Abhisit finds an election plot

18 06 2011

In response to the directions issued by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, numerous commentators have reacted negatively to Prayuth’s political intervention. His main defenders have been his unarmed brothers in the Democrat Party.

The Bangkok Post says that “political heavyweights” not just supported Prayuth, but “welcomed” them! In the surreal world of Democrat Party politics, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva can state that “there was no hint in Gen Prayuth’s remarks as to which party people should vote for.” Abhisit is probably the only person in Thailand who believes this to be the case. Everyone else was crystal clear that Prayuth was making a statement against the Puea Thai Party.

Not to be outdone in the I-have-no-credibility stakes on this issue, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said “Prayuth’s interview was not a show of support for the Democrat party.” He also claimed that any report that he had met with Prayuth before the general’s diatribe were “untrue.” It is not clear from the report that Suthep is denying that any meeting took place.

Suthep does admit to meeting Army chief-of-staff General Dapong Rattanasuwan, apparently to give the Army support when it has been criticized.

The bonds between the Democrat Party and the Army have never been stronger, and both Abhisit and Suthep have reiterated that they are ready to work with and cooperate with the Army in all ways. It seems the bonding is strong as they face the election together.

One of the items that has clearly been decided is for the Democrat Party to get “tougher.” That has been the call from business and other supporters. PPT has no doubt the Army brass has been saying the same thing. This is how The Nation explains Abhisit’s last-ditch plea to the electorate: “It was probably a punch as hard as Abhisit Vejjajiva could ever throw. Whether his bringing up of last year’s fiery red-shirt fiery to the election race will rattle the hot favourite Pheu Thai Party and whether it will backfire remains to be seen, but his last card is apparently on the table…. [C]aution has been thrown to the winds.”

It’s not a new strategy as the Democrat Party has floated it for some time, more insistently since last weekend, and now it seems to be the only talking point.

The Nation reports that Abhisit, like Prayuth, has drawn on the monarchy for political support. In words that echo those of Princess Chulabhorn in the syrupy Woody interview, Abhisit complained that: “he had never thought Thais would torch their capital the way Ayutthaya was raided by the Burmese in 1767.” He went on to add that “King Taksin restored the country’s independence after Ayutthaya was torched. I never dreamed that in my life, after enemies raided the country twice, I would see my fellow countrymen torch our city…”. He seemed to compare himself to Taksin and his army.

The next couple of weeks will be nothing if not interesting as desperation replaces policy for the Democrat Party. PPT still doesn’t rule them out as they may have small numbers but they have the big guns behind them.




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