It is six years since the yellow-tagged military rolled its tanks into Bangkok’s streets to oust Thaksin Shinawatra and his Thai Rak Thai Party government. Thaksin had many faults and made many mistakes. Paramount amongst them was his development as a popular leader – in February 2005 his party had won the biggest ever landslide in Thailand’s electoral history – and the threat this apparently posed to Thailand’s royalist elite.
Behind government administrations lurked the real power holders in the military brass, the palace and the upper echelons of the bureaucracy who together comprised the royalist state. Thaksin’s reliance on votes and the fact that he accumulated them as never before was an existential threat to the powers that be. Their final response after destabilizing the elected government was to get the military to chuck it out.
Six years later, with Thaksin’s youngest sister in the prime minister’s chair, the political struggle continues. PPT felt that our best way of observing the anniversary of the military-palace power grab is to re-link to the Wikileaks cables that reflect most directly on that coup. Here they are:
- Prem Tinsulanonda prepares the ground for the coup
- The king’s relaxed and laughing attitude to the coup
- Samak Sundaravej’s comments on the queen and her political position on the coup
- The junta as the Council for Democratic Reform Under the Monarchy
- Prem relaxed, confident, and very pleased with the course of events
- Abhisit Vejjajiva welcomes the coup
- Human Rights Watch’s Sunai Phasuk on the coup of last option
- U.S. Ambassador on the coup as good news
- Anand Panyarachun on supporting the coup
- Bowornsak Uwanno as a messenger for the junta
There are more cables on the figures circling around the coup and the events immediately before and after the coup, giving a pretty good picture of how the royalist elite behaved and what they wanted the embassy to know.