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Last Updated: Monday, 8 May 2006, 19:58 GMT 20:58 UK
Thais express hopes for stability
Thailand's Constitutional Court has ruled that the recent general election was invalid, and another must be held.

Opposition parties boycotted last month's election, and after mass protests in Bangkok Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra agreed to step aside.

Here people across Thailand express their relief at the court's decision.


PISIT TUCHINDA, 27, ECONOMIC RESEARCHER, BANGKOK

Pisit Tuchinda says that the protests took Thailand a step backwards.
I agree with the court's decision. The Thai people need an institution to rely on.

When the king left it to the courts to decide on Thailand's political future, there was relief. The courts are respected.

We know now what to expect in the short run.

Personally, I don't support any side. Perhaps it's because I am an economist, but I look at the policies. From the policies, I believe that Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai party knows what it is talking about - it has done its homework.

But the Democrat party - the oldest political party - has not thought through its economic and social policies, and I feel this is part of the reason why they boycotted the elections.

I didn't agree with the protests. I thought they should let the elections go ahead and see what the majority thinks.

They just rallied against one individual. By standing firm against him they got rid of him but what does that mean? It doesn't mean Thailand has become more democratic. If anything, it has become more undemocratic because at least he was voted in.

Thailand took a step backwards trying to oust someone that way.

EKASIT TAOSILA, 73, RETIRED, BANGKOK

Ekasit Taosila says he never trusted Thaksin Shinawatra
The differences in Thailand can finally be resolved. The king decreed that the mess that was Thai politics must be addressed by the courts and they have done their work.

The opposition parties have said that they will take part in these new elections and I welcome that.

But I feel they may still lose out to Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai party. The farmers will decide Thailand's future. Thaksin is very clever - he has their votes, the votes of the uneducated.

These people cannot possibly know about his activities. They are too busy earning their bread. Any gifts or financial gain that come there way just add to his fame.

Thailand has democracy but some people say that the grassroots are not qualified to take part of that. Thailand should spend time educating people about democracy before applying democratic rule.

I never liked Thaksin Shinawatra. From the moment he emerged on the scene a big mobile phone magnate, I never trusted him. I won't buy his products, I certainly won't vote for him.

I will vote for the Democrat party, even though all political parties are tainted here. They are the lesser evil.

SUDAPORN TANANCHAI, 49, FREELANCE DESIGNER

It's all a game. People want to knock Thaksin out of the arena. I don't want new elections but I have to accept what the court says. I will vote for Thaksin if I can because I want him back.

We need someone who can negotiate with foreign countries and he is a strong leader.

If Thaksin comes back the crisis may blow over
People believe that Thaksin is too corrupt to govern. But I think every government in Thailand is destined for the same fate. They are corrupt and yet they rule.

But we have to judge him by his progress. He is probably not perfectly clean but we still need him.

Maybe after all of this there will be stability - but I cannot see the way out now. I believe if Thaksin comes back the crisis may blow over.

It is important because Thailand is about to host an important ceremony celebrating 60 years of our king's rule. Royalty from around the world will be there and we must be seen to be stable.

DHIRACHAI SMUTHKOCHORN, PETCHBURI

Dhirachai
Dhirachai Smuthkochorn wants Mr Thaksin to quit politics
This is just the beginning, the court has more work to do.

Thaksin is a bad influence - in my opinion. But he could be re-elected. As a citizen my demand, and the demand of many Thai people, is that Thaksin quits and leaves politics.

Perhaps the court could do something to prevent him from entering elections in the future. So I reserve judgement until the court itself speaks further on the issue.

Everything changes - we cannot expect stable political situations to last forever. There will always be something unexpected. Thai politics has changed and we have to change to adjust to it.

My objective is to get rid of the Thaksin era from Thai politics. We need to get rid of the whole Thaksin system! To me, he proves that money can buy anything.

We need people with a vision for peace, a vision for Thailand moving forward.





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