Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thaksin-Abhisit's war of words over Feb 26 verdict

EX-PM Thaksin Shinawatra says he has been "robbed" by the Feb 26 verdict which ordered Bt46billion of his assets confiscated. He claims the court has been used by the government as a tool.

PM Abhishit Vejjajiva hits back today: "If the court is a government tool, why didn't they order the whole Bt76 billion seized?"

Abhisit also says that Thaksin had himself won many court cases before even though there were doubts among certain quarters about the verdicts.

"So, everyone should respect the court verdicts. With every verdict, there will always be satisfied and dissatisfied parties. I have never seen any loser in a verdict happy anyway," the PM says, in response to questions from print media editors, taped yesterday, and broadcast in his weekly programme on Channel 11 this morning.

Abhisit insists: "The government is not a party to the conflict. My duty is to protect national interests."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Unusual Page One on an unusual day...

Today's front page of The Nation. Simple. Plain. Direct. Classic.

Monday, February 22, 2010

For Abhisit, football provides more fun than politics!

PM Abhisit Vejjajiva did poorly in the football field yesterday,
with his Cabinet team losing 1-7 to the country's women national team in a
special tournament.

But he did seem to enjoy himself though. At least, it's more relaxing
and fun than discussing politics or GT200 or Feb 26.

At least, the game yesterday gave him the excuse to do some physical exercise,
about which he isn't very good at.

"I am a very bad example of a healthy person doing regular exercise. I am too busy and I am not a very disciplined man when it comes to exercise, I must admit," Abhisit said not long ago when asked about his exercise routine.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Military don't follow political leadership...Angkhana insists

Angkhana Neelapaijit, whose husband has "disappeared" mysteriously for years while defending southern activists as a lawyer, says the bomb-detecting GT200 incident shows that the military hasn't followed the "politics-leads-military" policy.

She tells Thai Post in an inteview published today: "After the test results are known, the government tells the military to stop using GT200s but the army hasn't stopped. My question is: Does politics really lead the military in solving the southern problems?

Angkhana says the military has all along stated that their strategy is to follow the government's political lead. "That's what they have been telling the people. But what happens today show that soldiers still refuse to follow political policy."

Friday, February 19, 2010

What's on the 33rd floor?

If you believe Chalerm Yoobamrung, chairman of Pheau Thai's MPs, there is a party's "Politbureau" on the 33rd floor of the Shinawatra 3 Building making all the major decisions.

He apparently is not a member of that supposedly body that he says has absolute power to dictate what the party's MPs and the Red Shirts has to do.

Chalerm also indicates that the party's political strategy working group has clashed with the so-called Politbureau over the proposed constitutional amendments and no-confidence debate against the government.

What he really means is that Thaksin Shinawatr has set up a variety of mechanisms to run the party, the red-shirted movement, etc...and he isn't quite sure where he stands himself.

When Chalerm starts blasting at his own party, you know something is brewing. It also means that he is not one of Thaksin's favourites anymore.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Who's Pheau Thai's candidate to replace Abhisit?

What's holding up the opposition Pheau Thai Party's plan to oust PM Abhisit Vejjajiva in a no-confidence debate?

First, under the constitution, once the opposition submits a censure motion against the government, the PM can't dissolve Parliament to call a new election. But hasn't Thaksin Shinawatra, the real opposition leader, been calling for a new election?

Second, if the no-confidence motion is presented, the opposition is required by the charter to also propose someone who can replace the incumbent as prime minister.

Who's Pheau Thai's candidate? Nobody is quite sure. First, it was Chalerm Yoobamrung. Now, Thaksin is of two minds about that. Other candidates include Mingkwan Sangsuwan, Witthya Buranasiri, Wicharn Meenchainant, Somsak Kiatsuranont, and Col Apiwan Wiriyachai.

There is no shortage of candidates. But the one choice to make the difference just isn't there.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wear this T-shirt to scream out your peace message

This "Thai People Love Peace" T-shirt is part of the campaign to ask the Silent Majority to act to prevent violence in the wake of the expected upcoming politocal chaos.

"Let's stop being just bystanders. Let's become active peace-loving players," says the slogan of the movement being pursued by a group of businessmen, artists and scholars under the Yuwapat Foundation (มูลนิธิยุวพัฒน์).

The group of volunteers has produced video clips which have been aired on a number of free TV programmes calling upon the people to mobilize their efforts to ensure that violence doesn't break out.

The T-shirt if being sold for Bt100 each and available at all Se-ed branches throughout the country. If you want to buy a bulk of the shirts for distribution to your friends, call the foundation at 02-301-1093-6.

You can watch the "Thai People" video clip at

Friday, February 12, 2010

Abhisit goes for White House-style press conference

PM Abhisit Vejjajiva will be interviewed by a panel of about 30 TV anchors in his Sunday programme on Channel 11.

What's the fuss about? Nobody is quite sure. Perhaps, it's PM Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey's idea to spice up the premier's Sunday show. Perhaps, Abhisit wants to set the stage of a format similar to the White House's weekly press conference.

Most TV station executives were in a quandary this week when they got an official note signed by Minister Sathit requesting each station to send a few news anchors to join the special programme. Why so many? What's the format? Those were some of the questions raised. Nobody was quite sure about the anwers.

All the PM's handlers were ready to say was: It's going to be a two-hour taping on Saturday at Govt House and you can ask any questions!

We shall see.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The 'Politically Neutral' overtakes the 'Red' and 'Yellow.'

Several polls, both public and private, suggest that those who declare themselves "politically neutral" represent the highest number of voters, edging out the major parties such as Pheau Thai and Democrats.

It does suggest that people are getting "fed up with" politics and refusing to choose between "red" and "yellow."

The latest survey by Abac Poll of about 6,000 people in 28 provinces adds weight to that conclusion: Those who say: "We are neutral" came first in their political preferences while the Democrats came second and "others" -- Pheau Thai and coalition partners -- came a close third.

The poll also reported that in the Northeast, Pheau Thai runs neck and neck with "neutral" voters -- around 40 plus percentage points. The Democrats also r eceived a boost in that region -- about 13% positive vote, compared to around 5-7% in earlier surveys.

In almost all other regions, the survey suggested that the "politically neutral" voters would be the decisive factor in any race between the Democrats and Pheau Thai.

Again, my interpretaton is that the public has become so tired of the political impasse that a growing number of people have decided to call themselves "The Colorless" in their political leanings.

Sign of the changing times.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thaksin: First it was non-violence, now it's a people's army

Now, it's called "The People's National Army" and it's owned by Thaksin Shinawatr. He won't be the supreme commander. He will only be the "spiritual leader." He has appointed Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh as the commander.

Nobody is quite sure what this "private army" is all about. But, Maj Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol, better known as "Seh Daeng," who was in Dubai with Gen Pallop Pinmani, for consultations with Thaksin made the announcement, without saying whether Gen Chavalit has accepted the offer to lead this new kind of army or not.

Thaksin himself hasn't said anything about that new move. But it's clear that everything that is said and done on his behalf focuses solely on the outcome of the Feb 26 court verdict on his Bt76,000m asset seizure case.

Thaksin has said he wanted to use non-violence and peaceful means in his struggle. How does a "people's army" headed by a retired general fit in with that "peace plan" remains a great mystery.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Banharn to Abhisit: Be a bit more broad-minded (whatever that means...)

Banharn Silpa-archa, the "owner" of Chat Thai Pattana Party, has been in the news lately for engineering the charter amendment to make for a single-constituencies system.

But when he appeared on TV this morning, Banharn wanted to make sure that he didn't draw too much attention of the Election Commission because he is still on the five-year ban from politics and is not supposed to be involved in any political activity.

First, he said, he was the "pillar" of the party. Then, he changed tack, saying he was "only an adviser."

Asked to comment on PM Abhisit Vejjajiva's personality, Banharn said:

"At his age, he could be my grandson. I am his father's friend. I think he is very smart and intelligent. But I would like him to be a little bit more broad-minded, not narrow-minded...."

He then insisted that despite the differences over the proposed constitutional changes between the coalition parnters and the PM's Democrat Party, "the coalition government will survive. In fact, it may even live out the full term."

In other words, Banharn said the proposed charter amendment movement would be treated as a separate issue from the coalition's survival.

That means whatever you hear about the coalition partners' being mad at the Democrats, they still want to remain in power. A new election is the last thing they want.