Elections, shooters and pretenders

7 02 2014

This is a bit of a news roundup from PPT, of things we’d like to say more on but just don’t have time.

We just saw a report by Kocha Olarn who is CNN International’s producer in Bangkok. He was caught in the shooting at Laksi last Saturday, and contrary to what General Prayuth Chan-ocha has said, he was initially with pro-election/red shirt marchers. His account is of how they were attacked and shot by anti-democrat shooters. The shooters he saw seem like well-trained military types, apparently using snipers and two-man teams of shooters, with the latter shown in the video. They have body armor and other pictures have shown radios. They really look like military. Little wonder that Prayuth has been so voluble in denial and antagonistic.

At New Mandala, Nick Nostitz has just posted his account of the Laksi events, with his usual graphic photos.

After the anti-democrat shooting, there was the 2014 election. Chris Baker has an analysis of the voting at New Mandala and Bangkok Pundit has another.

Failed ministerOld prince Mom Ratchawong Pridiyathorn Devakula caused a kerfuffle yesterday calling on the government to resign via an open letter to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

(Actually, we should say “young” as the wealthy prince – he an his wife were worth 1 billion baht back in 2009 – is only in his late 60s, and most of the old duffers who think they should be running the country are a lot older than this!)

He’s been praised by the anti-democrats, but given that he is one of them, this is no surprise (see his “patriotic” pocket square in the picture). Opponents accused Pridiyathorn of wanting to be an appointed premier if Yingluck’s government could be ditched. In fact, Pridiyathorn has a longish history of craving high position and was talked about as a possible premier immediately after the 2006 military coup. Instead that position went to someone even closer to the king.

Pridiyathorn became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, and this saw one of the most spectacular failures ever in Thailand’s modern political history. He lasted just a few months, with his most disastrous decision being his decision on capital controls. We quote Wikipedia:

Pridiyathorn instituted capital controls to attempt to reverse a strengthening of the baht, but reversed the measure after the Thai stock market crashed, destroying US$20 billion of market value in one day. Pridiyathorn later noted that “This was not a mistake…”.

He obviously believes in himself and his ability to provide “advice” despite this catastrophic crash-and-burn failure. The old elite has nothing if not unshakable confidence in their own greatness. And, he is taken seriously by those on the anti-democrat side.

And on pretending, the Constitutional Court has been at it again. Official red shirt Weng Tojirakarn has criticised the Courts “verdict that anti-government protesters are merely exercising constitutional rights of assembly.” He says: “The verdict of the court contradicts with reality…”. That’s true of most of the court’s politicized decisions. He also points out that court:

insisted that the PCAD is simply exercising the rights of peaceful assembly – which is protected under the Constitution – in response to the government′s pursuit of a legislation that would have absolved the corruption conviction of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Weng asked: “I′m curious whether the court is in league with Mr. Suthep…”. That would seem a rhetorical question.



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