When the junta rigs elections II

16 10 2018

It is reported that criticism of the junta’s ministers doubling as Palang Pracharath Party leaders and officials is continuing. And so it should. The double standards of this regime are huge.

Ordered to vote

Puea Thai has “cried foul over four ministers … [and] whether the pro-government party has been given leeway to conduct political activities which are still banned for everyone else.”

Indeed, the ministers have been meeting civic groups and brazenly campaigning. Junta supporters can do what they want as part of the junta’s rigging of the “election.”

Even the Bangkok Post says “Palang Pracharath is seen as having effectively begun campaigning while other parties are still only limited to some activities such as membership registration.”

The puppet Election Commission reckons the Palang Pracharath ministers can give interviews and conduct party business at their ministerial workplaces.

That’s exactly what we have come to expect of this junta agency.

The Dictator’s scheming

6 10 2018

A couple of days ago the Bangkok Post commented on Sam Mitr/Three Friends/Three Allies nest of traitors and bought politicians.

It no claims to be “set to bring its 70 members to join the Palang Pracharath Party, which is seen as a political vehicle to support Prime Minister [Gen] Prayut Chan-o-cha’s return to power” after the junta’s rigged election.

One of the lead traitors and junta supporters, Suriya Juangroongruangkit has confirmed that the group has recruited 70 for the lead devil party.

Suriya recounted that his “return to politics” was orchestrated with another top traitor, Somkid Jatusripitak. Suriya revealed that Somkid, while serving the junta told him “that he will set up a party that is friendly to every party and comes up with policies that will benefit the people…”. Of course, this is buffalo manure because the Somkid’s work is for The Dictator.

Somkid is said to have been planning this for the junta’s boss “back when we did not have a name for the party, and [he] asked how can I bring the Sam Mitr group to join…”. So the junta’s campaigning really was based on building a party and using state funds to do much of the work under the guise of mobile cabinet meetings.

It is claimed that of the 70 recruits, 30 are former MPs, mostly poached from other parties.

A spokesman for Sam Mitr continued the buffalo manure, saying the group “has decided to join Palang Pracharath because the party has offered itself as an alternative for the public. Most importantly, Palang Pracharath has agreed that it will adopt the group’s proposals and integrate them as part of the party’s policy.” What he means is that they are all supporting The Dictator.

The so-called proposals are all “policies” meant to garner votes by forking out taxpayer loot “for village heads, kamnan, health volunteers, disaster prevention volunteers and the elderly,” all of which are meant to garner village-level votes. And then there’s the plagiarized Thaksin Shinawatra initiative reworked: the “One Million Cows” scheme.

The spokesman said admitted that the group had already been campaigning, having “travelled to the provinces to hear people’s problems over the past four months…”. No other major party is allowed to do anything like this.

The Dictator seems to feel he’s got the “election” pretty much where he wants it.

Campaigning not oppressing

5 10 2018

Prior to campaigning internationally and building his profile as a “real leader,” The Dictator has been campaigning in Bangkok.

Honing his populist skills, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha took the subway and a passenger boat on the Phadung Krungkasem Canal. His minders giggled and explained this was so The Dictator could “get first-hand experience of commuting in the capital.” It was really for the former Army boss and coup leader to be seen as a “politician” with the people rather than a thug repressing and oppressing them.

Declaring “he was not campaigning for votes but had to meet Bangkokians after seeing people in other provinces,” The Dictator campaigned at Lumpini Park (we’ll skip the hia references), Hua Lamphong railway station and several other places, playing at being the people’s politician.

The Dictator was joined by Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat and Bangkok’s junta-appointed governor Pol Gen Aswin Khwanmuang.

He made sure to order various things be done.

He did not sit down in shopping centers or markets to recruit members for his party as he maintains the fiction that he’s not the unofficial boss of the Palang Pracharath Party.

Manipulating and scheming II

4 10 2018

We are playing catch-up on the news about the unethical and potentially illegal actions of ministers in the junta’s regime also serving as executives for the pro-junta devil party, Palang Pracharath.

Yesterday, the Bangkok Post reported that The Dictator declared that the ministers and others working in Government House “have not broken the law by assuming dual roles.”

That may be so, but the “spirit” of their own constitution demands a “caretaker” mode for governments going to election. But, then, law matters for nothing anyway: this is a military dictatorship engineering its own longevity.

Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, who has repeatedly smashed, disparaged and denigrated electoral politics and elected politicians, said “it was their personal decision to engage in political party activities.”

Clearly, that’s a lie. It is a junta plan and strategy.

Remarkably, The Dictator then said his own selected ministers – the four of them – “were not key decision-makers in the cabinet.” That’s the ministers of Industry, Science and Technology, Commerce and from the PM’s Office. Another lie? Maybe, but he’s probably reflecting that in a military dictatorship, it is the military men who are the key decision-makers.

The ministers themselves babbled about being fair and transparent, ignoring the fact that nothing much a military dictatorship does is fair or transparent, least of all in rigging its election. One of them agreed that his ministerial role was of little consequence.

Meanwhile, a Bangkok Post editorial also commented, mistakenly considering that a free and fair election is possible. It is simply not possible. If the junta doesn’t “win,” it will be a miracle.

It says that a problem is that “the military regime seems blind to the fact that it must be seen to be impartial, by all Thais and foreign friends alike.” True, but it is simply impossible. The die is cast. The election will be unfree and unfair because the rules set by the junta make it so.

The call for The Dictator to “release [!??! are they arrested??] government ministers directly and actively aligned with political parties. This must start with the four cabinet ministers who took up leading roles within the Palang Pracharath Party (PPP) last week.”

We agree that “[a]ll of these men should resign from the government immediately.”

This is because “Gen Prayut is … providing declared politicians with an inside track to information, access and direct power that no one else, from any party, has or will have.” He’s also throwing money there way. The editorial adds: “Gen Prayut is openly encouraging a few government cronies to enjoy electoral advantages unavailable to other parties.” And, at last, recognition: “It is not possible that an election campaign and polling can be fair under these circumstances.”

Of course not. The constitution, the “independent” agencies, the electoral law, the appointed senate, etc., etc. all make the election rigged, not just the ministers’ cheating.

Calling for “these politically active men to show some honour and resign immediately” is a call we agree with, but calling for such qualities in a military dictatorship is like asking a tree to talk.

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.

Doubling down on double standards III

2 10 2018

It is reported that “[c]alls are mounting for Prime Minister [Gen] Prayut Chan-o-cha [The Dictator] and the four cabinet ministers who are at the helm of the Palang Pracharath Party to step down due to a potential conflict of interest in the lead-up to the election.”

“Potential”?? Isn’t that “actual”? And hasn’t this been happening for several months? Even years? In fact, the 2014 coup and, the constitution referendum and all the rules acceded to by a puppet National Legislative Assembly have been a mammoth election rigging scheme.

Prime Minister’s Office Minister Kobsak Pootrakool and his cheating buddies have “claimed the four ministers will not abuse their authority during the campaign.”

Look! Flying pigs!

Even the yellowish former Election Commission activist Sodsri Sattayatham observed that “the cabinet positions afford the four ministers the opportunity to act improperly in their own interests.”

But that’s exactly the point! They expect to be able to do this.

Sodsri says they are not “legally required to step down, it is political etiquette that they should resign from ministerial posts when deciding to step into politics…”.

Huh? “Step into politics”? These guys have been politically engaged forever! A coup and a junta is a very big political intervention. Sodsri is engaging in yellow nonsense about “good” people and “bad” politicians.

And laws? What does the junta care for laws? There are constitutional requirements about standing for election, but none that prevent the junta from rigging the election – something the constitution itself does.

Of course, the junta’s constitution does not prevent any junta member from being prime minister or, as we quickly read it, from being ministers in the next government. There are constitutional requirements about how minister should behave when an election is to be held. But it would seem that the junta’s regime is immune from constitutional requirements. It keeps its NLA, keeps making decisions that bind a future government, etc, all things restricted by the constitution. But double standards apply to the junta.

We did notice that The Dictator should not be able to serve as prime minister because he has violated two requirements of the constitution: he lacks the required integrity and he has failed to comply with ethical standards. By leading a coup, he should be disqualified on these grounds. But this junta is subject to double standards.

We also noted that a prime minister “shall not hold office for more than eight years in total, whether or not holding consecutive term” (section 158). That means supporting The Dictator will likely mean he can serve only about 3 to 3.5 years, depending on when the “election” is held. That will be some relief for many.

Puea Thai’s Chaturon Chaisang is right that “the ministers … must refrain from disbursing money in ways that might seem as though they are attempting to gain political support, as well as stop approving long-term projects and stall transfers of officials.”

That’s what usually applies when an election is pending and is required under the 2017 constitution, but that would require standards other than the junta’s double standards.

Meanwhile, the unrestrained ministers are in full campaign mode declaring double standards apply to them.

The Bangkok Post also reports that one of Palang Pracharath’s still “covert” members, Somkid Jatusripitak “has defended four cabinet ministers who are facing mounting criticism over potential conflicts of interest after taking the helm of the Palang Pracharath Party.”

Somkid and his master

Of course he does. They are his boys. He recruited them and came up with the strategy for the party and how it will seek to maintain The Dictator in place following rigged elections.

Somkid went further, campaigning for his boys and their/his party, saying all four are “deserving of support…” and he implies that they will stand for election. We think they are barred from that, but it may be that he expects and has promised them that they will be unelected ministers under a new junta-based government.

Somkid also explained that the constitution does not apply to the junta, stating that “several government projects cannot be stalled any longer…. They [the four ministers] must speed up their efforts and follow through on those projects, which can serve as a key foundation for the future of the country…”. Section 168 will not be applied to the junta and its men.

But junta legal manipulator Wissanu Krea-ngam seemed less sure than he was and “suggested the four ministers should tread carefully and avoid any actions that could be perceived as a conflict of interest.” He said, “[b]ased on the charter, they must act neutrally.”

This highlights the obvious double standards. If pressure is maintained, we wonder if the truculent Gen Prayuth will eventually have to ditch them for fear of the obvious rigging being rather too obvious and damaging to his campaign for the premiership.

Rather oddly, we see that the Democrat Party’s Abhisit Vejjajiva agrees with PPT when he observes that “the charter indicates those in office need to quit within 90 days of the charter being promulgated if they want to contest the poll. Those who fail to resign are not expected to play a part in the election.”

He’s right to observe that “the Palang Pracharath Party … is … trying to evade the spirit of the charter.” But there’s more. They are trying to avoid the constitutional requirements.

At PPT, we are no supporters of the junta’s constitution, which needs to be thrown out and rewritten as a “people’s constitution,” but it is satisfying to see that those who rigged that charter are now being caught by it.

Junta’s devil party launched

30 09 2018

The junta’s party, the devil party, known as Palang Pracharath, has been launched with all the faux trappings of a proper political party. Of course, it can never be a real political party because it belongs to the military and the junta.

The junta’s selected Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana has been chosen as the leader of the devil party, set to be “the core political party supporting Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as prime minister” after the junta’s rigged election.

The junta’s selected Science and Technology Minister Suvit Maesincee and former Democrat Party MP Nuttapol Teepasuwan were selected as deputy leaders. The junta’s selected Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong was made secretary-general and the junta’s selected Prime Minister’s Office Minister Kobsak Pootralkool was named spokesman and a member of the party executive. The report states that “Uttama, … Sontirat and … Suvit are known as members of Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak’s economic team.”

In addition, “Puttipong Poonakan, a political adviser to the premier, and Sakontee Pattiyakul, a deputy Bangkok governor, were also chosen as party executives.” They were key leaders of the anti-democratic People’s Democratic Reform Committee that paved the way for the coup, working hand-in-glove with Prayuth and his henchmen.

In other words, this is the junta’s party. It is Gen Prayuth’s anti-democrat party. We all knew this but now it is official.

Questions of how several appointed ministers and others can simply flip into party executives while still serving is anyone’s guess. The conflict of interest is huge, not that the devils themselves will notice it or even care.

In fact, “Uttama told the media after the meeting he had no plan to resign as industry minister,” pledging to separate from his official duties. That’s about as likely as separating the devil from his cloven hoofs and tail off.

And just to demonstrate how the planning has been a junta/cabinet-level planning activity, another “member” is Itthipol Khunpluem, “assistant to the Tourism and Sports minister … [who] said he joined Palang Pracharat because he liked its ideology and was convinced it could help Chon Buri province grow through the Eastern Economic Corridor policy.”

Its ideology is military might, repression and anti-democracy. Of course, this is the brother of Sonthaya Khunpluem who The Dictator just appointed mayor of Pattaya. It seems his family party, Phalang Chon will simply be rolled into Palang Pracharath.

Now the junta has its own party, it can campaign openly and enthusiastically until about another 3-4 months while other parties remain suppressed.