Abhisit’s reconciliation is about dealing with friends and allies

14 06 2010

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has talked a lot about reconciliation and this has been met by considerable skepticism. There’s good reason for that. Mostly, he rejects opposition and speaks only to his buddies and yellow-shirted supporters.

There are three recent examples of this. Two are included in a Bangkok Post story. The headline is that Abhisit is calling in the UN and ASEAN. That headline would seem out of place given the government’s consistent rejection of outside mediation in Thailand’s continuing political conflict. So what’s happening?

He’s dealing with his Democrat Party buddies. It’s as simple as that. Abhisit “has asked United Nations Conference on Trade and Development secretary-general Supachai Panitchpakdi and Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan to help promote his road map to national reconciliation.” Both are former Democrat Party ministers and Supachai was touted as a potential leader of the party.

The “prime minister said during his weekly radio and television address yesterday he has told Mr Supachai and Mr Surin about his government’s efforts to bring about reconciliation.” Well, of course he has. Both men have been close to the government and Surin in particular seems to see little difference between being ASEAN secretary-general and traveling the world on Abhisit’s coat tail.

Abhisit wants these two officials of international organizations to “help explain the government’s efforts to the world.” PPT would think that the UN and ASEAN should be agog at the idea of these international leaders using their organizations for a partisan, single-country propaganda exercise.

That Abhisit says that “both Mr Supachai and Mr Surin have agreed to explain the government’s road map to reconciliation internationally” should be cause for concern and reprimand of the two men, if Abhisit has got this right.

The third instance relates to Abhisit’s appointment of National Institute of Development Administration rector Sombat Thamrongthanyawong to head a constitutional review panel, as “one of the organs of the national reconciliation road map programme.” Sombat is one of the most compromised of academics, having been harshly critical of red shirts, supportive of all post-coup governments and supportive of yellow shirts. Sure, he’s made some critical comments, but he has been solidly conservative, even rallying his fellow academics at NIDA to oppose those he sees as pro-Thaksin Shinawatra.

In sum, as PPT has observed before, Abhisit’s notion of reconciliation is simply political nonsense. Actually, it is probably worse than this, for he’s stitching up the opposition, ignoring them and will then claim they are obstacles to reconciliation as he pushes for further repression of all opposition.


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22 06 2010
The desire to crush all opposition « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] was always more than ending the demonstration at Rajaprasong. For the royalist ruling class, the desire is to crush opposition that is seen as challenging to their social, political and economic power. The crackdown is […]

22 06 2010
The desire to crush all opposition « Politicalprisonersofthailand's Blog

[…] was always more than ending the demonstration at Rajaprasong. For the royalist ruling class, the desire is to crush opposition that is seen as challenging to their social, political and economic power. The crackdown is […]

16 07 2010
Getting reconciliation wrong « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] so-called reconciliation plan or road map to be particularly about reconciliation (see here and here as […]

23 02 2012
Appointing royalists to consider constitutional (non-)amendment « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] royalists and PAD supporters Chai-Anan Samudvanij, Charas Suwanmala and Pramote Nakhonthap. In June 2010, Abhisit Vejjajiva appointed Sombat to head a constitutional review panel. That panel did nothing […]

23 02 2012
Appointing royalists to consider constitutional (non-)amendment « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] royalists and PAD supporters Chai-Anan Samudvanij, Charas Suwanmala and Pramote Nakhonthap. In June 2010, Abhisit Vejjajiva appointed Sombat to head a constitutional review panel. That panel did nothing […]




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