Abhisit’s victory, queen deals and the Army boss

1 07 2011

As we recently posted, Shawn Crispin at Asia Times has reported that his unnamed sources say that a deal has been done to allow Puea Thai to form a government. Bangkok Pundit reckons he heard something similar.

The story has appeared in many places now. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this reporting is that all the Thai media leave out the alleged involvement of the queen in the dealing, through her lady-in-waiting Jarungjit Thikara. Even the Bangkok Post has left this choice bit out of a lead story. Is it the fear of lese majeste? No, can’t be as that doesn’t apply to a lady-in-waiting. Perhaps it is because the mainstream media has no spine for anything that shows the palace deeply involved in politics, even by way of rumors.

One person who seems to know nothing of all of this – or at least is giving any hint of it – is Abhisit Vejjajiva. Perhaps this rumored deal is why Kraisak Choonhavan reckons Abhisit is about to be thrown aside by the elite?

Whatever the case, Abhisit has come up with an election prediction. In the Bangkok Post story linked above, he is reportedly “exuding confidence” and insists that “his party will certainly win the July 3 election and have the legitimacy to form the next government.” There are no polls now, and Abhisit can make claims like this without having to deal with polls that show he’s dreaming. But is he? “winning” can have several dimensions. Does he know something about how the election will pan out that seems inconceivable? We just have a sneaking suspicion that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Could there be a stitch-up? That suggestion is out there with other rumors.

Outside rumors, we do have a definitive statement from Army boss Prayuth Chan-ocha. He’s reported in the Bangkok Post as stating that there will be no coup if Puea Thai win the election. But is this definitive? We know from 2006 that such statements aren’t worth much, but read the story:

“There will definitely not be a coup even if the Pheu Thai Party wins the election and has the legitimacy to form a government, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha reiterated on Thursday…. Gen Prayuth also repeated his call that all sides refrain from trying to drag the military into politics. Whoever is government, the army is duty-bound to protect national sovereignty, he said.”

Is that definitive? PPT watched Prayuth on television, and this account seems reasonably true to his words, although we can’t tell what was edited out.

There will be no coup if Puea Thai wins and has the legitimacy to form a government. And who decides on legitimacy? Prayuth’s statement that whatever government is in palace, the army is duty-bound to protect national sovereignty, says nothing about following the legal directions of that government. The bit left out by the Post relates to this statement, where Prayuth also talked about protecting the monarchy. PPT assumes that this is a statement directed at Puea Thai and red shirts. If party supporters act in ways the Army boss thinks infringe on the monarchy or sovereignty (on Cambodia perhaps), then the government becomes an enemy.

We think his claim of no coup is, in fact, another warning.


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