Strong coalition = strong extra-parliamentary opposition?

6 07 2011

As the victorious Puea Thai Party puts together a coalition government, there is even talk of renegade Phum Jai Thai Party members doing yet another back flip and heading back to Puea Thai. Some of the “traitors” may be returning with the aim of parliamentary strength.

PPT wonders if it is wise to build a seemingly impregnable coalition government of 300+ seats in parliament. After all, the last time this happened – Thaksin Shinawatra and the Thai Rak Thai Party in 2005 – this unleashed extra-parliamentary and extra-constitutional forces.

Listen to what the U.S. Embassy was saying back then, courtesy of Wikileaks:

“Evidence suggests that Prime Minister Thaksin is alienating an ever-growing segment of the political class…. [Because of TRT strength] The anti-Thaksin forces are reduced to hoping for help from two extremes — the street, and the palace.”

“Thaksin’s opponents can’t unseat him (at least, in the short term) through the ballot box, so they feel they have to try something. There isn’t much hope of seriously splintering TRT…. The opposition parties and NGOs remember 1992, when the power of street demonstrations, coupled with the resulting loss of royal support, helped oust a despised PM; those who are virulently anti-Thaksin hope such tactics might work again.”

“It is hard to see how Sondhi [Limthongkul] and the political opposition can inflict serious political damage on Thaksin with these current tactics. However, they are clearly set to keep provoking the PM with accusation after accusation, knowing that Thaksin, with his tendency to speak and act before he thinks, is frequently his own worst enemy.”

Can Thaksin’s impetuousness be contained? Will the parliamentary dominance of Puea Thai mean that its back to the streets and even the palace? Can they do it all again? The accusations are already flowing and the mainstream media is taking these up. And not mentioned in the above cable at all is the opposition in the military. Will red shirts and others who voted for Yingluck Shinawatra and Puea Thai accept another elite victory via proxies and the streets and military-palace?





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