Unceasing repression

3 07 2016

Anti-election Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn has a remarkable capacity for supporting anti-democratic campaigns while being disingenuous about his motivations.

Most recently, Prachatai reports that the EC’s chief bozo has “told the media at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand that the Commission never suppressed a free discussion on the draft charter or the August referendum.”

This comes just days after the very same Somchai, jubilant that the Constitutional Court had upheld the draconian referendum law, chortled that “the EC will from now on strictly enforce the referendum law.”

Apparently neglecting this threat and believing that his audience was composed of a gaggle of klutzs, he  exonerated his own EC.

Even for this clown, he provided a quite astonishing set of false statements made with a deliberate intent to deceive. He blamed the public and the media for the lack of debate. His falsifications included a claim that “the public inclination to self-censoring their opinions on the charter draft because of a climate of fear was not the commission’s fault…”.

He added “that if people want to know exactly what they can or cannot do during the referendum, they had better ask the junta.” This is the junta that Somchai has assiduously and slavishly supported. It is the same junta he worked so hard to get in place.

Meanwhile, repression deepens.

As the Bangkok Post reports one important junta attack, “The 19 core red-shirt figures were hit with summonses by security authorities after they appeared together at the conference inside a department store in the Lat Phrao area.” The junta’s plan seems to be to keep red shirts “so tied up in mounting their legal defence against the accusations that they are unlikely to have the time or the stamina to go after any cheats in the run-up to the Aug 7 draft charter referendum.”

The Dictator is warning “politicians” not even to meet in public events. He referred to opposition politicians as “the enemies of the law…”.

Even campaigning for a fair referendum and for the right to campaign on the referendum is considered suspicious. It is reported that “[f]ive activists were briefly detained and later let go by police on Saturday after leading 50 people to release balloons with a message calling for fairness in the Aug 7 referendum on the draft constitution.”

The intimidation in areas the junta considers “opposition strongholds” continues unabated.

Seven of the 13 activists arrested in Samut Prakan on 23 June for “distributing leaflets urging citizens to vote ‘no’ in the Aug 7 referendum” remain incarcerated. Their lawyer, Krisdang Nutcharut, argues that the “military court does not have the authority to remand these students.” He also explained that the seven “did not actually refuse to seek bail but that police and the military had apparently made clear before the court that they should be detained and were preparing objections to any bail.”

Krisdang went on to say that the detained students: “… are sacrificing their freedom to tell the public that they don’t recognise the ill-defined authority of the military court. Legally, they simply refuse to recognise the temporary detention…”.

The junta’s repression will continue and will deepen as the charter referendum gets closer still. The junta’s minions in the EC will play their assigned roles, threatening, intimidating and censoring.

Dumb III

22 06 2016

This is another story of how dumb the military dictatorship is. It also proves that being dim means that repression is the preferred mode of political action.

Khaosod reports that a cartoonist for Matichon has been “summoned today to explain why he penned cartoons critical of a junta-backed draft constitution…”.

Most readers will consider this another example of the extensive repression that has accompanied the junta’s efforts to control the outcome of the current draft, about to go to a military-controlled referendum.

But, no, this is about last year’s draft that the junta itself canned.

For “lampooning that … draft, … the Election Commission said cartoonist Arun Watcharasawat must report himself next week to explain his action.”

Arguably the dopiest man in Thailand, anti-election Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn declares:

The cartoonist and online editors of Matichon Weekly must meet us on June 30 to explain whether the incident was a misunderstanding, and explain the intentions behind it…. If it was a misunderstanding, they must show responsibility and fix it, so that there will be correct understanding.

It seems that “Matichon Weekly re-published a collection of Arun’s cartoons from August 2015 on its Facebook page” and Somchai posted them on his own page.

This is why Somchai has been booted into more dopey action. Silly Somchai reckons “both Arun and Matichon Weekly might have violated the recently [April 2016] imposed referendum law by republishing the cartoons.”

Readers will recall that The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, recently “explained” that “people throughout the country have been given a chance to voice their opinions…”.

Cartoonists drawing on a previous draft charter are apparently excluded from “people.”

Junta’s referendum guardians

18 06 2016

Over the past week or so, we have made several comments on the Election Commission and disparaging comments on anti-election Election Commissioner, the ridiculously clownish and politically biased Somchai Srisuttiyakorn.

Somchai’s at it again. He says the EC “will monitor electronic media around the clock to stop any attempt to ‘sabotage’ the Aug 7 referendum by opponents of the draft constitution.”

He may be looking in the wrong place. It is more likely that it will be the junta itself will “sabotage” its own referendum, just as it sabotaged its previous draft charter.

But, of course, the biased election commissioner and the partisan EC are pointing at the the Puea Thai Party and red shirts.

The EC, as guardians of the Yes vote for the military junta, dismiss the red shirt support of the referendum because they also support a No vote. By EC definition, this makes them “saboteurs.”

Somchai in junta supporter's silly hat

Somchai in a silly hat

Somchai, the military junta’s champion, disguised as an election commissioner, “said the EC, the Technology Crime Suppression Division and the Information and Communication Technology Ministry would form a working group to monitor the spread of ‘rude, false and provocative messages’ via electronic media to influence voters.”

He means any messages or posts that support a No vote.

Somchai revealed that the junta wants to control the “electronic media” as it “would be the main battlefield of opinion in the run-up to the referendum…”.

In a message meant to threaten referendum and charter opponents, he said there would be 24/7 monitoring. He threatened immediate legal action against opponents.

Election commissioner Boonsong Noisophon dismissed the red shirts, accusing them of political bias.

The military and the EC are apparently politically neutral. Yes, really. Maybe this post should have been “Dumb III.”

On the military’s charter and its referendum

16 06 2016

Interesting developments are being reported as the junta’s referendum on the military’s draft charter approaches. As everyone knows, the junta has tried desperately to prevent critical discussion of the undemocratic charter.

Over the past few days we have posted on attempts to stifle red shirts, even when they claim to be supporting the referendum as a process.

Khaosod reports that the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein “called on Thailand’s military government to respect the electorate’s right to freely deliberate the proposed constitution before voting whether to adopt it as the law of the land.”

This is probably horrifying for the junta and “evidence” of a conspiracy against it.

The UN High Commissioner also “raised the ‘paradoxical’ suppression of debate on a matter going to public vote in less than two months…”. For the junta, it is not paradoxical. It is the norm. This is not a “real” referendum and people are not permitted to debate, anything political.

The Commissioner declares that “[t]he people of Thailand have a right to discuss – and to criticize – decisions about their country, and free, fair and dynamic public debate on the draft constitution is vital if the country is to return to sustainable democracy…”.

For the junta, the High Commissioner simply displays a failure to understand its kind of “democracy,” which involves nothing that is democratic, apart from the moniker.

For us, the Commissioner’s use of the junta’s terminology – “sustainable democracy” – is a step too far, for the High Commissioner must understand that the junta’s referendum is anti-democratic. It has to be rejected in speeches as much as in the referendum. (We continue to harp on the stupidity of a referendum on a large document with a simple Yes/No response.)NO ref

The “Jordanian prince” – we imagine that has some significance in royalist Thailand – also  expressed concern “about the increasing use of military courts…”.

The “architect of the referendum,” the anti-election Election Commissioner and junta clown, Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, decided to “challenge” the High Commissioner, demanding that he be”specific about allegations Thai citizens’ rights have been curtailed in deliberating the charter draft.”

Yes, we think Somchai is serious in this statement. He has shown himself to be so dull and so silly that we simply have to believe he is accurately reported.

Silly Somchai stated: “Initially, His Excellency should clearly specify what freedom do [Thai] people not have in relation to this referendum?” PPT has umpteen examples, Prachatai has plenty and the rest of the media regularly report the junta’s threats and intimidation.

Silly Somchai decided to dig his clown hole deeper still, declaring: “As the organizer [the EC], we think people have freedom and are not being curtailed in any way … adding however that using language deemed ‘lewd’ or encouraging people to vote one way or the other has been criminalized by the military government.” He’s lying. The junta has repressed and has also been campaigning for the charter.

We are encouraged to see that Puea Thai Party politicians have decided to speak out despite the repression (maybe because of it). Prachatai reports that “[m]ore than 10 Pheu Thai politicians have simultaneously denounced [on Facebook] the junta’s charter draft for its undemocratic origin and content, adding that they will turn it down in the August referendum.” Later reports had the count up to 17.

Variously, they stated that the military’s draft charter is undemocratic, lacks guarantees of rights and freedom, will bring long-term political suffering if passed, because it is difficult to amend, had no popular participation, “enhances the dictatorship’s power”

Weerakarn Musikapong [Veera Musigapong], “a former key leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, aka the red shirts movement,” posted this: “I’m confused whether it is a constitution or an amnesty bill for the junta. I cherish rule of law so I reject this charter…”.

The Bangkok Post reports that a junta friend and former member of the 2006 junta General Somjet Boonthanom, also a former senator and a “former chairman of the National Legislative Assembly’s committee vetting the referendum bill demanded the politicians be charged under the referendum law. (Somjet has reaped the rewards that fall to loyalist generals.)

The anti-democrat general declared that the politicians “appeared to be manipulative and intended to incite unrest during the referendum…”. Obviously rubbish and concocted, but like Somchai, Somjet is a junta puppet, a committed anti-democratic and rather dim.

As the referendum gets closer, it will become increasingly clear whether the junta remains committed to the charter and referendum or whether this is a diversion from its major goal of staying in control of politics.

Election Commission thuggery I

11 06 2016

A couple of days ago we posted on anti-democrat and anti-election Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn and his self-contradictory claims about constitution and referendum songs.

The clownish Somchai said the the EC’s ditty, that denigrated northerners and northeasterners in terms that echo of the infamous “uneducate” and “red buffalo” taunts of the military-backed and supported anti-democrat People’s Democratic Reform Committee, was just fine. He declared that “people are sometimes too sensitive and pay attention to trivial issues.”

Almost in the same breathe, he then damned another ditty, available on YouTube, charging that the “clip is … using rude words and influencing people in how to vote in the referendum.” He declared that the EC was after those responsible for the clip – the anti-coup Resistant Citizen group. Apparently, the EC and puppet Somchai was not “too sensitive” and that this was not a “trivial issue.”

Double standards? You bet! But puppets like Somchai can’t see this because, as well as being groveling bootlickers, they are not interested in law, logic or justice but loyalty, hierarchy and class privilege.

Prachatai reports that the junta’s EC thugs have been thwarted in their initial efforts to attack Resistant Citizen’s and the more than 20 people involved, including “Anon Nampa, Sirawit Serithiwat, Sombat Boonngamanong, Parit Chiwarak and Nattapat Akhad,” who are seen in the video.

Key members of Resistant Citizen, a well-known anti-junta activists group, and other leading pro-democracy activists might be charged with Computer Crime Act over performing in a music video on the draft constitution referendum.

Somchai has wallowed in sorrow as he revealed “that from the investigation the video clip was posted on YouTube from the first time on 13 April 2016, which was before the Draft Refere[du]m Act was enacted.” Much to his disappointment, this means that the “people involved in its production and those who posted the video for the first time will not be charged with the Draft Referendum Act.” That is, under the Referendum law that is meant to speed the junta’s military charter to a vote without citizens hearing any detailed criticisms.

But such legal barriers are not about to hold back determined anti-democrats like Somchai. He knows that the law is simply a tool for the junta and its minions to use in repressing opposition.

He gleefully announced that they “might instead be charged under the 2007 Computer Crime Act or for violating the orders and announcements of the National Council for Peace and Order …[he means the military junta] instead.”

Somchai also threatened thousands of others, saying that those who had shared the music video after 23 April 2016 “might be charged for violating the referendum act…”.

The military’s thugs are everywhere, threatening, oppressing and suppressing.


Updated: Hating red shirts and other unreliables

9 06 2016

As the junta’s hold on power extends and as the constitutional referendum gets closer, the double standards of the military regime and of its “agencies” and The Dictator’s personalized animosities are clearer than ever.

Prachatai refers to the Election Commission’s song campaigning for the August referendum, as “propaganda.” They say the song has “triggered public outrage on social media since it allegedly reflects the commission’s prejudice against the northerners and northeasterners, which are allegedly the main supporters of the red shirt movement.” The song reproduces some of the perceptions of royalists, yellow shirts and the ruling elite regarding the political conflicts of recent years:

The Isaan accent part of the song sings “Isaan people, don’t let anyone mislead your way. Be conscious and use your judgement. Don’t let anyone trick Isaan people.”

Similarly, the Northern accent part sings “All northerners, don’t let anyone dictate your mind. Be educated and study [the draft’s] content thoroughly.”

In contrary, the Southern accent part sings “Pak Tai (the South), the Southerners love freedom and democracy. Let’s join in the referendum. It’s a duty of all Thai citizen.”

Translated into anti-democrat speak, coup-supporting Southerners are allies while damn Northerners and those in the Northeast are duped, led about by the nose and incapable of “right” political decision-making.

Not surprisingly, the EC has brushed off the criticism. Anti-election election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn “said people are sometimes too sensitive and pay attention to trivial issues.”

It seems this criticism does not apply to the EC. The EC is hunting down “another song in a video clip which was posted on a Facebook page.” It charges that the “clip is … using rude words and influencing people in how to vote in the referendum.”

Meanwhile, The Dictator has expressed his contempt for the official red shirts (again). The Bangkok Post reports that General Prayuth Chan-ocha has had another temper tantrum over the “United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship’s action in setting up a centre to monitor for fraud in the scheduled charter referendum on Aug 7.”

He fumed, rhetorically demanding to know “why the UDD did not do this after the previous government launched the rice-pledging scheme that was plagued with corruption.” He steamed on: “Let them open it, but I don’t accept it as a legal entity…”, describing it as “meaningless.”

Even though he admitted that the UDD probably wasn’t against the law, The Dictator warned that the junta would be watching, meaning that it would try to catch the UDD breaking the law.

Almost immediately, the junta’s thugs were on the job, with Prachatai reporting that a “policeman and a military officer attempted to bar anti-establishment red shirts from holding a press briefing to open a centre to monitor the draft charter referendum…”.

The officers asked UDD leader Jatuporn Promphan and other UDD members “to cancel a press briefing to launch the Anti-Electoral Fraud in the Referendum Centre…”. The thugs stated that they had been ordered to demand the cancellation of the briefing.

The UDD refused.

Following this and Prayuth’s outburst, the Bangkok Post reported that the junta was “seeking to take legal action against the …[UDD]… for possible breach of the regime’s orders following the group’s launch of a centre to monitor fraud in the Aug 7 referendum on the draft constitution.”

Why? Well, apart from blind hatred of red shirts, there’s this:

A source at the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) said the launch of the centre is believed to have political implications and those involved in the launch are political stakeholders who were previously involved in political conflict and still continue to cause political unrest….

The source said the NCPO’s legal team is examining whether those involved in the launch of the centre have violated the NCPO’s 3/2015 order which is intended to deal with people suspected of trying to spark political and social unrest.

The team is also looking into whether they have broken the conditions of their release from detention shortly after the May 22, 2014 coup under the NCPO’s 39/2014 announcement.

The “source” also babbled about the center Being “unnecessary because the Election Commission (EC) is already entrusted to hold the referendum and ensure that it is free of fraud.”

The junta is as clear as it is nasty.

Update: Khaosod reports that the EC has declared that “no Thais could be granted election observer accreditation because the recent referendum law did not expressly permit it.” The same EC anti-democrat election commissioner Somchai mentioned above said “this omission [from the law] prohibited any domestic group from monitoring the polls…”.

(This is, of course, a major legal renovation. There are many everyday and political actions that are not covered by any laws at all!)

Updated: Referendum (no) doubt

4 06 2016

[Update: fixed a typo.]

In yet another move that makes Thailand look increasingly like Bizarro World, the Bizarro backwards world, Thailand’s Bizarro Election Commissioner – the one who opposes elections and tries to stop them and who prevents debate on the referendum – Somchai Srisuttiyakorn has stated that “even if the Constitutional Court rules against a particular clause of the referendum law,” the “Aug 7 referendum will go ahead as planned…”.

Readers will recall the referendum being in doubt only yesterday.

Somchai, who held quite different politically-motivated views when he campaigned against an elected government, now says that “if” – and it is a big “if” – the Constitutional Court “accepts for consideration an Ombudsman petition against the clause which is seen to restrict freedom of expression, and rules it violates the interim charter, this will not affect the August referendum schedule.” He said that “the only way to postpone the referendum is to amend the 2014 interim charter’s clauses relating to the referendum” as these clauses, he says, “stipulate … a specific time frame for the referendum, and require … the Election Commission (EC) to announce the date for the referendum anywhere from 90 to 120 days from when the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) hands the summary of the final draft charter to the Election Commission (EC).”

Going further into Bizarro-EC-speak, Somchai said that even if the “offences and penalties stipulated by the referendum law are ruled unconstitutional by the court,” this didn’t matter because “there are still other laws to punish those who disrupt the referendum.” Yes, we know, why have the law in the first place? And, wasn’t the Constitutional Court a bit like God to the EC, Somchai and other anti-democrats just a couple of short years ago? But, then, this is Bizarro Land.

Meanwhile, CDC puppet-in-chief Meechai Ruchupan worried in public that “if Section 61 of the referendum law is ruled invalid by the court, this would encourage those anti-charter groups to create unrest in the lead-up to the referendum.” He said the EC had to enforce “measures to deal with the issue.” He means stopping opponents of the referendum.

Bizarro Land has supermarket-style laws from which the anti-democratic elite can pick and choose and even make returns if they so wish and are unhappy with the product-law. It has independent agencies that are not independent when that is politically inconvenient. And it has a cast of anti-democrat characters who seem as intelligent as a lump of iron and unable to remember what they said the day before yesterday. But, then, for this Bizarro Land lot, yesterday is tomorrow.

Managing “debate” on the draft charter

7 03 2016

Not that long ago, one commentator described the Election Commission (EC) as “one of the most embarrassing organisations in Thailand…”.  It is headed by the equally embarrassing Somchai Srisuttiyakorn. Somchai is one of those apparently unselfconscious dolts who is given a position simply because he is both stupid and because of this, steadfastly loyal to his masters and patrons. He has made the EC the Anti-Election Commission. In his own telling, Somchai worked with the heads of the other “independent” agencies to bring down the elected government. He stated that “their work was carried out covertly with efforts made to involve respected figures.”

Readers will no doubt recall that, in the period prior to the 2014 military coup, the lawful and elected government tried to hold elections and was repeatedly thwarted by both the anti-democrats on the streets and by an Election Commission that seemed to not want to have any polls. The EC became a major impediment to democratic progress in Thailand. It repeatedly refused to do its lawful duty and hold an election in 2014. When it wasn’t simply refusing, it delayed and even abandoned voters.

Under the military dictatorship, the EC became the Anti-Election Propaganda Commission.

This anti-EC was reported to have “proposed imposing penalties against people who inappropriately criticize the draft of the new constitution…”. It stated that “[d]istorting details about the draft, using rude language to criticise it, or inciting people to go against it are among the activities that might face punishment…”.

It also agreed to provide “training” to military students (ROTC cadets) who would propagandize for the military junta’s draft charter.

Recently, Deputy Prime Minister and military bootlicker Wissanu Krea-ngam declared that there shall be no “[c]ampaigns against the draft constitution.” These “will be banned except in debates held by the Election Commission…”.

In a Khaosod report, it is confirmed that there will be only EC campaigning for the military junta’s charter, as decreed by boot polisher Wissanu, acting for his commanders. The report cites Somchai:

In order to ensure a free and fair referendum [sic.], the Election Commission will provide a TV platform for debates, Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said Monday. No public gatherings or forums will be held as the commission fears they are “too risky” and could turn violent, however.

“Sometimes we cannot control the situation. Using a studio, we can broadcast it throughout the country, however,” said the 57-year-old Somchai, who has served on the five-member commission since 2013. He argued that only a few hundred people could attend an open forum, and he believes a studio debate could reach a much wider audience.

Unspecified “[o]pponents of the junta-sponsored draft charter will be limited to pre-recorded studio debates…” and we can bet that anything the junta doesn’t like will be carefully edited out, just as it will select the “opponents.” Somchai denies this, but who would believe such a person with a track record of serving anti-democrats and military authoritarians?

Confirming his “credentials” as a military lapdog, Somchai warned “those thinking of defying the junta’s ban and organizing their own public debate on the merits of the proposed constitution” that they “must be prepared to face the consequences.” The “consequences” are, as Wissanu also made clear, arrest, re-education sessions, military harassment and charges under various laws, including the draconian Article 44.

Of fools and other officials I

25 12 2014

PPT has been reading several rather bemusing accounts of the actions of Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn. In royalist Thailand, Somchai is one of those apparently unselfconscious dolts who is given a position simply because he is both stupid and because of this, steadfastly loyal to his masters and patrons.

That there are a lot of such fools in government explains why so many quite ridiculous statements on all kinds of things emanate from officials. Few of them are willing or able to utter much that is sensible outside the hierarchical and sycophantic enclaves of the bureaucracy and most especially from “independent agencies.”

Yet in this cretinous cesspool Somchai takes the cake. In earlier posts, we referred to him as the (anti-)Election Commissioner.

Khaosod reports that Somchai, who as an Election Commissioner opposed the 2 February 2014 election, is now seeking court action against those who disrupted the poll. He says the EC is going to seek 3 billion baht in damage from the unidentified individuals. He reportedly stated: “those responsible for the events that caused the invalidation of the 2 February poll will need to pay for the more than 3 billion baht Thai authorities spent on organising the doomed election. The lawsuit will be filed in January…”.

Readers will recall that the politicized “Constitutional Court that nullified the election…”. Somchai says the EC will study the verdict to see “who was responsible” for the election being nullified. Somchai would be challenged to study anything, unless it involves taxpayer funded trips and sight-seeing, and he’s making this up for he has already pointed the finger at then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her government.

At the Bangkok Post, Somchai made it clear that he didn’t blame the protesters, but the government itself:

Somchai said prior to the Feb 2 election, the EC had tried to warn the then government that if it was held, it would risk being nullified because there were no candidates running in 28 constituencies in eight southern provinces.

The government did not heed the EC’s warning and instead said the EC was only predicting in advance what would happen.

Since the Feb 2 election had been invalidated, there must be people held responsible for the damage.

As Khaosod points out, Somchai “repeatedly sided with anti-government protesters who called on the then-government to postpone the election indefinitely until peace and order was restored.”

Indeed, at the time, PPT posted that when Yingluck called for meetings with all sides regarding an EC proposal for the election to postpone elections, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban immediately rejected this and went on to harass voters and election officials, close polling booths and prevented an election in several constituencies.

At that time, Somchai expressed dissatisfaction with the government seeking such a meeting. He predicted the politicized EC would not be involved in an event that can be viewed as a compromise and which seeks to discuss EC recommendations to the government. We observed at the time that it seemed that the EC worked in tandem with the protesters, and when progress is made on EC suggestions, themselves with little legal basis, the EC simply adjusts its sights and, like its anti-democracy allies, rejects compromise.

In more recent times, Somchai has been licking the junta’s grubby boots, and “has supported the junta’s decision to suspend elections in Thailand while wide-reaching reforms are pursued” and only favors elections that “produce moral people who are capable of running the country and contributing to society.”

He probably means spineless ninnies like himself who serve royalist regimes and repeatedly demonstrate an incapacity for logical thought. Well, perhaps just an incapacity for thought.

Election commissioners against elections

12 07 2014

Readers will no doubt recall that, in the period prior to the military coup, the lawful and elected government tried to hold elections and was repeatedly thwarted by both the anti-democrats on the streets and by an Election Commission that seemed to not want to have any polls. It was the Anti-Election Commission.

Continuing in this mode and now under the tutelage of the military dictators, Khaosod reports that the Anti-Election Commission is now an Anti-Election Propaganda Commission.

Anti-Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuttiyakorn says he has “told a representative of the European Union that Thailand’s electoral system must be reformed to ensure that only ‘moral’ people will be voted into office.” This is a straightforward statement plagiarized from the anti-democrat stage, confirming Somchai’s role as an anti-democrat who worked against the lawful and elected government.

Somchai, representing the Election Commission, met with an EU policy official to “explain” that “the EU that they should understand the situation in Thailand…”. This is right out of the military dictatorship’s propaganda playbook. Somchai returned to the anti-democrat-cum-fascist refrain: “I don’t want them to look at elections as only rituals, or think that having an election means there’s democracy.”

Here’s a man who has a job where he is meant to promote and protect elections betraying all those who believe that there can be no democracy without a vote. His view is that an election is somehow demeaning of democracy rather than a fundamental element of it.

Displaying his loyalty to the fascists and military dictatorship, he stated: “A good election has to produce moral people who are capable of running the country and contributing to society. It’s not that we don’t care about democracy or elections, but we will only have an election when everything is ready.”

By “ready,” he means when he and his ilk have fixed the rules so that a popular party cannot be elected. “Ready” means a purge of the opposition. These have been PPT’s words in the past, but now the despicable fascist uses them himself: “Thailand is currently ‘fixing’ many rules to ensure that a free and fair election is possible…”. “Free and fair” is anti-democrat-speak for not allowing a popular party to win. He explains that: “if everything follows the system we have laid down, the country will be peaceful.”

Of course it will, because the opposition will have been sufficiently repressed and its political organization dismantled at the point of military guns.