Military partying

2 02 2018

Khaosod reports on the announcement of a new political party that many consider may become the vehicle for ensuring The Dictator’s path to “election” as premier well into the future.

It points to the new Citizen Power Party, established by Samphan Lertnuwat, an ageing military minion who says his as yet unregistered party will discuss supporting Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime minister after elections are held…” whenever that might be. Samphan said he “… think[s] it’s a long way off.”

When asked about his party’s policies Samphan ” espoused values reminiscent of Prayuth’s message of reconciliation and unity.” He added a little populism to the mix saying the party would put the “stress on helping the poor,” explaining that this would be “particularly in the rural areas…”. He claimed to have filched “about 30 former members of parliament” for his party, many of them targeting the northeast.

An eight-time MP, who’s been with several parties, he’s been an MP-for-hire. In 1991, he was with the Samakki Tham Party that was a military surrogate and the vehicle for “then-military dictator Gen. Suchinda Kraprayoon [who became] … prime minister for a short period before a bloody revolt in May 1992 that ended the strongman’s political career. Under Suchinda’s government, Samphan was a deputy commerce minister.”

He was also close to old military political meddler General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and many of the new party’s “members” seem to be linked to the New Aspiration Party, which was the vehicle for Chavalit briefly becoming an ignoble premier for a year in 1996-97.

Updated: Watching Prawit watching The Dictator

12 01 2018

Khaosod has a short story that says much. We quote a bit of it:

A week after declaring himself a politician, junta leader and expected political candidate Prayuth Chan-ocha got his first high-profile endorsement today from none other than his embattled deputy.

“I likely agree,” Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan said Thursday when asked if he thought Prayuth – who’s also currently prime minister – should return to lead the government after the general elections promised for November.

No surprise. For the junta it is just as night follows day….

Update: The Bangkok Post reports that the Deputy Dictator has gone further in his comments, dragging the barely concealed cat out of the bag and throwing it at the media. According to the report:

Prawit … has thrown his support behind a plan to set up a political party to back Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to return as a non-elected prime minister after the general election expected late this year.

This follows the announcement by military acolyte Paiboon Nititawan who finally confirmed “his intention to form his own party on March 1 and openly pledged his support for Gen Prayut to resume his premiership after the election.” He’s also linking the new party to the People’s Democratic Reform Committee calling it, for the moment, the People’s Reform Party.

This is just another event in the junta’s shenanigans as they work for the preferred “election” outcome.

The military party option

20 12 2017

There was some social media enthusiasm for The Dictator’s promised use of Article 44 to allow political parties to begin organizing for an “election.” Some of that prattle was about a “return to democracy.”

Leaving aside the use of a dictatorial decree for a “return to democracy” and the failure to consider what kind of “democracy” might follow a junta arranged, managed and directed “election,” that burst of enthusiasm soon waned.

It soon became clear that the military junta was stacking the deck even more than before.

The Bangkok Post reports that the junta “will give a green light to the formation of new political parties while limiting the activities of existing parties…”.

Article 44 will be used to “allow founders of new political parties to reserve party names, recruit members, collect membership fees and organise their first general assemblies to select their leaders and executives.” Each of these activities will require explicit permission from the junta.

The already existing 69 political parties will not be permitted to do anything other than “review their old memberships.”

The junta is unlikely to allow the existing parties to do very much at all until at least June 2018. And, it declared that it would be The Dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha who would decide “the timetables for the relevant political activities…”.

Meanwhile, The Dictator will continue his political campaigns with “cabinet meetings in Phitsanulok and Sukhothai provinces on Dec 25 and 26.”

The formation of new parties is likely to benefit the junta, with pro-military, military-backed and a military party all possibilities. The Dictator is in a position to control the formation and activities of all new parties.

At the same time he can limit the work of existing parties, which are hamstrung by The Dictator’s capacity to control their activities.

There can be no free and fair elections in Thailand. The claims of a “return to democracy” are nonsensical. Only The Dictator is able to campaign and politick. Only he can decide when an “election” may be held. He holds all the cards in a stacked deck.

Party like it’s 1991

26 10 2016

Back in August there was a report of a pro-military party being established by anti-democrat Paiboon Nititawan. He called on former military officers to join his “party.”

Because Paiboon had links to the junta, there were concerns that the “party” was to be the junta’s party for the next “election.” Things went quiet.

As the new rules for politics will likely mean a return to a pre-1997 pattern of coalition parties it seems that the military might see a need for more than one pro-military party.

The Bangkok Post reports that another anti-democrat party has been formed with military support. The party, Athippatai Puangchon Chao Thai (Thai people’s sovereignty) has been formed by Saman Singam and Praphat Ngoksungnoen, said to be associated with ultra-nationalist causes.

They claim that “Lt Gen Tharakrit Thapthongsit, deputy chief of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) Region 2, was behind the move, and was acting on behalf of Gen Prawit [Wongsuwan].”

Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit immediately denied any involvement.

An earlier report stated that Lt Gen Tharakit was “invited to preside over a foundation-stone laying ceremony of King Rama V statue at a learning centre of sufficiency economy philosophy in Sung Noen district on Sunday on behalf of Gen Prawit.” Praphat was reported to have arranged the royalist ceremony.

The two “announced the establishment of the People‘s Sovereignty Party after Lt Gen Tharakit left [the ceremony].”

Making an “election” outcome

2 09 2016

The Dictator is in campaign mode. His men are supporting him, with options being considered for a military party and a “civilian” rightist-royalist party.

Whatever party becomes a vehicle for General Prayuth Chan-0cha becoming premier following an “election” requires that that “election” produces the required victory for The Dictator’s supporters and for him.

We mentioned that one of his boys, talking of a party, then told the Election Commission how to rig the election for his party and The Dictator’s “victory.”

Now the Bangkok Post reports that ill-named “political reform assemblymen” have “proposed” that an election law be crafted to “allow the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) [the junta] to have a significant role in arranging the election expected next year.”

Junta land is indeed strange. But, presumably, rightists think all this “election” rigging is just fine because those rigging it are “good people.” For one thing, they’d assert that their people aren’t “politicians,” identified as the source of all evil in Thailand. (The greatest evil seems to have been allowing for popular sovereignty.)

This particular proposal for rigging the “election” was one of several proposals “that the political reform committee of the National Reform Steering Assembly submitted on Wednesday to the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) which will draft an election bill.”

The CDC spent a lot of time rigging the referendum outcome and setting the rules for Thailand’s dysfunctional political future.

It was “recommended a provisional clause that would allow the NCPO to closely cooperate with the Election Commission (EC) on organising and regulating the election.” Then this is added and is apparently a serious addendum: “The idea was meant to prevent criticism that the coup in 2014 was a failure.”

There would be no local involvement in elections. The Interior Ministry would “organise the election of MPs and local councillors.” Provincial election committees would “be dissolved and the EC [would be able to] order soldiers, police, administrative officials of the Interior Ministry and other government officials to support it during the election.”

The committee also proposed drastic measures against vote-buying. However, under their arrangements, vote-buying by the military’s party will be unnecessary anyway as the outcome is meant to be rigged for it.

The military’s party

30 08 2016

In a recent post, we commented on some of the tasks required of The Dictator. One we left out was the formation of a military-based political party. This now seems to be under consideration, holding out the notion to see what the reaction is.

To be honest, we would have guessed that the military or General Prayuth Chan-ocha would not have wanted to risk this move, having seen it rejected in the past. Yet it seems the junta and its supporters are now confident and they expect many Thais to accept such a move.

The Bangkok Post reports that as happened in 1991, the potential post-“election” premier has his military classmates looking to establish a military party.

The Post says that Sompong Sakawee, the head of the political party reform sub-committee of the National Reform Steering Assembly, states that “[s]ome of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s classmates have sought advice on the establishment of a new political party under new rules…”.

Sompong’s “advice” seems odd, seemingly a comment designed to advertise a military party. He says he told them “a new political party will no longer belong to a rich man like before. It will be owned by its members and membership fees will be collected…”.

He claims he’s advised that “[i]f the PM is to set up a political party, it should be different from existing parties. It must not be backed by a wealthy man or mobilise MPs.”

Sompong “said he believed there would be supporters and if there are 4-5 million members, the party can be set up.”

It seems that Sompong is explaining the military’s plans.

The military party

10 08 2016

It seems like only yesterday that we wrote:

Now that the military junta has had its way with the referendum and anti-democratic charter, its next task is to ensure that it gets the government it wants in place. We can see two possibilities: a new military-backed party or a coalition of anti-democrats, loosely organized around a revamped Democrat Party and probably sans Abhisit Vejjajiva.

It was the day before yesterday….

When we updated that post we said:

The junta has declared that there will be an election in 2017, but likely in December rather than July. And, apparently responding to PPT, has also stated that it will not establish a political party. Believe them? We don’t.

How much things change in just 48 hours. Or, they don’t, and the junta and The Dictator remain inveterate liars.

Here’s the Bangkok Post today:

One day after Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon indicated no military involvement in politics, plans were announced for a pro-coup political party to back Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as the post-election prime minister.

No surprises in this for anyone.

Nor is there any surprise that the new military party grows out of the anti-democratic, ultra-nationalist, royalist and statist Buddhist and anti-Thaksin Shinawatra movements:

The self-appointed leader of the new pro-military party is Paiboon Nititawan, a Buddhist activist who was a member of Gen Prayut’s original National Reform Council, formed in May, 2014, but now defunct.

Since then, he has been known mainly as a strong campaigner against the Dhammakaya sect, opposing the official nominee for Supreme Patriarch. He is closely aligned with the activist Buddhist monk and Bangkok Shutdown leader Phra Buddha Isara.

On Monday Mr Paiboon announced his intention to set up a party and run in the next general election for the House of Representatives.

He called for “retired” military officers to join his party.

Welcome to the era of strongmen, military politicians and repression. (Yes, we know, this began more than two years ago.)

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