Above: From 2011: Chavalit Escapes Yet Again
Army chief reacts coolly to Gen Chavalit’s counter coup remark – ThaiPBS, December 8, 2014
…Gen Chavalit said this change could lead to even wider divisions and more protests in the country.
He viewed that if the prime minister comes from election or elected by the people, then it might breach the power of the king as past appointments came from royal commands.
He asked whether it was appropriate to lower the supreme power of the King…
[Gen. Chavalit has long been a fair-weather Thaksin supporter, emerging at key times on his behalf and then retreating. From the 2006 post-coup New Year’s bombings in Bangkok to his appointment as Supreme Commander of a Red Shirt People’s Army of Thailand, he has become embroiled in Thai politics at odd times–before always quickly backtracking on his statements.
As a canny top military officer and failed Thai prime minister (his bungling triggered the world-wide 1997 financial crisis), there is little reason to take his statements at face value.
Thus, speculation will commence about what his counter-coup warning means. How could this be a gambit for Thaksin? Perhaps he speaks for the conventional Thai politicians who see their back-stage political coalitions in jeopardy from a directly elected prime minister.
Or is the entire “elected PM” recommendation a set-up by the junta to demonstrate they are examining all avenues of reform and, through Chavalit’s warning, demonstrate that it would be a danger to the King’s status (with Chavalit’s statement coming right after the King’s birthday celebrations)? This would also demonstrate that no one in conventional politics (except Thaksin himself) would benefit from having a directly elected PM.
Gen. Chavalit once famously summed up Thai politics with his threat that he could “blow a whistle” and the country would be in flames. However, in the last decade he has demonstrated little ability to makes things happen politically and has even gained a reputation as a person who quickly retreats from any stand he takes.
Upadate: News reports seem to point to a more prosaic reason for Chavalit’s warning–the failure of his influence to impact a court case. From The Nation: …Before Chavalit called a press conference to discuss the counter-coup talk, news broke that the Supreme Court had ruled that Naruemol Nanthachot, the daughter of General Samrit Nanthachot, Chavalit’s close aide, was “unusually rich” and assets worth Bt86 million had been confiscated…
Note: In English his name is written several ways–Chavilit, Chavolit, Chavalit–and his nickname: Jew or Jiew.
Past mentions of Chavalit are below.
Earlier: Chavalit Runs Away
Earlier: Chavalit Runs Away (Again)
Earlier: Gen. Chavalit to lead Red Shirt “People’s Army”
Earlier: Chavalit and the Dominatrix – He likes humiliation
Earlier: Who made the biggest mess as PM? Chavalit or Yingluck?
Earlier: Chavolit flip-flops on reconciliation
Earlier: Red Shirts hope Chavalit will join the Pheu Thai Party
Earlier: It has long been suspected Chavalit was behind the 2006 New Year’s bombings as a post-coup attempt to destabilize the already shaky junta
Earlier: Chavalit floats the story that royalty will be soon joining the Pheu Thai Party