Looking right

1 08 2021

There’s a lot of social media attention to political instability. There’s even rumors of a coup continuing to circulate.

In the English-language press, Chairith Yonpiam, assistant news editor at the Bangkok Post, wonders about Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s future as premier. He points to the “harsh words by MC [a princely title] Chulcherm Yugala, a staunch royalist, against the Prayut Chan-o-cha government, denouncing its poor handling of the Covid-19 outbreak…”. Chairith reckons that the old prince’s words “have stunned political observers and supporters of the prime minister” as the “prince’s criticism has triggered wild speculation over a possible new prime minister endorsed by the palace.”

Chulcherm reckoned “he would even consider joining the pro-democracy movement after its high-profile series of street protests, should its leadership drop their anti-monarchy stance.” Other rightists have been urging this as well, even in a poorly written and anonymous political piece in the same Bangkok Post.

Much of this speculation and urging reflects a perception that Gen Prayuth’s failures threaten the the royalist regime the Palang Pracharath Party. The rightists seem to be moving to a position where Gen Prayuth might be sacrificed in order to save the rightist-military-monarchy regime. As Chairith puts it:

It could be argued that a palace-endorsed PM is the last hope for the right-wing conservative camp in their efforts to maintain power. But having an outside PM rise to power via non-parliamentary means — once an accepted solution to political crises — would be an anachronism in this day and age.

Apirat (r)

The betting seems to be that the alternative premier is Gen Apirat Kongsompong, now a palace groveler-in-chief. But, his ascension would again demonstrate all that is wrong with the monarchy, even if the rightist-royalists may paint the change as another case of a monarch intervening to stem a crisis.At the same time, Gen Apirat is as hopeless as Gen Prayuth, with many of the same characteristics, suggesting that Tweedledum would be replacing Tweedledee, but that’s what the rightist-royalists seems to want.

Meanwhile, General Prayuth says he’s going nowhere. He’s “insisted he will neither resign nor dissolve the House as the country struggles to contain Covid-19… [and] warned politicians [MPs] not to exploit the crisis and incite hatred as that will only worsen the situation.” But it isn’t MPs who are his problem. It’s those who have been his ideological allies.


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