Abhisit, coups and “rule of law”

2 02 2010

The breathless discussion of coups is on all sides of the political divides in Thailand. Doing what he does best, prancing about with the rich and powerful and speaking to journalists who have little knowledge of Thailand, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has spoken on coups while at Davos (Associated Press, 30 January 2010).

Abhisit sees “no threat of his government being ousted in a coup despite speculation back home, insisting that the rule of law would triumph over intimidation.” Recall that it was only a week ago that he said: “Do not worry about a house dissolution because nobody can threaten me as long as I am the prime minister” (Bangkok Post, 27 January 2010).

In his Associated Press interview Abhisit said “any talk of his government being overthrown was linked to the February court decision on whether to confiscate more than $2 billion in assets linked to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and his supporters’ attempts to destabilize the country.”

Abhisit seems to be talking about destabilization and a coup from Thaksin Shinawatra supporters. On that side, the red shirts are demonstrating to oppose a coup or a “self-coup” by the government. PPT was listening to red shirt community radio yesterday and all the talk was of a coup to stabilize the government rather than bring it down. The opposed viewpoints are interesting indeed.

Abhisit made all of his now standard claims: “We have turned the economy around,” and claims to be “reaching out to all sections of the population.” He adds: We are also observing the rule of law.” All of this is debatable but it is now the mantra, especially for the foreign audience.

Abhisit said there was no need for any political change outside of new elections.” And he promised to hold elections when there were assurances that violence and intimidation tactics would be avoided.” This, too, is a mantra and could mean anything Abhisit wants it to mean or could be a justification for no election until there is absolute certainty of a royalist-Democrat Party triumph. Delaying elections beyond the required date could be “fixed” if that was required.

And, of course, in the normal course of events, there is just too much loot at stake in the Thai khemkaeng projects for parliament to be dissolved anytime soon.

Addressing his political opponents, Abhisit makes yet another remarkable claim. He blames them for “speculation about violence…”. This is a hollow claim when one looks at the record of the government’s own claims and use of the Internal Security Act, always justified by intelligence regarding violence.

Abhisit also “acknowledged that some in Thailand were ‘frustrated’ that the legal system has been slow in addressing transgressors among his own supporters…”. He says: “There’s been constant progress on the work of the police on all those cases…”. Really What’s the evidence for this? If there is any, PPT hasn’t seen it yet. For the time-being, we’ll consider this another of Abhisit’s fibs that he is so prone to utter when speaking of his brand of “rule of law.”



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