Friday, January 20, 2012

When 'Pu" meets 'Prem'

It was a much-anticipated scene: the meeting, albeit social, between Premier Yingluck Shinawatra and Privy Council President Gen Prem Tinsulanond last night at the annual "Army Day" reception party.

It was all smiles on both sides. Lots of pictures were taken. But there was not a single report in the press this morning about what they told each other....not even greetings.

Of course, both of them had known before hand that the meeting would take place. The fact that they did make the appearances and made great efforts to sport happy smiles underscores the attempt on both sides to show their readiness to at least put up a public show of civility.

Of course, scenes of red-shirt demonstrators lambasting Gen Prem in front of his house remain vivid in the minds of a number of people. Thaksin Shinawatra's famous allegations that "someone with extra-constitutional powers" had been plotting his ouster can still be heard from many quarters.

But Premier Yingluck has shown her flexible attitude over this issue from the outset. As soon as she declared her decision to enter politics, Yingluck has been saying that she would like to seek an opportunity to meet Gen Prem, who, before last night, had been keeping a cautious silence.

Will last night's meeting break the ice, leading to perhaps other gestures of reconciliation? If past Thai political practices were any indication, you will see a series of other gestures before a real compromise can be struck.

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