The Dictator or another coup

27 09 2018

To describe Sanoh Thienthong as a “veteran” politician is an understatement. He’s 84 and was first an MP in 1975. He’s one of those provincial wheeler-dealers with a foot in politics, business and with “influence.” The family is something of a political dynasty and they have stuck with Puea Thai.

Because he’s got tons of experience, Sanoh is also quite politically astute. His prediction is that The Dictator is political toast and Puea Thai will win 200 seats.

The junta seemed stunned. The Dictator was infuriated.

Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha barked at reporters when they asked him about Sanoh. He declared that Sanoh was “looking down” on the “Thai people.” Then he offered a threat:

Would Thai people allow the country to return to chaos? Would they let them provoke troubles again?…Whether or not (next government) will survive depends on how it works, its policies and good governance.

That sounds like The Dictator is saying that if voters don’t choose him, his military thugs are ready to intervene again. And who can doubt him. He’s already played a role in Thailand’s two most recent coups.

Did The Dictator blink?

13 05 2018

After a barrage of criticism about his electoral campaign visit to Buriram and the Newin-Dome, candidate/The Dictator/General/Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has postponed a trip to another potential devil party lair in Sa Kaeo, at least that’s the Bangkok Post’s reporting.

It had already been reported that “veteran politician Sanoh Thienthong, whose stronghold is in the province, had told media he would greet the premier during the visit.” Naturally. And, The Dictator knows the rapacious political chameleon from his time on the border when the Army’s and Sanoh’s business interests coincided.

Some critics slammed the visit because the junta chief is campaigning while all others are banned. Well, sort of, for when The Dictator showed up in Buriram, Newin Chidchob and Anutin Charnvirakul got campaign style coverage for Bhum Jai Thai. But, then, BJT is a pro-military party.

A “government source” says the campaign stop visit is postponed because “Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is not available to attend on the proposed date” for a border shindig.

Did the Boss blink? Did the criticism bite?

Probably not. The Dictator’s skin is as thick as a whale’s and he has “another provincial trip on May 23…” to canvas for votes and political alliances with local mafia capofamiglia and associated thugs.

Staying power for years to come means Gen Prayuth must stay on the campaign trail and hammer together a coalition of minor parties so that he can get the call to be the “outsider” premier.

More deals?

26 04 2012

How many “backroom political deals” can be attributed to Thaksin Shinawatra? Richard Ehrlich at Asia Sentinel claims to have unearthed one more, albeit a “possible backroom deal.”

We understand that Thaksin is, by vocation, a deal-maker, but the number of political deals attributed to him – most allegedly with the palace or royalist elite – stagger the imagination.

It is Thaksin’s recent claim “forecasting his return to Thailand sooner rather than later” that prompts Ehrlich’s account. As Bangkok Pundit has pointed out, there has been considerable speculation about the return over quite a long period of time. Most have the speculation has been stoked by the magical marketeer himself.

Ehrlich asks about “the conditions that would stop the assassins whom he says are hunting him and possibly allow him to dodge imprisonment?” Apparently that would revolve around a new a trial on the land deal charges that “would have sent him to prison for two years if he hadn’t fled into exile in 2008.”

The new trial would be under different judges amid speculation that even a guilty verdict should result merely in a fine, and not imprisonment.

Defense Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat is reported to have said that Thaksin is “willing to return, [and] to go through the judicial process,” which apparently includes some kind of agreement on “the appointment of people in charge of the process.”

That conviction was undoubtedly politically-driven and the verdict was only possible by breaking rather “innovative” legal ground. But, as yellow shirts and their Democrat Party allies point out, there are a number of other cases and verdicts awaiting a Thaksin return, so resolving one case may be insufficient.

However, Ehrlich states that the “possible backroom deal” is one that “may see Thaksin abandoning his effort to retrieve US$1.2 billion worth of his assets, which Thailand’s highest court seized in February 2010…”. The evidence for the deal seems to involve a statement like this by Thaksin’s on-again, off-again political ally, the aged Sanoh Thienthong.

The recent Thaksin trips to Laos and Cambodia are seen as being to “test the [political] mood…”.

Ehrlich argues that “the deal” is being sweetened by a “suggested … blanket amnesty for groups of people charged or convicted of ‘political’ crimes since 2005.” This would include the coup generals and:

the generals and opposition politicians perceived as responsible for 91 deaths … during nine weeks of street fights between security forces and thousands of Red Shirt supporters who barricaded Bangkok’s streets in 2010 while demanding an immediate election.

If there ever was a deal, we wonder if the remarkable push back on this by red shirts on this amnesty will make deal makers think again?

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