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Thai Observer Mission to UK Elections Cancelled

The offer from the European Union to observe the forthcoming Thai elections has been finally rejected. The reasons given in the media range from Thai outrage at the implied slur on the integrity of Thai elections, to legalistic problems with a constitutional article on signing agreements which infringe national sovereignty.

These arguments are completely spurious.

 

Thai elections are notoriously corrupt and Thailand's international reputation could only be enhanced by external monitoring. And the constitutional impediment was intended to stop governments from signing Free Trade Agreements without prior informed public debate. Free Trade Agreements can (and do) have serious effects on the economic well-being of the country that a few farang noses peering into polling stations will never have.

 

Prachatai has learned that the real reason for cancelling the proposed monitoring agreement was quite different from those publicly stated.

 

Progress was being made in talks between the Thai authorities and EU officials on a two-way process. An EU team would inspect the Thai elections and a Thai monitoring team would be invited, at the EU's expense, to monitor an upcoming European election. This approach, it was thought, would nullify all arguments about national pride and sovereignty.

 

But it all came unstuck when the arrangements for the Thai team's visit could not be agreed.

 

The following exchange of correspondence between the two sides, obtained from the most reliable of sources (a recent purchase of kluai khaek by a Prachatai staff member came wrapped in it), is self-explanatory.

 

 

From: Pratya Suesiang, Ad Hoc Committee for Foreign Election Monitoring

To: Hans Kniesundbumpsadaisy, EU Election Observer Mission.

 

Hallo Hans,

 

Thank you for your memo inviting my Thai team to observe the election soon in Lithuania. Although you say it is important election in EU, but my team thinks it is not. First, many of my team, who are high-ranking politician, Ministry of Interior official and canvasser, did not know before Lithuania. It is joke to ask people of our dignity and calibre to go to a place where we cannot find on a map.

 

Instead my team propose to observe election in England. England is world-famous country, which is fitting the honour of my team. Besides the shopping is much better and there is Premier League every Saturday for cultural visit.

 

Attach is detail for our mission and budget. We looking to forward your favourable response.

 

 

To: Khun Pratya Suesiang, Secretary-General, Ad Hoc Committee for Foreign Election Monitoring

From: Herr Hans Kniesundbumpsadaisy, EU Election Observer Mission.

 

Dear Secretary Pratya

 

The EU Election Observer Mission presents its compliments to the Ad Hoc Committee together with its thanks for the proposed itinerary and budget.

 

With respect to monitoring the next General Election in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, we respectfully wish to inform the Committee that no such Election has yet been scheduled. While media speculation foresees the possibility of an Election this autumn, the actual date has not been fixed and could occur at any time up to 3 June 2010.

 

On reviewing your proposed budget, we note with concern the size of the proposed mission. You will recall that a proposal for 250 EU Election Observers to the next Thai General Election was thought to be excessive by the Thai side. We therefore question whether a Thai mission of 646 persons (presumably one for each constituency) is appropriate. We further note that each observer is to be accompanied by a staff of between 5 and 10 persons, many of whom have the same family name as the observer, or appear to have no directly appropriate qualifications (we note a number of ‘singers', ‘hair stylists' and ‘personal entertainment artistes').

 

Although the number of observers has apparently been determined by reference to the number of constituencies, we note that most observers wish to book accommodation in London, with a sizable minority in Manchester.

 

We look forward to resolving these issues and renew the assurances of our highest consideration.

 

 

From: Pratya Suesiang, Ad Hoc Committee for Foreign Election Monitoring

To: Hans Kniesundbumpsadaisy, EU Election Observer Mission.

 

Dear Herry Kniesundbumpsadaisy,

 

Thank you for reply. If no election in England soon, no problem. We go and then we can wait. Most of team want to stay London because most important election places are there like Harrods, London Eye, Arsenal, Millennium Doom and etc. Manchester group are Thaksin vote-heads and want to cheer Man City. About size of mission, we follow Thai cultural practice as seen in delegation of Airport Authority of Thailand and many others. Ex-PM Thaksin go everywhere with singer Lydia, for examples. For budget, please make cheque payable to ‘Winmark Ample Rich' for tax purpose.

 

 

(The response to this was in language so undiplomatic that it cannot be reprinted in Prachatai without violating Cyber Crime Act restrictions on inflammatory statements.)

 

 

About author:  Bangkokians with long memories may remember his irreverent column in The Nation in the 1980's. During his period of enforced silence since then, he was variously reported as participating in a 999-day meditation retreat in a hill-top monastery in Mae Hong Son (he gave up after 998 days), as the Special Rapporteur for Satire of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and as understudy for the male lead in the long-running ‘Pussies -not the Musical' at the Neasden International Palladium (formerly Park Lane Empire).

And if you believe any of those stories, you might believe his columns

.