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    Posted December 27, 2013 by
    bangkok, Thailand
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
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    - Many foreign observers will casually label the 60 days’ street demonstration in Thailand as anti-democratic. The incumbent government has already dissolved the parliament and set the election date for 2 February 2014. Surely, the simplest way to unseat this government is to vote against them. Therefore, anyone against this election must be anti-democracy.
    - But to really understand Thai politics, one has to dig deeper!
    - The demonstrators are in fact not against elections. They just want a real reform to be in place before!
    - Without a real reform, they know that the incumbent government will definitely return. But it will be through buying votes, both with cash and with populist policies. And they will resume their old ways of syphoning money out of government procurements, and the populist policies that line the pockets of their cohorts. There are too many political parties in Thailand that are family owned, including the current ruling party. In such parties, the controlling clans call all the shots.
    - The demonstrators who are tax payers are unhappy. The hard earned money that they paid to the government was being sucked out - through corruption and wasteful schemes.
    - The problem of corruption in Thailand has grown too big. The highly respected private sector organization that campaigned against corruption called this government’s era “The Era of Gargantuan Corruption”.
    - Businessmen whispered that politicians and top civil servants now take cuts from government procurements as much as 30 - 40%, compared to just 10 - 15% a decade ago. Unless and until this is stopped, Thailand cannot progress.
    - Stringent rules to minimize corruption must be in place. There must be full transparency regarding all procurements. Corruption prone populist policies must be curbed. And the loophole for government spending money outside the budget process, and without parliamentary scrutiny, must be stopped.
    - They insist “Reform must be done before the next election”.
    Mr. Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala, Bangkok, Thailand
    Former Minister of Finance

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