I've slept on it, read some more reports of the 'reconciliation talks' and offer the following additional thoughts (based on a comment response I made over at Bkk Dan's site):
The proof will be in the pudding:
Believing Abhisit is genuine in these ‘reconciliation talks’ is the ultimate in naivety IMO (as is believing he has any legitimacy with anywhere near the majority of the Thai population – even Abhisit knows it, and thats why he will do whatever he can to delay & avoid elections – if he & his backers thought they could win an election they would jump at it, never mind the constitution & political reform
Style v's Substance (Smoke & Mirrors)
My quick thoughts on the talks between government (Abhisit) and Red Shirt leaders.
- Wow! I was out all day and got quite a shock to see the talks already happening when I got home.
- Initially I was hopeful, but seeing Abhisit in action I got that same old feeling
(he's trying to smooth things over with talk, but all the while having no intention of really following through!)
- Abhisit is clearly about 'appearing' reasonable, but delaying at all costs.
(hopefully the viewing public can see through his smoke & mirrors)
- For Abhisit and his backers this latest 'concession' is 'trasformismo' (change without change)
- Abhisit has the style, but Dr Weng & Veera have the substance
(that's my take, as a farang, but I expect various Thai groups will see it differently)
- Dr Weng scored the most points, but his lengthy speaking style is a handicap on public tv
(that said, only the most partisan would miss that he's clearly intelligent, knowledgeable, passionate and sincere)
What do I expect tomorrow?
Well, Thai politics is like a magic world to me, unfathomable! - so the only prediction I will make is that Abhisit will continue delaying, and any timetable he proposes will make sure the army reshuffle is bedded down before the ammart control is (seen to be) relinquished.
What comes first: Dissolution or Constitution changes?
Why not do both in the one stroke?
At the election, give the people a chance to choose between the 1997 or 2007 constitutions.
(whichever is chosen can be amended later anyway, through the parliamentary process)
I'm a lazy philistine when it comes to legal procedures, but am wondering why couldn't the negotiations agree that Parliament propose the 1997 constitution as the amendments to the current constitution, and seek a referendum to ratify it?
Update: Yes, I know thats unrealistic, so how about we just make the main theme of the election: 'Which political parties do the people want to be in control of leading the political reform process?' - basically let the people choose the make up of the parliament as the country embarks on another political reform process - seems fair, reasonable, sensible & logical to me (unfortunately none of those things are usually seen as desirable qualities when it comes to the Thai political system, especially on the non-red side:)
What's the minimum reds should accept before ending protests?
I'd say their bottom line should be a firm commitment that parliament will be dissolved within 2 weeks, and an election within 3 months.