Fixing the election V

18 05 2011

We think PPT has said most of what follows in various ways in recent weeks. We’re repeating it here because Marwaan Macan-Markar at the The Irrawaddy has said it so well in his latest story.

Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha “appears determined to carve out a dominant role for the military in the coming weeks, as political parties seek to woo an estimated 45 million voters ahead of the general election on July 3.” PPT felt they pretty much had the dominant role following the 2006 coup and the various attacks on the opposition. The point is that he wants to carve it in Palaeolithic stone.

His actions targeting the opposition red shirts and Puea Thai Party are listed, and we itemize from the article:

* Two days after the parliament was dissolved, Prayuth ordered a military reshuffle dispatching hard-line officers to take over the command in … opposition strongholds.

* Jatuporn Promphan was jailed… The army chief had a hand in this turn of events: he had ordered a complaint filed against Jatuporn for a speech containing comments alleged to have insulted the Thai monarchy.

* 13 community radio stations in and around the Thai capital had been raided by a team that had included military officers.

* And PPT throws in the 18-20 lese majeste allegations that the Army chief has sprayed about in recent weeks.

The article calls these “brazen acts [that] have confirmed the suspicions that the military has set its sights on retaining a prominent role on the stage of national affairs.”

Thitinan Pongsudhirak is cited:”The army’s intention to call the shots before and after the polls is blatant…. Gen. Prayuth is everywhere. He is hawkish and he doesn’t hide his hard line attitude…. The military is … focused on propping up the (ruling) Democrat Party-led coalition…. The rules are being stacked up in favor of (incumbent Prime Minister) Abhisit (Vejjajiva’s) coalition.”

As Marwaan observes, this “is an alliance that holds no surprises, given the role the military played in stitching a backroom deal to enable Abhisit’s Democrat Party to receive parliament’s backing to form a coalition government in December 2008.”

If the Army boss’s brazen interventions still see Puea Thai come out on top, despite his statements to the contrary, PPT doubts that he will accept the voter’s choice. This seems like the new vicious cycle in Thai politics.



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