Monday, November 22, 2010

Small polls, big impact

By-elections to be held on Dec 12 in five constituencies, three of them in the Northeast (one in Bangkok and the other in Ayudhya), will pit the government against the red shirts in another test of the people's political sentiments.

The Northeast by-elections (in Khon Kaen, Korat and Surin) will test whether Thaksin Shinawatra's Pheau Thai Party can thrash Newin Chidchob's Bhumjaithai Party, which is the key coalition partner of the current government.

Both sides are caught in a "must-win" position to convince the whole country that they are more popular than the other. It's the upcoming general election that's at stake, not necessarily the outcomes of the by-elections themselves.

In a way, the by-elections will also put to test the Abhisit government's performance in the past two years -- in the areas of the government's populist policies for grass-roots voters as well as how the people there view the government's relief measures against flood victims.

Therefore, the upcoming polls are the "small ballot-casting exercises with big impact."

In this ever unpredictable political scenario, nothing can be taken for granted.

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