Anti-democrats and the junta

22 03 2016

The anti-democrats in Thailand have a long history. They have usually been huddled around the monarchy and the military. There was a time, following the 1992 massacre of civilians, when democrats came into their own, and even some anti-democrats posed as democrats. An excellent example was the grinning mercenary and self-styled religious zealot Chamlong Srimuang.

The remnants of the People’s Alliance for Democracy and various other royalist and military-connected right-wing groups came together to support the People’s Democratic Reform Committee and cheered when the military ran its 22 May 2014 coup.

Since the coup, several of their leaders have been well-paid members of various of the junta’s puppet assemblies and so on.

With the military coming under attack from the middle class, mainly for its determination to stay in power, the anti-democrats have decided to support the junta on its claims that the military staying in power or having a veto over government are necessary for “reform.” That call for “reform” was the the catchphrase of the PDRC.

The Bangkok Post reports that a “pro-regime group has called on the administration to exert its executive powers to ensure reforms are in place before the next election.” Again, that is pure PDRC.

Green group secretary-general Jaturon Boonbenjarat is reported to have declared that “the government” and the junta “should emphasise reform issues over the draft charter, as time was running out.” The Green group was formed out of PAD.

These anti-democrats call for increased use of Article 44 for “reforms before elections without having to wait for completion of the draft charter … adding reforms could encompass police, judicial procedures, administration, to social inequality.”

“Reform” is code for rooting out the “Thaksin regime.” They want more purges of those they consider opponents.

They re not opposed “to the regime’s proposal of a five-year transitional post-election period, which includes an appointed Senate…”. But they are calling on the junta to listen to them: “Civic networks should speak out on what they want reforms to accomplish, and the regime should speed up efforts to put them in place…”.

One of the militant leaders of the PDRC and long-time Thaksin Shinawatra opponent Paiboon Nititawan, a former unelected senator, selected by the military dictatorship as a charter writer appointed by the junta’s puppet National Reform Council, said “he supported the regime’s proposal for an appointed Senate, which he said could help counter-balance the House of Representatives and the cabinet.”

Another junta puppet, Seri Suwannapanon, “chairman of the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA)’s committee in charge of political reforms, threw his support behind the selected senators, saying his panel had proposed the issue before the NCPO [junta] did.” Naturally enough, his “committee also backs the idea of allowing outsiders to become the prime minister and said the practice could help break the political impasse.” Nor did he “oppose the idea that civil servants be allowed to sit in the Upper House, but only if they can ensure the country’s stability and peace.”

The picture is of anti-democrats throwing their political weight behind the military, again.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports that “Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, chairman of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), said on Monday the proposals were not made by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) alone, in an apparent bid to ease pressure on the junta.” He says it’s a decision of the junta and all its puppet organizations: “the NCPO, NLA, cabinet and National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA).”

He’s clear that these junta puppet organizations do not want a “majority-controlled government” actually governing.


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