Manipulating and scheming I

3 10 2018

Soonruth Bunyamanee is the editor of the Bangkok Post and author of an op-ed on “rumors” In Thai politics. He’s writing about the “rumor” that the Palang Pracharath Party is a party set up for and by the military junta and its associated anti-democrats.

Soonruth reckons it was a “rumor” that the puppet party/devil party “was set to be a vehicle to bring Gen Prayut[h Chan-ocha] back as prime minister after a general election tentatively planned for Feb 24.” Trouble is, it wasn’t a rumor. Just because the junta denied and demurred didn’t make it any less of a truth known by all.

What we have now is just the final touches on a plan hatched long ago and the henchmen being identified. But we understand Soonruth’s reasons for portraying the already known as “rumor.” He wants to point out what others are now pointing to: that The Dictator “will be put forward as a prime ministerial candidate on a party list ahead of the poll, even though the PM has not yet unveiled his political future.”

Of course, this is dubious because it would be unconstitutional. We know the junta care nought for law, but even this would likely be a step too far. It seems more likely that his plan is to be “invited” to take the premiership following the election. But, as we said before, he can only do that for a maximum of 8 years, and he’ll likely be at 4.5-5 years by the time this deal is done (and if the election rigging works out).

Back to facts. Soonruth points out that Palang Pracharath has 5-6 persons running it who also sit in cabinet or Government House and that the junta “has pledged to inject huge amounts of cash into the economy, particularly among grass-root communities. Since the middle of this year, it has disbursed large sums nationwide to finance its Thai Niyom Yangyuen scheme.” There’s buckets of taxpayer money being poured into the electorate. That’s a fact and it is as blatant as an MP offering to buy votes.

Soonruth states: “The government is backing its ministers’ expanded role in the PPP to contest the upcoming election, but their involvement in the distribution of state funds to finance populist projects looks to be verging on a conflict of interest.” It isn’t “verging” on anything. It is one more effort to rig the election. Everyone knows it and can see it.

He adds: “If we were living in a democracy, the current government would take on a caretaker role once an election date was set, and thus would be barred from doing what it is doing.” Of course it would, but this is a military dictatorship rigging an election.

His plea that the “[military] government and the military regime [junta] should pave the way for a new dawn in Thai politics by acting ethically and in the interests of a brighter, democratic future” is like a song not heard for a while. The junta is has no notion of ethics, prefers darkness over dawns and is anti-democratic.


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