Thaksin Shinawatra has belatedly made comments on current politics and the path to permanent authoritarianism paved by the military and its royalist and anti-democratic allies.
Readers may recall that, a couple of days ago, PPT commented on the Puea Thai Party, stating that some in the party are putting all their political eggs in the election basket. However, election or not, the military foxes are not about to let the chickens run the hen house. We added that this was dumb. We said that whatever Puea Thai and Thaksin Shinawatra think about an election, the junta isn’t going anywhere.
In another post, journalist Shawn Crispin told us of yet another “deal” meant to protect Thaksin’s wealth and that of his family. Like all the other alleged deals, this one also seems to have melted back into thin air.
In the story at the FT, Thaksin, said to be in Singapore, described the “crazy” draft constitution as part of a “wider strategy to avoid a fair election it [the junta] fears it would lose.” We are not at all sure that the junta worries about losing an election, but this is a strategy to fix a result and we can only wonder why it has taken Thaksin so long to work this out and say this.
Thaksin reckons that internal polling is telling the “military and its civilian establishment allies” that they will be “defeated in an election by a party aligned with him [Puea Thai].”
We think the polling matters little and that the “establishment” is happy to remain in power whatever happens in referendum and any election (which will be rigged).
Thaksin does seem to agree with us on some things, as he “ridiculed constitutional proposals that critics say will neuter elected politicians and entrench authoritarianism.” His idea that he can advise the junta to “scrap them and consult with the public instead” is nonsensical.
On the constitution, he observes:
I can’t imagine that this kind of constitution can be written in this manner in the 21st century. It’s as if we are in the 18th century…. Instead of trying to write a crazy constitution, you had better have some discussion on what [people] would like to see.
Why would they consult? Okay, we understand that Thaksin and others are making a political point, but it really is dopey to think that The Dictator is going to listen. Perhaps there’s a thought that the “liberals” among the “establishment” will chuck him out. We don’t see it at the moment.
Thaksin has a different view and says: “I don’t [say] that this junta will not last long…. But any regime that [does] not respect the people will not last long. No one respects North Korea, namely.”
Well, the North Korean regime has considerable longevity….
Thaksin did agree that he “had been ‘quiet for too long’ and was speaking out now to counter ‘negative rumours’ about him. Thaksin said “he was not in any direct or indirect talks with the generals, despite rumours the two sides might strike a bargain to end the official pursuit of him and his family.”
Thaksin rather lamely called for “talks.” What kind of talks? Thaksin said: “I don’t set any kind of conditions for myself. I just want to see the country moving forward, to return democracy to the people.”
At the WSJ, Thaksin said the constitution is a “charade to show the world that Thailand is returning to democracy…”. He says: “There would be a prime minister, but the real power would be in some politburo above him and the economy would suffer. No other government would want to touch Thailand.” Maybe he should talk more with his Chinese friends. And, all the US wants is a civilian or civilianized premier.
Predictably, anti-democrats are agitated by Thaksin having found his voice. The Nation has an editorial which, to say the least, is bizarre. If we were generous, we say it is logically flawed. The editorial states that Thaksin should not be able to speak on the draft charter because he did not respect the 1997 constitution. The Nation’s writer seems to have lost an eye. Wasn’t it the military that threw out both the 1997 and 2007 constitutions?
Thaksin might be confused at times and he may have been arrogant and authoritarian in inclination, but it is not he who has the record of constitutional trashing. It is the military that holds the record for throwing out constitutions.