Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Thailand's Undemocratic Democrats and some Reflections on the Philippines" (A Lecture by Mark R. Thompson, PhD)

"Thailand's Undemocratic Democrats and some Reflections on the Philippines" 
(A Lecture by Mark R. Thompson, PhD)
Tuesday 4 February 2014 2:30pm - 4:00 pm
Seminar Rms 206-207, GT Toyota Asian Cultural Center, Magsaysay cor. Guerrero Sts., 
UP Diliman, Quezon City

About the lecture
Why do the Democrats - Thailand’s oldest political party that once opposed dictatorship - so adamantly reject elections? As of this writing, they are boycotting the national polls and pressing instead for an unelected council made up of 'good' elites. The Democrats’ Orwellian claim is that sophisticated urbanites should have more say than provincial voters who are said to be either ignorant or bought for consistently voting for the populist, pro-Thaksin party.

The reasons for the undemocratic stance of Thailand’s Democrats appear relevant to the Philippines, given the overthrow of Joseph E. Estrada, backed by the poor but hated by the elite, in 2001 and the presidential election win stolen from Fernando Poe, Jr in 2004. A 'reformist' Aquino government was put in power in 2010. But a pork barrel scandal, government incompetence and insensitivity in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda as well as jobless growth and continued high levels of socio-economic inequality suggest the narrative of reform is unravelling and that a populist challenge may re-emerge.

About the speaker
Dr. Mark R. Thompson is Professor at the City University of Hong Kong and Director of Southeast Asia Research Centre.

Third World Studies Center, CSSP, UP Diliman
Asian Center, UP Diliman
Department of Political Science, CSSP, UP Diliman

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