The 1969 general election in Thailand : a preliminary analysis
Canter, William B.
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Thailand, nominally a constitutional monarchy, had no elections from 1958 until February 10, 1969, a period of more than 11 years. But in that period a new constitution was promulgated that called for general elections; these elections for the National Assembly were held on February 10, 1969. This thesis is a preliminary examination of those elections. This thesis examines the setting of Thailand including social, cultural and economic factors that directly relate to the constitutional experience. The thesis examines the past elections so that a basis of comparison can be established. This is followed by an inquiry into parties and electioneering both of which are important aspects of the political process. The events of the pre-election period are discussed in order to identify the major issues. Data, both written and graphic, describing the elections and the results precede the preliminary analysis. The appendix includes information on the February 10 elections that is of particular relevance to this thesis. The data were derived from three major sources. Of most importance were the daily English translations of the Thai language press. Selected journal articles and books furnished much useful information on the sections dealing with Thai culture and historical background. In addition, the United States Embassy in Thailand and United States Department of State provided me with various useful documents. The elections may conceivably represent a new direction for Thai politics. The necessary criteria for participatory democracy may well be catching up with the imposed constitutional system. The granting of the new constitution and the holding of the elections both represent concessions on the part of absolutism to popular sovereignty. To assume that popular government however is only a step away in Thailand would be to assume too much from what is known. Recent political development represents, rather, an indicator of possible future trends. If the indicator is valid, then progress has been made. If the indicator is false, then it represents nothing more than another alarum in Thai politics.