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(From The Nation (Thailand))
Byline: The Nation.
The prime minister's decision finally to step down is arguably the most sensible at this point in time; it promises an end to social divisions and a way out of the political impasse that has been plaguing the country and economy for the last few months.
Nevertheless, serious questions remain, particularly surrounding the make-up of the new Parliament, which will choose Thaksin's successor and oversee political reforms. Clearly the status quo cannot be allowed to stand. Democratically minded people will not tolerate a House dominated by more than 460 Thai Rak Thai members, with a clearly impotent (currently non-existent) opposition unable to scrutinise the dealings of the government. It was precisely this sort of situation that brought protesters out into the street in the first place. Much of the anger and malicious rumours would have been mitigated had the government been properly scrutinised in Parliament and not in the street. An active opposition is essential for this process to occur.
Thus, the offer that opposition parties can run for the 38 empty seats can be treated as nothing but a bad joke. I am not asking that the current opposition be allowed to run the new government. But what we need is an opposition that will be effective in scrutinising the future dealings of the government and, if necessary, able to punish perpetrators with more than a transfer; otherwise, we can expect the cycle of street protests inevitably to begin again.