The final struggle is yet to come

The final struggle is yet to come - translated and summarized from Krungtep Turakit; Column: ‘Kluenwai’ article; Author: Pracha Burapawithee, April 25, 2008
A new round has just begun in the long-running fight between the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and the current government as led by the People Power Party. This fight reminds me of the sentiments expressed in the patriotic anthem called ‘L’Internationale’, which was sung by the French proletariat during its fight for the Commune of Paris in 1871.
A recent column in Krungthep Turakit [date unspecified] stated, “Tomorrow will mark the beginning of the final struggle to fend off the ascendancy of the ‘internationale’ in our country”. The columnist was discussing the PAD’s recent moves to begin a new round of mass protests - in its attempt to encourage some sectors of Thai society to oppose the PPP-led government’s proposed constitutional revisions. PAD is also attempting to thwart the possible return of ‘Thaksinism’ to the political arena - a movement that it believes runs contrary to this country’s development of a democratic system. The ‘Special Thailand Watch’ seminar, recently organized by the PAD, marks the beginning of another round of mass action in its stubborn fight to resist the increasing power of the current government.
The PPP-led government is now pushing ahead with its agenda to rewrite the entire 2007 Constitution, in the hope that it will assist former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra - and his wife Potjaman - to counter lawsuits that have been filed against them with allegations of corruption.
Thaksin is currently busy with his merit-making activities, with a PR campaign that includes a personal pilgrimage to a large number of Buddhist temples in Northern Thailand. He has also established the House No. 111 Foundation, in addition to the ‘good deeds’ he continues to perform for his long-established Thai Com Foundation. The House No. 111 Foundation is likely to become a new home for some banned politicians of the disbanded Thai Rak Thai (TRT) Party - including Sudarat Keyurapan, Pongthep Thepkanjana and Pongsak Raktapongpaisarn.
Meanwhile, there are other pro-Thaksin groups beginning to stir. Among the most prominent of these groups is the movement that was formerly known as the Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship (DAAD). Another significant group contains a number of former TRT Party members under the leadership of Thaksin’s close aide Newin Chidchob. Both groups are already well-prepared to demonstrate their support for the deposed PM, if any major political showdown comes to pass. The pro-Thaksin group led by Pracha Sobdee seems unlikely to play such a strong role as the DAAD and the ‘Newin’ groups.
As for the possibility of another coup, I wish to comment that the real power is still very much in the hands of the Royal Thai Army (RTA) - which will play the final card in any major dispute that arises between the two current political factions. A confidential source has recently provided information that suggests that another coup might possibly occur - but that the decision to run such a coup would depend on the sentiments of two powerful cliques in the Royal Thai Police and the RTA. One of these cliques supports former PM Thaksin, and is in favor of destroying the 2007 Constitution. The other clique has fallen into disfavor as a result of a widespread public sentiment that the September 19 Coup (of 2006) failed in its objectives. The latter group might possibly wish to stage another coup along the same lines as the abortive 1951 Manhattan Coup (staged by some elements of the Royal Thai Navy), the (aforementioned) September 19 Coup, or the Kabot Senathikarn Rebellion (as attempted by certain elements in the RTA’s General Staff).
Some political pundits are warning the public to keep a very close eye on the current political situation. They see possible connections between recent attempts to disgrace the Privy Council President (and Statesman) Gen. Prem Tinasulanonda and last week’s initiation of a ‘lèse majesté’ case against a young man alleged to have refused to stand to attention - as a sign of respect to HM the King - during the playing of the Royal Anthem at a movie theater. Nobody would seriously doubt Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej’s loyalty to the Thai monarchy. Indeed, it is said that PM Samak has already issued orders that this case should be handled discreetly. I would say, however, that a Democrat Party-led government would have undoubtedly handled this case in a much more sensible manner.

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