe the strange versions of democracy we follow such as feeding bananas to monkeys or where 1% of the population has a greater fortune than 80% of the population combined.

A Representative Democracy

The young people I spoke with said they wanted a democracy in which a majority of people participated in finding a solution without conflicts. A democracy government that was not dominated by certain families or groups.

Those in their teens and twenties, he explained, prefer a democracy not just based on the ballot box, and if they cannot express themselves or participate in decisions, they will not be interested in the country’s problems. In order for the country to develop, the new generations need to be heard.

He noted that political development alone cannot guarantee a better future when inequality is not properly addressed like in other well-established democracy countries.

He cited World Economic Forum data to claim that the country’s competitiveness dropped by 13 points and good governance by 11. The country will be in deep trouble if these issues are not addressed, he warned.

“A huge storm is brewing in the global economy. The Thai economy is tied to the global economy, and if we don’t build internal strength, we’ll lose momentum,” he explained.

In general, ordinary people are facing tough times, and they will face greater hardships in the future. If the government isn’t prepared, these people won’t have any security at all, he said.

People must join hands to resolve these issues because each government, especially a coalition government, has its own limitations, he said.

To solve the country’s problems, education institutes will have to play a greater role, according to Mr. Somkid.

He said that Thammasat University can produce people who aren’t just able to support themselves and their families but are also motivated to make a difference for Thailand.

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