Friday, 10 April 2009

The public holiday gamble

Abhisit's latest move was to make today a public holiday across Thailand. The surprise announcement was made late last night as part of the Thai PM's televised address to the nation. Contrary to regular public holidays, banks and some businesses are working today.

There's no such thing as a free lunch but what about a free bank holiday? You must be joking, everything comes at a cost or for a reason.

Songkran, Thai New Year, is next week meaning most have a week off work returning back Monday 20 April - so this extra day of holiday strings the New Year break a little longer.

As most of the hardcore Red Shirt protesters are from outside of Bangkok it appears the Prime Minister is aiming to tempt the out-of-towners back home for an extended new year holiday period.

Abhisit is undoubtedly a skilled politician but this manoeuvre is a risk.

There is danger that the extra day will encourage more protesters to journey into Bangkok to join the Truth Today demonstrations. I expect most protesters to spend the whole of next week's holiday period in Bangkok, meaning continuing chaos for the city over New Year. It will be particularly disastrous if key transport hub Victory Monument remains closed from the Red Shirt blockade.

This move could be crucial to the future of Abhisit's tenure as Prime Minister.

Will he be forced to act by the protesters or will the previously obedient Red Shirt protests see the Bangkok public turn on them for the chaos they are causing?


Ben Shingleton said...

Uneasy times.... glad I don't have to put up with the travel chaos in Bangkok, it must be a complete nightmare. Hopefully they all go home and this can get sorted out properly in the voting booth, if only Thai politics were that straightforward.....

Jon said...

Hey Ben. This chaos seems the norm to me having been in Thailand for months. I agree with some elements of the Red's protestations and, like you, hope that an election can start the healing process.

Am sure it isn't this simple but there seems no other way to progress.