In an earlier post we noted that Suthep Thaugsuban’s return to political activism had caused some concern amongst the military dictatorship. Indeed, some have warned him and his anti-democrats to remain politically quiet.
However, despite the fact that the military dictatorship bans political opponents from meeting, it allowed the anti-democrat cabal-cum-“foundation” to meet and hold a press conference.
The double standards were made clear when puppet member of the National Reform Council and long-time Thaksin Shinawatra opponent Paiboon Nititawan supporting Suthep, stating it is “Suthep’s right… to express his opinion…”. Of course, he would not say that for his opponents.
That press conference, led by Suthep, resulted in a declaration that they wanted the military dictatorship to “accomplish its reform goals before elections are held, no matter how long the process takes.”
NRC secretary-general Alongkorn Ponlaboot also supported Suthep and reckoned that some “reform” could be “done quickly, and some may be take many years, such as reforms about corruption.” He added that “reforms of all aspects should not take more than four years, because it’s a mission for this government and the next government.” It remains unclear if the “next government” would be an elected government.
Some in the junta will probably agree with Suthep yet they also drew a response, with the usually rather quiet General Anupong Paojinda mumbling that the junta’s “roadmap” is still in place with an election probably/maybe/anybody’s guess sometime late in 2016.
Update: Thanks to a report at The Nation, the support for Suthep and his “foundation” within the military regime is much clearer. That report is about Suthep’s announcement that the failed former foreign minister and yellow shirt activist Kasit Piromya is to act as a “foreign-affairs representative of the People’s Democratic Reform Foundation with the goal of forging a mutual understanding between Thailand and the international community.”
Kasit was a failure in this role when foreign minister under the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime so there is no likelihood that he will be more successful for a bunch of anti-democrats. Yet it is the comments from Panitan Wattanayagorn that are most revealing.
Panitan, routinely described as an “international-relations academic from Chulalongkorn University” when he has no identifiable impact as an academic, is really a stooge for the military, acting as “a key adviser to Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.”
When Panitan says that “Kasit would likely act in favour of national interests and not for any particular group, including the current military-led government” he is stating the military junta’s position. His view on the anti-democrat’s “foundation” is the junta’s position: “It’s not unusual for a non-political, pro-society foundation to help build a better understanding towards Thailand for outsiders.”
Of course, Panitan’s claims are lies and spin, but they are also an accurate reflection of the alliance that exists, and has long existed, between the anti-democrats and the royalist military clique.