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Thailand's street movement goes legit. Will it work?
The yellow shirt faction’s “New Politics” will likely pay a premium for going legit. As a street movement, protest leaders soaked up anonymous donations with impunity. As a political party, its finances will be scrutinized. Some past donors may shrink from publicly fueling the alliance, Pavin said.
Still, with so many Thais exhausted by Thailand’s fractured and sometimes violent political scene, the concept of “newness” may prove appealing.
The “New Politics” party has even rolled out logos adding green, symbolizing purity and freshness, to its palette. Alliance leader and media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul has promoted the party to wearing a yellow-and-green striped button-up shirt. (He also recently survived an assassination attempt from men, still at large, who fired M-16 and AK-47 shells into his minivan.)
So far, the “New Politics” party has offered only generalities about its platform. Women, who showed up en masse to yellow shirt demonstrations, will play a pronounced role, party leaders have said.
With no date announced for an election challenging the ruling government, the “New Politics” party has time to build. For now, its protest component, still called the “People’s Alliance for Democracy,” will not disband, Kittinun said.
“Getting into legitimate politics is just one way to challenge the current climate,” Kittinun said. If the party flops, he added, the movement could possibly return to swaying politics from the streets.
“But we’ll think hard before doing that again,” he said. “It’s like playing your very last card. It’s not something we plan on doing.”
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