Predictions and oddities

22 03 2019

There are a ton of articles about making predictions about the outcome of the election and there will probably be a lot more over the next 24 hours. Some are pretty awful, some are better and some are oddities.

One real oddity is a report about the police’s “X-Ray Outlaw Foreigner” round-up – seriously, that’s the name – which has been going for a while now. It began as a blatantly racist “Operation Black Eagle,” targeting “negroes.” Immigration police deputy chief Maj Gen Itthipol Itthisaronnachai said the 490 foreigners had been rounded up to “protect” the election. He declared: “As you know, this is the period right before the elections.” Maybe he’d been drinking.

Most pundits reckon that Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha will be returned as premier following the election. What is less clear is how many seats his Palang Pracharath Party will win.

Even with enormous rigging and cheating, it is looking like the junta’s own party may not do very well at all, with some predicting as few as 50 seats. That would, for the junta, amount to a defeat. It would mean that the junta and Prayuth would have to rely on other devil parties such as Bhum Jai Thai and Action Coalition for Thailand. But even that may be insufficient and will mean that the Democrat Party, never a poll winner, might hold the balance of seats.

It may be that the lower house is dominated by pro-Thaksin Shinawatra and anti-military parties that can snipe at the cobbled together pro-junta government. It would be messy and open the way for Puea Thai to claim that the electorate has been robbed.

Will Gen Prayuth covet the premiership enough to deal with all these parties and his electoral “defeat”? Is he prepared for the loss of face and the bickering and bartering? Is he prepared to show up in parliament to be harangued by opponents?

If he isn’t up for it, then pundits say another election will follow. We doubt that, simply because the military brass are unlikely to see that as changing anything much at all. We’d predict another coup, and pretty soon after the vote.

The thick-faced, the thin-skinned and other crooks

21 03 2019

Here’s a round-up of a few stories that show the very worst of junta and its “election.”

Campaigning with the monarchy: Thaksin Shinawatra tried to have a princess on his side and failed. Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha had a birthday and got flowers from the king and some other royals. He made a big deal out of it and used it in his election campaigning.

Vote buying: The Bangkok Post reports that the Anti-Money Laundering Office “has set up an operations centre to monitor vote-buying and investigate poll-related money-laundering activities…”. Too late. If the money has changed hands, the deals will have been done already.

Army intimidation: Khaosod reports that “Party officials and candidates from the Pheu Thai and Democrat parties told the media that soldiers raided their residences on the pretext of looking for drugs or other contraband, though the politicians are convinced the army is seeking to intimidate them in the final days of campaigning.”

The fully-armed soldiers operated on junta orders: “soldiers did not have any court warrant, but forced their way in by invoking Section 44 of the 2014 charter, which grants soldiers acting under junta orders to search or detain anyone without a warrant.”

Buffalo manure award: The prize for the most egregious falsehood goes to Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Democrat Party. Just a few days ago, Abhisit loudly declared that he would not support The Dictator as PM after the election. Now he says “his party has yet to endorse his announcement that he will not support the junta leader for another term in office.” He fibbed and the strong group of anti-democrats in the party have put him in his place and announced support for Gen Prayuth.

Self-declared winners: Even before the big vote on Sunday it seems Prayuth’s devil party, Palang Pracharath, reckons it has already won and will immediately form government even before the vote count is finished. Breathtakingly arrogant and confident in the junta’s rigging and cheating.

Complete dicks: The lying, news fabricating dipsticks at Nation TV, caught out concocting a story meant to defame Future Forward Party, are unrepentant and unapologetic. Indeed, they are announcing that it is their right as journalists to fabricate and lie.

All this is how election cheats manage their manipulation and cynical fraud. It will only get worse.

Updated: EC votes for Prayuth

21 03 2019

EC performing seals

The Nation reports that the Election Commission has “voted unanimously to dismiss the complaint against the junta chief’s prime ministerial nomination, saying the process had been lawful.”

This refers to a complaint made by “lawyer Winyat Chatmontree last month to disqualify Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha from the contest. Prayut was a state servant [official] and should not be qualified for the nomination…”.

The EC decided, unanimously, that The Dictator-prime minister-junta boss’s “nomination was in line with the law, without giving an explanation.”

This follows the Office of the Ombudsman issuing a “ruling” that the prime minister, paid by the taxpayer, issuing orders, making laws, jailing and repressing in the name of the junta was not an official.

Bizarre decisions indeed. The performing seals at the EC didn’t even bother to “explain” their nonsensical “ruling.” But, that’s in line with so much that has been warped and abused in this junta “election.”

Update: As reported at Prachatai, the iconoclastic Sombat Boonngamanong has had something interesting to say about the unofficial prime minister and junta boss. He has pointed out that in a ruling on his case with the junta, the “Supreme Court … considered [[Gen Prayuth] a government official.” Sombat went to the EC before its most recent unanimous decision “to submit a letter saying that he was willing to be a witness in the case of Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha.

He insisted that NCPO [junta] had sued him on the grounds that Gen Prayut is a government official and the Supreme Court has already ruled in favour of the NCPO.” Sombat insisted that “Prayut[h] is not a government official…”. If that is the case, then “Sombat’s sentence for failing to report to the NCPO under NCPO Order 3/2014, should be cancelled.” The logic here is that if “the Head of the NCPO is not an official, as the Ombudsman found, Sombat did not have to follow the NCPO Order. However, the Court of First Instance, the Appeal Court, and the Supreme Court all ruled that Gen Prayut, as the head of the NCPO, has legal authority and is therefore an official.”

Now that the EC has followed the Ombudsman, what does that mean for the courts rulings in every case the junta has brought? Given that this is the junta’s Thailand, probably nothing, but Sombat is showing how crazy the system has become.

Somkid still campaigning

19 03 2019

A month ago, PPT displayed a clip from the Bangkok Post, quoting Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak as saying his regime would be back after the junta’s “election” under the leadership of Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha. On the left is the clip from that post.

He’s been at it again. Here’s another clip (right) from the Bangkok Post.







Of course, the reference to “stupid people” is likely to be yet another statement about the so-called red buffalo who have repeatedly and enthusiastically elected pro-Thaksin Shinawatra parties in every election since 2000.

Pro-Thaksin parties remain hopeful that they will again do well in this election, despite all the pro-junta election rules, the rigging and the junta’s campaigning and use of taxpayer money meant to turn back the electoral tide to loyalists, royalists and the pro-junta anti-democrats. Even so, the task of “winning” the “election” is almost impossible under the junta’s rules.

Interestingly, the changing tone of Somkid’s remarks suggest that he’s aware that his party, Palang Pracharath, is not doing as well as he expected when he was its midwife.

The unofficial premier, military and election cheating

15 03 2019

We apologize to readers that writing about the junta’s election has become peculiar, totally entangled in the ridiculousness manufactured by the junta’s puppet agencies.

Recently declared to not be a government official despite being self-appointed prime minister, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has taken his “official duties” (campaigning) to foreign investors.

Seeming to misunderstand how foreign investment works, The Dictator-in-a-business-suit “urged foreign investors … to invest and expand their businesses within the country, as Thailand has this year become the Asean chair.”

We can’t fathom why a year as ASEAN chair should encourage investment. But more easily understood was The Dictator’s call for support:

I need support from all stakeholders. I don’t want to see any protests. I am asking you [foreign investors] to refrain from considering comments on social media. The government needs peace so that we can facilitate foreign partners….

He is saying that only a junta-backed government can be trusted to repress the population.Some businesses seem unconvinced.

Of course, that also requires the military. Recent commentaries vary on the strength of the relationship between the Army and the junta. Read them here and here.

One of the things that comes from Thitinan Pongsudhirak’s account is his discussion of other agencies supporting the junta, its devil party and the rigged election. He refers to “politicised agencies, such as the Election Commission, Constitutional Court, and National Anti-Corruption Commission…”.

The level of collusion, corruption and rigging is unprecedented in the past six decades. The obviousness of the cheating is startling.

Flustered and desperate II

12 03 2019

Over the past few days, Abhisit Vejjajiva has been going through some anti-democratic calisthenics, trying to convince some voters – even for a moment – that he is really something of a democrat. While he failed spectacularly within 24 hours, he did fool some for that moment.

When Abhisit declared that neither he nor the Democrat Party would support Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha for the prime ministership following the junta’s election.

The junta’s Palang Pracharath Party seemed stunned, for a moment. Gen Prayuth was silent. Abhisit’s former partner in murderous attacks on red shirts, Suthep Thaugsuban was apoplectic, claiming not supporting The Dictator was the same as supporting Thaksin Shinawatra.

Future Forward and Puea Thai were wary. Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit reflected many others who sensed that the egotistical Abhisit was playing games. He called on Abhisit to declare that he opposed the junta’s Palang Pracharat.

Then the truth was revealed. Abhisit wants to be premier and is prepared to align the Democrat Party with Palang Pracharath.

That’s right, the junta’s party is an ally sans The Dictator. It is Abhisit shouting me, me, me.

And then he added that Gen Prayuth is just alright by him, but just not as PM: “[Abhisit]… said he personally respects Prayuth’s contribution to the country during his tenure, but he believes the general should not serve another term.”

He went on: “What I’m trying to stress is that if Phalang Pracharat still tries to perpetuate [Prayuth’s] power, then the Democrats will not invite them to a coalition.”

In other words, Abhisit wants to be premier and will cooperate with the junta’s party.

Abhisit, too, seems flustered and desperate. Hopelessly so.

Flustered and desperate I

12 03 2019

The military junta is officially flustered and desperate, seemingly recognizing that the anti-military parties are – despite years of its efforts and poll rigging – likely to do quite well in the election.

The desperation is palpable and seen in efforts by the junta to tangle opponents in legal cases. But with the Democrat Party “withdrawing” support for Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime minister, the junta and its Palang Pracharath Party is looking isolated and electorally rancid (we have more of the Democrat Party in an upcoming post).

The surprise package has been Future Forward, which is polling well and drawing very large campaign crowds. This makes them a target for the junta.

Prachatai reports that the latest of several cases the junta has brought against Future Forward is a complaint to the police’s Technology Crime Suppression Division against the party’s website administrator and others for contempt of court. The complaint was lodged by the junta’s legal officer, Col Burin Thongprapai.

The complaint refers to a press conference following the dissolution of the Thai Raksa Chart Party on 7 March where party Secretary-General Piyabutr Saengkanokkul read the Party’s statement on the Constitutional Court’s ruling. Earlier it remained unclear exactly what the junta’s complaint was.

The details are at Prachatai, but it remains crystal clear that the junta is panicked.