Abhisit and Korbsak

10 10 2009

PPT observes that, as corruption allegations widen and deepen within the Democrat Party, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is increasingly unable to maintain his “clean” credentials.

The Bangkok Post (9 October 2009: “PM: Korbsak accepts new job”) reports that Abhisit has appointed Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Korbsak Sabhavasu as his secretary-general. He will be replaced as Deputy PM by Trairong Suwannakhiri, a Democrat Party stalwart from the south, close to the Party old guard. [Update: a reader points out that this is a demotion for Korbsak. PPT agrees. At the same time, as has been shown recently, secretary-general is also a significant position.]

Korbsak is an Abhisit ally, but is also tainted by corruption and nepotism associated with the sufficiency economy shenanigans at the Office for Sufficiency Economy Community Projects, which seem to have been more or less covered up. So is this a promotion or a demotion for Korbsak?

It is hard to tell at present, as the reshuffling should strengthen Abhisit and his backer Chuan Leekpai. Certainly, the Democrats seem to be realigning and factionalizing. Much of this is under pressure from the uncomfortable relationship that the Party has with its Bhum Jai Thai allies in government.

However, keeping Korbsak and having him in a high profile position when he is tainted by corruption allegations is a potentially dangerous move for Abhisit.

In the sufficiency economy projects scandal, Korbsak resigned his role and his brother, who was deputy head of the office resigned, but there has been no accounting so far for the corruption that was exposed. Putting a well-known royalist Mechai Viravaidya in charge of the office seems to have buried the allegations. In any case, back then, Abhisit acknowledged that the investigations would be on the backburner: “I agree with Mr Korbsak’s decision to let Mr Mechai oversee the project. Some schemes under the project will have to be halted so Mr Mechai can examine and fine-tune them.”

Abhisit needs all the support he can muster, so a tainted Korbasak can’t be held responsible for failures, corruption and nepotism.

For more on this story, see here.



2 responses

10 10 2009
New: PAD and the New Politics Party « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Take Action New: Abhisit and Korbsak […]

20 01 2010
Sufficiency economy projects and corruption « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] after that, especially as the projects disappeared from the news. That disappearing act followed the appointment of well-known royalist MechaiViravaidya to take charge of the Office […]

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