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Vol. 24 No.3
July - September 2007

ISSN 0125-0159

Editor’s Note
Foreign Relations
Her Majesty the Queen’s Historic Visit to Russia
Top Collectibles at the 20th Asian International Stamp Exhibition in Bangkok
In Focus
Nam Nao: The Source of Life and Survival That Needs a Helping Hand
Special Feature
The Promotion of Public Unity and Participation at the Democracy Festival
Thai Technology to Increase the Productivity of Giant Freshwater Prawns
Thailand Serves Halal Foods to the World
A Quest for Northern Flowers in a Southern Village
Thai Touch
Sangkhla Buri: The Land of Buddhism, Culture, and Unity

Photo Gallery    Text Print
The Promotion of Public Unity and Participation at the Democracy Festival

In the next general election, scheduled late this year, many people are looking forward to exercising their right to vote, as they did during the referendum on the 2007 constitution on August 19. To emphasize the importance of the election and democratic development, the government recently organized the Democracy Festival. In this event, people were urged to take part in the making of the 2007 Declaration for the Development of Thai Politics. People nationwide were able to participate in the creation of the Declaration in their villages, and their input has been incorporated into the formal Declaration, which is aimed at the sustainable development of democracy in Thailand.

A highlight of the Democracy Festival was the run of the Democracy Flag. The flag was relayed nationwide from one province to another. At the end of the run, the Democracy Flag arrived at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok and was handed to Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont at Government House. It reached its destination at the Democracy Festival at the Muang Thong Thani exhibition complex in Nonthaburi province.

Prime Minister Surayud inaugurated the Democracy Festival and announced the 2007 Declaration for the Development of Thai Politics and the development of Thai democracy in line with the Declaration. He made the announcement together with key members of the Council for National Security, and the chairpersons of the Constitution Drafting Assembly, the National Legislative Assembly, and the Election Commission.

The event was witnessed by many distinguished guests, including diplomats, government officials, staff of state enterprises, and representatives of the private sector, the civil sector, and international organizations. The Democracy Festival included a variety of activities for promoting public participation nationwide. The activities fell into three categories: exhibitions, discussions, and infotainment sessions. The exhibition part focused on political history and the milestones in Thai politics. Discussions included an address on the economic and political future of Thailand by Finance Minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn. Infotainment activities included a juvenile mock council, a debate on democracy, and performances related to Thai democracy. Activities in the Democracy Festival were well designed and integrated to urge the public to realize the importance of democracy, exercise their right to vote in the referendum and the upcoming general election, and have their say in the making of the 2007 Declaration for the Development of Thai Politics.

The Declaration, which people should view as the statement of their collective goal, emphasizes their rights as Thai citizens. It deals with fundamental rights and issues: the right to human and family dignity; the system of constitutional monarchy; legitimate professions; the use of natural resources; the preservation of local customs and traditions; local administration; the rule of law; democracy that guarantees equality; peoples democracy; an internationally recognized justice system; good governance; checks and balances between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary; and constructive political participation that is aimed at public unity. The Declaration calls on Thai people to contribute to the nation, promote Thai democracy peacefully, and participate in politics at all levels. It includes effective political development plans for truly serving the political needs of people, educating them, and promoting their participation.

Regarding its political dimension under the present era of globalization, Thailand is facing highly contrasting political views among people, divisions among its population, and corruption and vested interest among politicians. It is essential for people to focus more on exercising their political rights, realizing peoples democracy, and achieving a sustainable constitutional monarchy.

An organization that promotes public participation and democracy is the Political Development Council an independent organization, not a government agency. The Political Development Council emphasizes public participation. In working out a political development master plan, the council has the serious task of sounding out the opinions of people from the four regions of the nation. The aim is to compile the demands of people nationwide to create a political development master plan that will effectively serve the public. By this means, the Political Development Council is another channel for public participation in democracy.

Recent political events have provided the public with lessons on the roles and duties of political organizations. Many people have realized that politics is an immediate matter of their life and that they need to act more to guarantee that power belongs to them. Doing so will lead Thailand to a political system that is firmly based on stability, righteousness, and ethics. The general public must translate the 2007 Declaration for the Development of Thai Politics into action by casting their votes in the upcoming general election that they have been waiting for.

Story: Petch Sakorn
Photos: Poonsak

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