Floods, non-agreements and politics

19 11 2011

Shawn Crispin at Asia Time Online can usually be counted on for a conspiratorial take on politics. PPT has to admit that Thailand’s politics does lend itself to conspiracy theories and recent events seem especially opaque, probably because so many actors are in play that many of them don’t know what their allies (let alone enemies) are doing and why.

Crispin’s account on this occasion warrant full reading. What caught our collective eye were two elements of the story.

The first relates to Crispin’s account of an alleged deal or “pre-election accommodation” that he revealed in an earlier story and that was supposedly “reached in Brunei between Thaksin [Shinawatra] interlocutors, the military and a section of the royal palace that underpinned this year’s smooth democratic transition and raised hopeful new prospects for national reconciliation after six years of on-off crises.”

Oddly, this story gives considerable reason for believing that no such accommodation existed or, if it did, lasted only a matter of days. Crispin points out that: “Before the deluge, Yingluck [Shinawatra]’s government was steadily moving to undermine several royal establishment power bases in the name of political reform, putting the military, bureaucracy, judiciary and anti-Thaksin media outlets on the political back foot.” Even before this, Crispin says that “trial balloons floated by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung” attacked these groups. The so-called deal was dead on delivery.

The second aspect of the story that grabbed our attention is the resurrection of the royalists via the military. Crispin begins with the bizarre notion that “the military has forwarded the democratic notion, including over its mouthpiece television news station, that it serves as a ‘people’s army’ through its lead role in evacuations, emergency transport and aid delivery.”

As PPT observed a week ago, General Prayuth Chan-ocha “has emerged as a de facto spokesman for hospitalized King Bhumibol Adulyadej by conveying in public statements the revered monarch’s perspective on how best to deal with the flooding. Royal army units have conspicuously worn tee-shirts with ‘King’s Guard’ emblazoned across their backs while conducting emergency operations, underscoring the notion that the palace and military are working hand-in-hand to provide flood relief.”

Crispin notes that the “palace, too, has waded into the battle for public perceptions.” He notes the oddity of Princess Chulabhorn’s unconfirmed claims that the king had “lost consciousness” and “suffered from intestinal bleeding” that Crispin says “some royalists and independent analysts interpreted as veiled criticism of Yingluck’s crisis management.”

He is right to note that “Yingluck has bowed to royal authority, including through direct consultations with King Bhumibol…. The obeisance was also seen in her appointment of Thongtong Chandrangsu, a top royal adviser to Princess Sirindhorn, to take over as spokesman of her Flood Relief Operations Command (FROC), and Sumet Tantivejkul, one of King Bhumibol’s closest advisers, to steer a committee overseeing the government’s flood rehabilitation efforts.” He adds that “some analysts believe royalist bureaucrats involved in water management have intentionally skewed and backtracked on their assessments and predictions to make Yingluck appear conflicted in her media appearances.”

Crispin concludes with this: “Renewed anti-Thaksin street protests threaten new bouts of instability, particularly if the establishment forces that shunned the PAD’s anti-Cambodia, anti-Democrat Party protests last year rededicate their resources to the more unifying anti-Thaksin cause. As Thailand’s flood waters slowly recede, a new crisis is already emerging on the political horizon.” As PPT explained in an earlier post, the reunification has been rapid.


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20 11 2011
Floods, non-agreements and politics « Political Prisoners in Thailand · Republican Party News

[…] Follow this link: Floods, non-agreements and politics « Political Prisoners in Thailand […]

11 02 2016
The longevity of dictators | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] tactics, Crispin refers to another “deal” done with Thaksin Shinawatra. (Remember the deal he claimed was done when Yingluck came to power? Later, that seemed to no longer hold.) The new “deal” is meant to protect […]

11 02 2016
The longevity of dictators | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] tactics, Crispin refers to another “deal” done with Thaksin Shinawatra. (Remember the deal he claimed was done when Yingluck came to power? Later, that seemed to no longer hold.) The new “deal” is meant to protect […]




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