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3rd Army send battalion to Bangkok

October 25, 2006

According to the Bangkok Post here the Third Army sent a battalion of troops to Bangkok last night following fears that Thaksin Shinawatra was about to return, There are also protests about the the election of Meechai Ruchupan as the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) President as he is seen as being loyal to Thaksin. Apparently a further four battalions were on their way as well.

Rumours indicate that Thaksin Shinawatra may have left London for Singapore and the authorities are worried that he may attempt to sneak back into the country possibly via the Southern border with Malaysia. Given his previous record on dealing with the insurgency in the South this seems an unlikely route to me.

Meanwhile The Nation reports here on activity within Thaksin Shinawatras former ruling party Thai Rak Thai. After a series of resignations a couple of weeks ago Thai Rak Thai now has a new interim leader in Chaturon Chaisang. Thai Rak Thai also announced it was forming a working group to investigate the government, the Council of National Security (CNS) and the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). They also went on to says that”as the NLA was not democratic because it had no opposition in the House, the Thai Rak Thai working group could act as an opposition outside of Parliament.”

This may be part of what is worrying the coup leaders. They have control of the reins of power at present but were Thaksin Shinawatra to return and were there to be an uprising supported by elements of the military which are loyal to Thaksin then the coup leaders may find themselves being investigated instead of being the ones doing the investigating as at present.

There fears may have been exacerbated by a special report in The Nation here about what Thaksin Shinawatra may be doing to facilitate a to return to power. The report essentially says that “although Thaksin has resigned as leader of the Thai Rak Thai Party, the move was to withdraw to regain control”. His tactic is to avoid a criminal offence in case the Constitution Tribunal dissolves the party, as a criminal offence cannot be prosecuted retroactively. He accepts that the party needs a new face as it leader and is concentrating on trying to protect his assets from being impounded by the Asset Examination Committee.

The report goes on to say that he has “mobilised at least 300 party members in each province to do underground work. They distributed a cartoon book that tells of Thaksin’s life to seek sympathy from the grassroots. He is also trying his best to ensure the Thai public does not lose interest in him. If the Thai Rak Thai Party is dissolved, that would not mean Thaksin’s dream to return to power would end. He has been seeking a way to survive. Approaches have been made to politicians such as Somsak Thepsuthin, who led his faction to quit Thai Rak Thai to establish a new party. “

His strategy according to this report is to protect his assets and promote political heirs either within Thai Rak Thai or through a new party. Once the heir has regained political power he can regain full control of his assets and possibly take revenge on those who brought about his downfall.

Whether or not these report have any basis to them I do not know but their publication must be adding to the nervousness amongst the coup leaders.

Categories: Thai Politics, Thailand
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