While the People’s Alliance for Democracy doesn’t have the same large numbers of people mobilized now as it did in 2005 and 2008, it continues to have enough support, including from elements in the military and elite to maintain a presence on the streets and in the media. At present it seems that PAD is again promoting its non-democratic form of conservatism. PPT mentioned Sondhi Limthongkul’s position in a recent post.
More recently, lawyer Praphan Khoonmee, who participated in the popular uprising on 14 October 1973 and joined the Communist Party after 6 October 1976 has spoken to PAD’s followers urging a system of government akin to Fascism. He is reported in Prachatai to have “contested general elections twice in 2005 and 2007 under the Democrat Party, but failed. He was appointed a member of the National Legislative Assembly after the 2006 coup. Currently, he is an executive member of the New Politics Party, and a host of an ASTV weekly programme.” He was even appointed an official adviser by the current Democrat Party-led government in 2009.
His elite and royalist connections are clear from his time as “a close aide of Squadron Leader Prasong Soonsiri.” Prasong is a well-known figure, a staunch royalist, anti-Thaksin activist, constitution drafter, behind-the-scenes PAD adviser, former security master and former appointed minister.
On 21 March, Praphan told the assembled yellow shirts that he “will accept any means to let good people govern the country, saying that it is their right to have a better political system.” He claims that, since 1932, “Thailand had been more ruined under elected governments than under military juntas and appointed governments.” This is all reactionary bilge.
He lists a bunch of military dictators and royal appointed leaders to back his claims, including Sanya Thammasak, Anand Panyarachun, General Prem Tinsulanonda and General Surayud Chulanont. He claims that all of these leaders – a long list, including People’s Party revolutionaries – produced less corruption than the evil, elected prime minister – Thaksin Shinawatra.
PPT has no idea how Praphan does his sums, but accuracy is not important for his is a call for an authoritarian, preferably military, regime. Dictators, he says, produced better results, and Thailand “flourished better under appointed PMs…”.
The former communist lauds all of the corrupt and dictatorial rulers he formerly hated, all in the name of opposing Thaksin and the idea that voters can make a reasonable decision on who should govern them.
Not surprisingly, he gives special attention to Privy Council President Prem. He says “elected politicians were in awe of military power” meaning that Prem could make Thailand a “country was full of happiness, without the need of elections.” Of course, there were elections and attempted coup, but Prem retained the support of the palace.
The elected politicians, including Abhisit Vejjajiva, he says, were all hopeless and corrupt: “This is the system of elections! A sham democracy!” He says “anybody” would be better than “the current politicians.” He adds: “And if you ask what system we want if we don’t want elections, we will accept any system which does not let these scoundrels govern. Any system which lets good people govern will do. We’re not seeking a system which will threaten the nation, religion and king.”
He calls on soldiers, police, and government officials to “stand up for the good of the country.”
PAD seem back to their undemocratic best. In our earlier post, we asked: Who is supporting PAD and keeping it on the streets? We also noted that Sondhi and his retired military backers were steering a course to the extreme right. Praphan confirms that. Will this have traction? Will the military buy in?