Thaksin Shinawatra is nothing if not knowledgeable about the machinations of the elite. After all, he has been a member of the nouveau riche part of it, went to school with many who have had important roles in the security forces, and was thrown out by the senior royalist faction of the elite, and is now personally hated by many of them.
It is therefor no surprise to read in the Bangkok Post that Thaksin has come out to say: “Thailand must be under the democratic system, with the King as the head of state…”.
There might be considerable debate over what that means, but he is acting to head off the royalist election strategy, lead by the Army, of making a vote against Puea Thai Party a vote for the monarchy. Part of the strategy also includes using multiple lese majeste charges to drive home the point that Puea Thai and the red shirts are an anti-monarchy movement.
Thaksin has tweeted that “all parties in the political divide … stop making false charges against each other to allow the country to move forward…”. He added: “I asked all sides including the red-shirts, the yellow-shirts, political parties and the armed forces to refrain from using the high institution and slandering each other for political gain. ”
Thaksin joined the usual mantra – something he knows is false – saying “the monarchy is beyond politics and this highly respected high institution must not be dragged down to any political conflict for political gain.”
Even though he was overthrown in a coup hatched in and around the palace and these same forces have worked incessantly to destroy him and and related political movements, Thaksin must say this in order to show that the Puea Thai Party is loyal.
The main point is that Thaksin and his supporters need to try to take the monarchy out of the election campaign. That will be exceptionally difficult when the palace is so politically engaged.