PAD and anti-monarchism

4 04 2011

The People’s Alliance for Democracy has “called on the army to take more serious action against anti-monarchy activities.” It seems the army commander has confirmed that there is an ongoing crackdown on anti-monarchy movements.

Somewhat oddly, PAD’s Prapan Khoonmee said the television interview with Princess Chulabhorn “was proof that lese majeste activities on the internet remain rampant. He said it was the first time a member of the Royal Family expressed such opinions in public.” Certainly, the general tenor of her interview included concerns about rumors and “limited understanding.”

Prapan urged “the army should take more action than word on protecting the Monarchy since attempts to undermine the country’s most revered institution have not yet ceased.”

PAD says “anything but elections”!

24 03 2011

While the People’s Alliance for Democracy doesn’t have the same large numbers of people mobilized now as it did in 2005 and 2008, it continues to have enough support, including from elements in the military and elite to maintain a presence on the streets and in the media. At present it seems that PAD is again promoting its non-democratic form of conservatism. PPT mentioned Sondhi Limthongkul’s position in a recent post.

More recently, lawyer Praphan Khoonmee, who participated in the popular uprising on 14 October 1973 and joined the Communist Party after 6 October 1976 has spoken to PAD’s followers urging a system of government akin to Fascism. He is reported in Prachatai to have “contested general elections twice in 2005 and 2007 under the Democrat Party, but failed. He was appointed a member of the National Legislative Assembly after the 2006 coup. Currently, he is an executive member of the New Politics Party, and a host of an ASTV weekly programme.” He was even appointed an official adviser by the current Democrat Party-led government in 2009.

His elite and royalist connections are clear from his time as “a close aide of Squadron Leader Prasong Soonsiri.” Prasong is a well-known figure, a staunch royalist, anti-Thaksin activist, constitution drafter, behind-the-scenes PAD adviser, former security master and former appointed minister.

On 21 March, Praphan told the assembled yellow shirts that he “will accept any means to let good people govern the country, saying that it is their right to have a better political system.” He claims that, since 1932,  “Thailand had been more ruined under elected governments than under military juntas and appointed governments.” This is all reactionary bilge.

He lists a bunch of military dictators and royal appointed leaders to back his claims, including Sanya Thammasak, Anand Panyarachun, General Prem Tinsulanonda and General Surayud Chulanont. He claims that all of these leaders – a long list, including People’s Party revolutionaries – produced less corruption than the evil, elected prime minister – Thaksin Shinawatra.

PPT has no idea how Praphan does his sums, but accuracy is not important for his is a call for an authoritarian, preferably military, regime. Dictators, he says, produced better results, and Thailand “flourished better under appointed PMs…”.

The former communist lauds all of the corrupt and dictatorial rulers he formerly hated, all in the name of opposing Thaksin and the idea that voters can make a reasonable decision on who should govern them.

Not surprisingly, he gives special attention to Privy Council President Prem. He says “elected politicians were in awe of military power” meaning that Prem could make Thailand a “country was full of happiness, without the need of elections.” Of course, there were elections and attempted coup, but Prem retained the support of the palace.

The elected politicians, including Abhisit Vejjajiva, he says, were all hopeless and corrupt: “This is the system of elections! A sham democracy!” He says “anybody” would be better than “the current politicians.” He adds: “And if you ask what system we want if we don’t want elections, we will accept any system which does not let these scoundrels govern. Any system which lets good people govern will do. We’re not seeking a system which will threaten the nation, religion and king.”

He calls on soldiers, police, and government officials to “stand up for the good of the country.”

PAD seem back to their undemocratic best. In our earlier post, we asked: Who is supporting PAD and keeping it on the streets? We also noted that Sondhi and his retired military backers were steering a course to the extreme right. Praphan confirms that. Will this have traction? Will the military buy in?

Bangkok protests

15 02 2011

The Bangkok Post reports that summonses have now been issued targeting  the 10 co-leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), “requiring them to report to police for violating an order of the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO)…” under the Internal Security Act. CAPO prohibited the use of roads around Government House and the parliament that were occupied by PAD .

Those summonsed are: Maj-Gen Chamlong Srimuang, Sondhi Limthongkul, Prapan Khoonmee, Panthep Puapongpan, Rak Rakpong (Samana Pothirak, leader of the Santi Asoke sect), Suriyasai Katasila, Terdphum Jaidee, Pibhop Dhongchai, Amorn Amornrattananond and Tossapol Kaewthima.

While Chamlong Srimuang said his group would co-operate  with the police, he had brought a civil suit against a police investigator on the 2008 airports case, and The Nation reports that the The Thai Patriot Network had “filed a complaint with Central Administrative Court, asking the court to annul the government’s ban on demonstrations in seven Bangkok districts…. The complaint alleged that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Cabinet had unlawfully invoked the Internal Security Act to ban demonstrations in seven Bangkok districts.”

PAD protests are likely to be bolstered each time there is a clash on the Thai-Cambodian border. PAD’s unhappiness with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is likely to further increase.

The red shirts now seem remarkably “well behaved” when they protest.

Just to add to the mix of protests, the Bangkok Post reports that the Assembly of the Poor, which was seen as weakening, now “says thousands of its members are on their way to Bangkok for a protest to put pressure on the government to open all the sluice gates of the Pak Moon dam and properly compensate people affected by its construction.”

An AOP protest in 2007

The AOP has been rallying in front of the Ubon Ratchathani provincial hall for more than a month and has now decided “to move its protest to the parliament in Bangkok.” The AOP expects 5,000 assembly members to make the trip to Bangkok.

Their action follows an unfulfilled promise in December from PM’s Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey to “seek cabinet approval for the permanent opening of the dam’s sluice gates.” Nothing had happened since the promise was made.

It seems that the Abhisit and his government is now faced with a growing array of issues and problems – the south, corruption, the border, protest groups, red shirts, the failure of investigations into the events of April and May 2010, increasing army dissonance, etc. – that make for considerable political uncertainty.

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