It is nine years since the yellow-tagged military rolled its tanks into Bangkok’s streets to oust Thaksin Shinawatra and his Thai Rak Thai Party government.
Thaksin had many faults and made many mistakes.
Important in his errors was becoming an electorally popular leader – in February 2005 his party had won the biggest ever landslide in Thailand’s electoral history – and the threat this posed for Thailand’s royalist elite.
Behind government administrations lurked the real power holders in the military brass, the palace and the upper echelons of the bureaucracy who together comprised the royalist state. Some referred to this as the network monarchy and others identified a deep state.
Thaksin’s reliance on votes and the fact that he accumulated them as never before was an existential threat to the powers that be. The elite feared for its control of political, economic and social power.
Their final response, after destabilizing the elected government through the activities of the yellow-shirted People’s Alliance for Democracy, was to get the military to throw Thaksin and TRT out.
In a reprise of those events, in 2014, Thaksin’s youngest sister Yingluck and her government were sent packing by another military coup that followed destabilization by anti-democrats.
PPT felt that as a way of observing the anniversary of the military-palace power grab on 19 September 2006, we would link to Wikileaks cables that reflect most directly on that coup. Here they are:
- Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda prepares the ground for the coup
- The king’s relaxed and laughing attitude to the coup
- Samak Sundaravej’s comments on the queen and her political position on the coup
- The junta as the Council for Democratic Reform Under the Monarchy
- Prem relaxed, confident, and very pleased with the course of events
- The Democrat Party’s Abhisit Vejjajiva welcomes the coup
- Human Rights Watch’s Sunai Phasuk on the coup of last option
- U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce on the coup as good news
- Royalist Anand Panyarachun on supporting the coup
- Lawyer-for-hire Bowornsak Uwanno as a messenger for the junta
There are more cables on the figures circling around the coup and the events immediately before and after the coup, giving a pretty good picture of how the royalist elite behaved and what they wanted the U.S. embassy to know.
The royalist elite came to feel that the 2006 coup failed as pro-Thaksin parties managed to continue to win elections. The result was the development of an anti-democracy ideology and movement that paved the way for the 2014 coup and the military dictatorship that is determined to uproot the “Thaksin regime” and make elections events that have no meaning.